Saturday (Oct. 8), 10am-3pm, Maui Mall (70 E. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului); free
I can say a lot about the Philippines. There’s the intimate-with-strangers population density; the so-hot-you-can’t-breathe heat; the what-the-hell-is-this-but-it’s-awesome food. But even that doesn’t begin to convey all the rich culture the island nation has to offer. Instead, here’s a recent conversation my kasinsin/pinsan/ig-agaw (cousin) and I had at the dining room table of (one of) my aunt’s house, in San Fernando, PI:
Me: How does the whole “courting” thing work?
Her: Usually mutual friends introduce you. Then, he’ll ask if he may call on you. He introduces himself to your family. You may go on group dates or with a chaperone, then later, on your own. Traditionally, he’ll serenade you, outside your window. (Me: What, John Cusack style? Her: No.) In modern times, it’s acceptable to text poetry… What about you, ate?
Me: Usually we’re drunk. Or trying to get drunk. Sometimes there’s Facebook or Google stalking.
There you have it. One culture of tradition and romantic ideals versus another that’s straight to the point with better plumbing. I won’t say if one’s better than the other, but I will say that after coming home to Maui–viciously sick with some exotic virus or food poisoning–I damn-appreciate toilets that flush. Of course, we Fil-Ams in Hawaii have the best of both worlds: all the deliciously sketchy foods, and the leisure to eat them; all while being surrounded by bright, smiling people and glorious, glorious personal space. The Maui Fil-Am Heritage Festival is the perfect place to celebrate being karbakada, balikbayan or anything else. And when everything is done, we can all go home to hot showers. Perfection.
*It’s the same as manang.