Thursday, September 12, 2013

Extreme Filipino Hospitality

I have always heard of and talked about Filipino Hospitality.  Boasted about how extremely hospitable Filipino people are; I was speaking in the host point-of-view.  It was not until I got to New York and met up with my Filipino friends that I have come to realize how hospitality can be taken to a whole new level.

Since I got here, I have met up with my friends Jackson and Joy (my high school friends), AJ and Nina (from college), and Anne (whom I've met here via G).

Anne, is a successful Filipina woman who lives in a posh apartment in Manhattan and works as a producer in Bloomberg.  Yeah!  Her life is divine!  I have met her only through G, who came here to visit her.  The other night, I went to her  house to hang out and drank wine which ended at around 3 in the morning.  I fell asleep on her floor while chatting with the girls.  When I woke up in the middle of the night to go pee, she immediately offered me everything that I could ever need to be more comfortable in her house; sleepwear, pajama, shorts, slippers, tshirt... She made me feel so at home for my impromptu sleepover!

me, G, Anne

Then there is my high school friend, Jackson and his wife Joy, who has been nothing but supportive of my visit to NY.  Weeks before I was coming, Joy would send me photos of their new baby Gavin saying "See you soon, Auntie!" or the constant exchange of messages with Jackson to help me out with tips on places to go and food to eat.  They just had a baby 2 months ago and they traveled all the way to Brooklyn with Joy's parents just to welcome me to New York!  I felt so guilty making them come all the way down just to see me even though Joy's parents were tired from walking the whole morning; plus the stress of traveling with a new born baby (first time on the subway too)!  It's so crazy.  We went to the Brooklyn Smorgasburg Food Flea Market and even paid for my food and drinks!  Not just that, I realized that I left a bag with them and Jackson brought it back to me today (but told me yesterday if it were anything important, he would bring it to me right away)!  He also invited me to come see a baseball game at the Citifield Stadium in Queens to watch the Mets game then fed me burger!

Jackson, me, Joy, and Joy's dad who is visiting

Then of course, there is AJ and Nina.  AJ was my blockmate in University and Nina was his girlfriend (now wife).  AJ usually works late and does not use as much facebook, so I have been keeping in touch with Nina this whole time.  Since the day I have arrived, there is not a day that Nina failed to ask me how my day went, and what I did that day.  They've asked me to keep my Sunday and Monday free so that I can spend time with them during their off days.

So far, I was driven everywhere by their beautiful new car; they have driven me to restaurants, malls, even outlets in Long Island!  Nina remembered everything that I told her about what I wanted to eat or things I wanted to do, and places I wanted to go.  Yes, everything.

There is a funny story that happened when we had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.  I was so alert from the beginning of dinner that I wanted to pay because of all this overwhelming hospitality they have been showing me.  So when the bill arrived, AJ and I both hurriedly grabbed the bill from the waitress' hand, but I won. haha.  Then the arguing started:  No, no, Cands, let me pay! /  Noooo.. I'll pay! |  Give me the bill, Cands!  |  No! |  Give it! | No! | Give it! our voices got so loud that Nina asked us to stop haha, she said people were staring at us lol. It felt like we were on a game show called "I'll pay for dinner!"  Eventually, after much debate, AJ finally gave in and allowed me to foot the bill.  I told him that I have already given my credit card to the waitress even before they served the food (which wasn't true, haha).  AJ even resorted to some name-calling because he lost the game! lol.

If all of that wasn't not enough, they are helping me fill up my balikbayan box with the stuff I bought from the outlets!  AND!!!! they washed my clothes for me since I've already been here for a week now; I gave them stinky clothes and they gave it back to me clean and folded!!!! (they insisted! I promise, ma!) gosh...

me, Nina and AJ at the All American Drive-In!
What I found really amazing is that my friends all said they felt embarrassed if they didn't do something for me!  They have this sense of responsibility that you have to have fun in their turf.  Despite the fact that I feel like I am the one that is taking up so much of their time and wanting to do the stuff that they have already done; as if their time wasn't enough gift for me, they will want to pay for my food too!

I tell you Filipinos set such high standard in hospitality, you'll be spoiled.  No one compares!  Tell me about your extreme Filipino hospitality experience.

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