Tuesday, October 12, 2004

bayan-bayanan

The sense of community among the Filipino expats is very strong, and I experienced it first-hand when we were invited to join one of the weekly gatherings at Palm Coast.

The location, a doctor's home complete with wharf and 2 boats. The people, a family of brothers (all doctors) and their Filipino and American friends and families within a wide radius. The food, Filipino recipes ranging from kare-kare to award-winning barbeque and FilAm favorites. The drinks, beer, whiskey and soda plus red and white wine, all bottomless, all good. The talk, stories from back home, adjustments to America, local and international gossip and business. The entertainment, well, me another singer, the inestimable "M" and my bro-in-law, Rob.

We hit it off and did a series of songs (I'm just thankful that the weekly jaunts to the videoke in Manila paid off) and ended our multiple sets (haha) with a bevy of Broadway songs.

What is amazing (or not really so surprising given the Filipino psyche) is that we all ended up as if we all knew each other, with fraternal camaraderie that went beyond shared circumstances. In the end, community is important, and the need to see and be with people who understand the unspoken cultural aspect of our identity is paramount to our well-being, be you visitor, green card-holder or new citizen of the USA.

We carry our country wherever we go, and the small transplanted Philippine nations thrive wherever there is food, music and stories to share.

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