my aunt and cousin arrived last nov15, and flew back to canada last dec15. it was sort of my first balikbayan close relatives experience except for my uncle in africa who comes and goes.
before they came, my aunt called few times. and, every time she’d call she’d say she’s not bringing any thing pasalubong for us and kept saying sorry for it. to save hassle and excess baggage fees, i really don’t find a need for bringing pasalubongs from abroad to phil. because there’s the duty free, and thanks to our neighborhood china for those imported goods. and, if it’s not physically available here, what’s the internet for, right? but still, nothing would beat the thoughtfulness of pasalubongs, and seeing the giddy feeling of the recipient.
on their arrival date, the whole clan/baranggay was there to meet them (is this a filipino thing or just our family thing? because mark’s family is not like this). we’re all excited as it’s their first time to be back here after like 6 years. and finally there was my aunt, who kept saying she’s not bringing any thing, with her 6 balikbayan boxes. =) i was surprised and was so glad to see that my cousin can still speak straight bisaya — it means he has not forgotten his being bisaya.
from the airport, we went straight to eating. yes, not rest but eat. when my aunt left, the sikat at that time were the grand majestic, the junjun and malous/matias, the joven’s, the plantation bay, the sutukil, the jo’s inato, golden cowrie and such. of course naturally, we went to grand majestic.
after that is the opening of the balikbayan boxes. really, i found it funny because it’s the typical stuffs inside the balikbayan boxes, the usual stuffs i’d see in ‘packages’ from 1980’s. there’re toothpaste, toothbrush, hand sanitizer, keychains/pins, magnetics for the ref, the ever present towels, soaps (and, why it’s always jergens. which reminds me of a neighbor who put those jergen soaps in their glassed cabinets and been there like for years, some kind of a status symbol), dresses, shirts, shoes, bags, toys, coffee, cereals, lotion/perfumes (they should be victoria’s secrets), and the only only thing i’m most concerned, the chocolates. i don’t care about the other stuffs, my eyes were all on those chocolates, and of course toblerone/hersheys are always present! =)
they were here for a month, but i did not see them always as they’re hopping from 1 island to another visiting other relatives. i saw them again in their last week here. so to show my happiness of seeing them, i wanted to buy little presents for them and treat them to something new in cebu. and my cousin and aunt were trying to refuse my offers nicely because they’d feel that it should be them doing the ‘giving,’ and not us. i guess this is another typical ‘mentality’ which i’d rather just let it be. =) anyhoo, i was able to bring them to casa verde becaus i wanted something cebu-ish, and something not-here-when-they-were-here. =) i hope next time, i could bring them to something more grand. and, i hope it will really be soon. =)