Monday, February 3, 2014

House Blessing

When I think of house blessing I think of a group gathered with candles, a priest present to spread Holy Water around, and everyone chiming in for a prayer. As simple as that. I don’t imagine walking up to the front door to find blood spread across the front stoop, pig’s blood that is, or crossing the threshold to see kilos of fresh butchered pig meat piled in the living room.

That was the scene I came across last Wednesday afternoon when the staff was invited to a Vhanessa’s family’s house blessing in Marabulig. I’m not exactly sure what it all signifies and nobody could give me an answer. That’s the thing with the Philippines especially up north, there are numerous tribes with their own rituals and traditions. But let me clarify this wasn't another house blessing ward off spirits but to bless the newly constructed house before moving in. For Vhanessa’s family this is their tradition to butcher a pig or two within the house, then only close family and friends sit around the meat and tell stories.

One aspect of the Filipino culture I cherish is the community aspect. Everything is about sharing and the community. Everyone pitches in what they can. People drop in and out when they’re able.

Once the family is done telling stories, lunch is served, which another pig was butchered for. Of course it’s not a meal without rice and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bowl of rice this big before! No lie, it was probably half my weight. All sorts of pork dishes were served along with refreshing coca-cola. People found seats wherever or simply squatted.

We of course couldn’t stay the whole afternoon or return for the evening festivities because we had to get back to the office. Although, it was nice to support a family who’s been kind and welcoming to me since I arrived. As were were leaving I was handed a huge, heavy plastic bag.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Meat. A gift,” responded one of my co-workers.

“What am I supposed to do with this?” I didn’t mean it to be rude, but all I could think about was families who ate beans and rice for dinner while I’m just one being handed a large, fresh chunk of pork. For customs and hospitality sake, I took it.

Later that evening I almost didn’t have a pot big enough to cook it. Most of it was a rim of fat. I must say, though, it was scrumptious. I don’t think I’ll ever have pork that fresh ever again!

The Hostess made delicious stick rice filled with sweet, peanut buttery goodness!

Thanks for reading!

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