“Our New Year’s Eve House Blessing in the Philippines” is a remarkable literary achievement since it’s the first time in months I’ve published two posts in the space of three days. With two birthday parties, Christmas and the aforementioned blessing, I’ve actually been somewhat busy. Regular readers of “Philippines Plus” know that I excel at doing nothing. But that hasn’t been the case as of late.
PURIFYING THE NEW DIGS
A house blessing ritual in the Philippines was an absolutely necessary requirement for my asawa. Our priest conducted a short mass by way of sprinkling holy water into every nook and cranny in the house. This symbolic act protects the house from any harm and drives out any evil spirits that may have taken residence.
This simple ceremony is usually attended by close family, friends, and even neighbors. Attendees carry lit candles and are sometimes asked to scatter coins and candies which symbolize abundance and prosperity in the house. (Source: Philippine Primer)
Father Lozada, seen in the picture below, the affable Catholic priest from our island province of Guimaras, performed the house blessing ceremony. Father also officiated at our Catholic wedding years ago.
I’ve been sporting a bandana and growing an “Amish-style” beard ever since I shaved my head a couple of months ago. My lovely asawa, seen on the right, thinks the new look makes me look “tougher”, especially when I don my sunglasses.
My better half also believes I resemble WWE superstar Goldberg with my bald head minus the rag on my fat noggin.
I still think I’m the same crusty old American expat as before, but who I am to argue with my wife?
OUR TRUCK IS BLESSED
A contingent of visitors carried lit candles as Father instructed all the lights in the house to be turned on. Our friends and relatives stayed in our living room as my spouse and I followed Father Lozada throughout our entire 4,000 sq. ft. home.
Every room in our new home in the Philippines, including the four CR’s, Comfort Rooms, were blessed and sprinkled with Holy Water.
Father even blessed our Ford Ranger truck. He requested all the doors and hood of the vehicle to be opened. We didn’t ask for this particular blessing, but who am I to turn down a request from a Catholic priest?
We, did, however, ask Father if he would bless our eight dogs. He graciously did and sprinkled all of our canines with Holy Water. Our Belgian Shepard, “Killer,” in his dog pen along with our other pooches, loudly barked at the priest. Father didn’t seem to mind.
RUTHIRD CATERING’S OUTSTANDING MENU
After the blessing ceremony, we served food and drink for our guests, some of them seen in the following pictures. Father Lozada couldn’t stay for lunch. He had to quickly dash off to perform a wedding ceremony for one of two sisters. Since it was New Year’s Eve, our priest had to marry a young woman in 2016 before the year ended because the Filipina’s sister was going to be married in 2017. The two sisters could not be married in the same year according to their beliefs.
Why the one bride waited until the very last day of 2016 to get hitched is beyond my feeble mortal comprehension but I suppose “Filipino Time” had something to do with it.
Ruthird Catering in Guimaras provided the bulk of the food for the event. The caterers served up some excellent selections including chicken cordon beau, beef stroganoff, and baby back ribs along with fried chicken and Filipino favorites like pancit noodles.
THE CELEBRATION BEGINS
Many of our expat friends remarked that the food was absolutely delicious. I agreed and thought it was some of the best food we have ever tasted in the Philippines since retiring here over seven years ago.
My asawa, concerned there might not be enough food, also cooked a huge pot of spaghetti, one batch with hot dogs for the Filipino crowd and one without slices of hot dogs for the foreigners. My wife uses a blend of sweet Filipino spaghetti sauce and Italian-style sauce for her dish along with a ground beef base.
No Filipino celebration would be complete without lechon being served to your guests. The prized porker wasn’t included as part of the catering but was purchased separately by my spouse to add to the festivities.
The children in attendance at the blessing enjoyed taking a dip in our swimming pool. One of my household duties now includes the maintenance of our pool. I put in a lot of extra hours before the celebration to make sure the swimming hole was ready for our guests.
Some of our expats friends on Guimaras were invited to the blessing. We all sat in the backyard near the pool and enjoyed a “few” adult beverages during the day. We stocked up on San Miguel Pale Pilsen, San Mig Light, Red Horse, Tanduay Ice and a light German beer, Beck’s, we purchased from the new S&R in Iloilo City.
At midnight, we celebrated the coming of the New Year and our house blessing in the Philippines with some fireworks. Brother-in-law Joery had purchased 10,000 pesos, about 200 US Dollars, worth of fireworks from nearby Iloilo City.
A BIG THANKS to my beloved asawa who put a ton of time and work into the blessing event to make it such a great success. Thanks, too, to Father Lozado, for the blessing. Also, a huge thanks to all of our guests who helped us celebrate. And, kudos to Ruthird Catering in Guimaras, who did a superb job of catering.
Thanks to brother-in-law Joery, also, and his spouse, Alida. Also, thanks to Michelle, Mera and DenDen for all of their help.
And of course, thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ who has made all of our blessings possible.