We were at “The Compound” in Guimaras celebrating New Year’s Eve with my brother-in-law Flores who had arrived from Manila a few days earlier. It was not exactly a Rockin’ New Year’s Eve in the Philippines. A hard driving rain had interrupted our karaoke singing outside and hastily set up tarp did little to protect us from the rain.
My brother-in-law Joery, along with his wife and kids had gone to church to celebrate Mass. I was inside the house, Lolo sleeping next to me on the sofa, when my wife came in with some disturbing news.
“The television got wet!” she exclaimed. Although Joery’s TV, perched on top of the karaoke machine and serving as a monitor, was placed underneath roof of the sari sari store my brother-in-law operated in the front yard of “The Compound,” the set had gotten wet.
Joery's Sari Sari Store
Water from a seam in the metal roof had poured into the television set. I was glad I was not the one that set it up; brother-in-law Flores had done that.
My asawa and Flores brought the set inside and placed a fan besides it hoping to dry it out. When Joery arrived home from church with the family, he was given the news by my wife.
In the over four years I’ve lived in the Philippines and known my brother-in-law, I’ve never seen him angry. But he was now; and understandably so.
Joery stormed outside to confront Flores. I heard both men shouting but didn’t understand what they were saying since they were arguing in the local Ilonggo language. I didn’t need a translator, however, to know that Joery was extremely upset with his brother-in-law from Manila.
After a few minutes, Joery came back into the house. Flores stayed out in the nipa hut which housed the sari sari store and took a nap. Midnight was still two hours away. I was bored and not up to par due to my cold and sore throat. My conclusion to the whole evening was that we should have stayed home at “The Farm” as originally planned. Not exactly a Rockin’ New Year’s Eve in the Philippines.
I managed to stay awake until midnight where Joery and the kids set off a few fireworks. Neighbors chipped in with their firecrackers and bottle rockets. I kissed my lovely asawa and wished her a “Happy New Year.”
After the fireworks and the New Year were officially greeted with lots of noise to ward off evil spirits, everyone had to gather in the kitchen to eat. I had no appetite and didn’t even drink one alcoholic beverage. I only wanted to go home and get some rest.
Brother-in-law Flores had come back into the house and had his picture taken with his Nanay (Mother) and Tatay (Father.)
Around 1 am, a neighbor who owned a tricycle, was sober enough to take my wife and me home. There were a few revelers at some of the establishments that dotted the main road, but by now everything in peaceful Guimaras was back to normal.
I took some cold medicine and crawled into bed. It was the beginning of a New Year.
Flores has agreed to pay Joery to get their television repaired. Hopefully it did not sustain too much water damage and can be resuscitated. In the meantime, my niece and nephew will miss watch their favorite episodes of “Oggy and the Cockroaches,” but Christmas vacation has ended and quality cartoon watching time will be severely curtailed anyway.
But our expectations for 2014 are high and hope this year will be a great one for you and yours, with or without Oggy and the Cockroaches.