While in a previous post, I wrote about “DenDen’s 18 Candles Celebration Preparation,” this article deals with the actual celebration. “18 Candles” is the traditional Filipino coming-of-age observance for a young woman’s 18th birthday. DenDen is our niece in Guimaras, the island province we call home.
DenDen’s 18 Candles Celebration
Surprisingly, the celebration only started an hour late. Not bad for “Filipino Time.” DenDen was in the dressing room attended by two young men who applied her make-up and helped with her gown. Most noteworthy, however, is that many of the 150 people invited had already shown up.
The event eventually kicked off with an opening prayer by Mr. Reynaldo A. Osano.
First of all, before the grand entrance of the Debutant, this adorable group of young children performed a worship song. The kids are students at DenDen’s mother Alida’s school, Guimaras Joyful School.
The official program then listed the introduction of the Debutant by her parents, Joery and Alida.
My lovely asawa and proud Papa Joery
Here’s another look at my sparkling spouse, niece JalAmiel, DenDen’s sister, and DenDen’s Mama, Alida
Mama Alida, the more vocal of DenDen’s parents, delivered some “Words of Welcome” to the guests. Papa Joery is not much of a talker, at least not in front of crowds.
The Debutant’s Grand Entrance
The program was just getting underway. Unfortunately for me, “Dinner,” was listed at the bottom of the official program. I usually eat my dinner early, from 3:30 to 4:00 pm. It was already 5:30 pm.
Another event was now lined up, the Debutant’s Grand Entrance.
Drum roll, please.
The lovely Debutante was waiting in the wings (our garage terrace.)
It was now around 5:30 and time for the “18 Wishes.” My stomach growled. I hoped the “wishes” would be short.
18 Wishes from 18 Friends
Here’s a look at some of the pretty pinays that delivered wishes to their friend, DenDen, the Debutante.
The Crusty Old Expat Toastmaster
The day before the 18 Candles Celebration, my wife informed me that I would be giving the first toast. I was even given a mention in the program, “18 Toasts: Uncle Dave & Company.” I managed to pull of my toast without embarrassing my asawa too much. Here’s my lead line:
“Good evening. My name is Uncle Dave. You might have noticed I’m not a Filipino.”
That garnered a good laugh from the crowd. I finished my toast and returned to my seat. However, I was also slated to dance in the “18 Roses Dance” later on in the program. My wife of over 18 years will attest to the fact that I have no rhythm. I’m a terrible dancer. Plus, I still needed some food. Dinner seemed a long way off.
Would I make it to the dance portion of the program? Like Barney Fife, I needed my meals on time.
Photo credit: The Last Drive In.com