Thursday, June 13, 2013

Philippine Independence Day

Independence Day (FilipinoAraw ng Kasarinlan; also Araw ng Kalayaan, lit. "Day of Freedom") is an annual national holiday in the Philippines observed on 12 June, commemorating the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain on 12 June 1898. It is the country's National Day.  The Philippines were transferred from Spanish possession to U.S. possession 115 years ago in 1898.  According to their own history, things started getting better for them after that.  After WW II, the Philippines started the process of complete independence.  But it didn't actually happen until around 1994 (I think.  The numbers started running together.)  Anyway . . .

The thing I found most interesting was the reminder that since the Philippines is made up of over 7,100 islands and communication wasn't easy, each island had to be contacted individually to introduce the idea of complete independence and then all join together for a vote.  In the era of our instant communication, the efforts for independence took literally decades.

There is a large Filipino community throughout California, and since Fr. Marcelino is from the Philippines, he was excited to have an independence celebration and particularly because it happens on the the eve of our parish's patron saint, St. Anthony of Padua.  So, with a lot of effort and outreach, we found ourselves, last night, enjoying a Mass entirely in the native language of their country - Tagalog  spoken as a first language by a quarter of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest.

As you can see by these pictures, Fr. Marcelino is a very animated man.  And he is always singing.  I think his fourth language (he speaks English, Tagalog, and Spanish and maybe more) is Song.  What you don't see is the fact that he is also a medical doctor.  I don't know which came first, his medical vocation or his priestly vocation.  You can bet that I will find out soon now that I know.  Call me nosy but this sounds like a good story that needs to be heard.

Dance a music is a big part of the culture the roots of which, in fashion and style, was influenced by 300 years of colonial occupation by Spain.

And what cultural party wouldn't be complete without FOOD?  All the usual goodies were there including a smattering of traditional American, Mexican, and Chinese offerings.  This roasted big was a favorite of mine.

And I made a new friend.  Meet Sanjuana, recently arrived with her family from Mexico.  Sanjuana is a retired school teacher.  She doesn't speak a lick of English but between MY lick of Spanish and my friend, Alicia, we became good friends.  She is also a caretaker.  It took forever to get her to settle down and eat; she was busy making sure everyone had everything they needed.  

We were among the first to eat in this huge room filled with people.  That never happens but I just follow Alicia (my friend and how I met Sanjuana) to the table.  When I mentioned this to her and asked her how she did that she said, "We Mexican!".   I had to laugh because anyone who has been to a Mexican Mass and/or fiesta knows it is a total free for all.  This is very unlike our American politeness.  Go when you are told.  Keep it orderly.  In this case anyway, I like their way better.

And speaking of Alicia, where was my mind?  I didn't get a picture so I resort to this older picture of her at Hamilton's where she works.  Yes, this is my beloved Hamilton's Cafe I've featured here a few times and she's worked there forever.


Lea said...

Hi Annie, this was fascinating to me, as I knew nothing of the history of the Philippines... there is so much to know about our vast and diverse world... the joy in these faces, including yours, is so evident, and that is universal! Thank you for bringing me along to this wonderful celebration and fiesta!

see you there! said...

This looks like so much fun and I'll bet the food was delicious.