Gamlang, kadamnin, dunà, himansaan, turuangaw, lampibadyâ. Are these Filipino words? Not exactly, but they could have been.
My grandchildren Elizabeth, Maya, and Jack are my pride and joy. Elizabeth and Jack were born in Boston and are growing up in the U.S. with my daughter Helen and her American husband Dan Flagg. Maya is what Vancouverites call “born and bred in Vancouver” living with my son George and his Canadian wife Brenda Jamer.
Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal wrote most of his famous works in Spanish. Even his farewell poem, Mi Ultimo Adios, was written in the language of his executioners. He was, after all, a man of his times, when few educated Filipinos wrote formally in their own language. More than a century later, little has changed except that the foreign language is now English.
The following are remarks delivered at the Introduction of Filipino Movie Nights, a Filipino Film series presented at the Explorasian Festival of the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month, May 18, 2017, and sponsored by Dahong Pilipino, Anyone Can Act Theatre (ACAT), and Tulayan. Mel Tobias is a Filipino Film critic and author of many books and articles about Filipino Films.
There is no Filipino gathering, big or small, where food does not play a starring role. Whether it is held in a restaurant or at home, the host makes sure that the guests are warmly welcomed, well entertained and generously served with carefully selected dishes to suit the occasion. Guests are treated like family when they come to our homes. This is why Filipinos are known for their hospitality.
When I was growing up in the Philippines, our family did not have a Christmas tree during the holidays. What we always had on our windows were home-made brightly lit star-shape Christmas lanterns called parol from the Spanish word for lamp, farol. They represent the Star of Bethlehem which led the Magi to the Infant. But the centrepiece of our Christmas decoration was the Christmas Belen.