Timeless Tradition

I personally enjoy attending family gatherings and celebrations; birthday, wedding, funeral (not so), baby’s 1st birthday, bridal shower, baby shower, retirement party, or an impromptu pulehu (grilling/barbecue in Hawaiian) by the beach just to end a nice work week.  This is the perfect opportunity to see almost everybody in the family and I always look forward to catching up with them, extending warm greetings, coupled with quick hugs and kisses (on the cheek), and to basically “talk stories” all day.

In the past, during the years when my Grandma Pet was still around, growing up we were raised to greet the elders first, by gracefully grabbing their hand and draw it on our forehead (knuckle side of the hand and we called it mano in Tagalog) and we would wait until our elder says “God bless you” before we can move on to the next hand and so on. By the way, did you know that Filipinos are known for having a big family?  Just saying, that’s a lot of hands to grab before we can be free!  We are not allowed to play or say “hello” to anyone else until we’re done giving respect to the elders in the house we’re visiting; that means Mom and Dad’s age and above.

After living in Hawaii for over 35 years, the old tradition of mano was replaced by the greetings of aloha, where you hug and/or kiss (on the cheek), more likely equivalent to giving respect and greetings at the same time.  I have to say, every now and then I see youngsters still practicing mano, and in my heart, I always wish that this timeless Filipino values and tradition would continue to grow its popularity for our future generations.  Truly a gesture of Pinoy by choice mindset – maraming salamat po.



Local Island Lifestyle: Kanikapila – musical jam session.

In every gathering whether it’s formal or informal, artistic expressions seem to be one of the important part of any celebration for the kama’aina.  Singing, dancing  hula, playing musical instruments, story telling and chanting are just few familiar ones to mention.  Musical jam session or kanikapila is my favorite.  It could be small with two people or it could be an orchestra.  You can never tell how and who is going to start it and it’s difficult to predict how it’s going to end.  Rule of thumb, expect the unexpected, go with the flow and enjoy.

Unplanned, unrehearsed and uncandid, one person may start strumming his ukulele and hum a familiar tune.  The person sitting across the room stands up and pick up the tune and starts singing his heart out.  Another person in the room heard what’s going on and decided to pick up his guitar and join the group.  Then next thing you know, there’s Joe bobbing his head to the sound of his drum and Jane grabbed two spoons struggling to pick up the beat but didn’t gave up. Others can’t stand it any longer and got tired of just tapping their feet or clapping their hands to the beat of the music, got up and dance with the rest of the merry makers.  Imagine the sheer energy, melodious sound and collaboration of talents.

That’s pure, unadulterated, cannot be duplicated and one of a kind real good time.

Hana hou!Jamming by the beachAuntie Charmaine with her uke.