This year, I had a really special birthday party in Angeles City with my family. This was my third time going to the Philippines and it grows on me with each visit. My aunt and uncle were in town, and it just so happens that my uncle's birthday is two days before mine, which meant we could celebrate together. My aunt said she would throw us a little birthday gathering.
My aunt and uncle on the family property
Me with some of the relatives
Playtime in the cubo!
'Little birthday gathering', my ass. She invited all of her 11 siblings and their kids and there ended up being dozens of people in attendance. In true Filipino style, there was a feast to be had so we cooked all day. My aunt and her sisters went to the market at 5 AM to stock up on groceries. They threw together a huge pot of spaghetti sauce in honor of me and my uncle's Italian American heritage, which was super sweet. On top of that, there was an epic buffet with fresh grilled meat and seafood and salads and salsas and the list goes on.
I'm an unsuspecting victim of toddler attack
while helping prepare potatoes
A Filipino feast with some crabs and sisig
(chopped pig's face)
Fresh tilapia and mussels from the market
Apparently a Filipino house party is only a success if there is a karaoke machine, so my aunt rented one with a massive sound system you could hear around the whole neighborhood. Her family raged from the afternoon til one in the morning when everyone passed out all over the family property amongst piles of empty Red Horse bottles.
My aunt's brother and his ridiculously cute grandson
Me with just a fraction of my Filipino family
As someone who can be introverted amongst large groups, it was a really overwhelming night. On the one hand, the party was a blast and I got to meet so many relatives of my aunt's. On the other hand, I felt so drained from introducing myself to so many people and trying to shout over the sound of the karaoke machine, that by the end of the night, I crashed long before the last cover of 'Gangnam Style' serenaded the party. A Filipino backyard barbecue puts an American one to shame, that's for sure.