Day 12: Pool Party

Let me get something out: I hate pool parties.   I really don’t like swimming pools or swimming or wading or generally getting myself wet.  If I’m hitting any kind of body of water, it would be to snorkel or scuba.  In fact, in the three-and-a-half years that I lived in Puerto Rico, I could probably count in both hands how many times I was in the water.  I’m not sure why I have such an abhorrence for it.  I don’t know how many pool party invitations I’ve turned down in my lifetime.  I mean, I’m a good swimmer.  I remember liking swimming pools as a child.  Hmm.  I might need therapy to figure this out.

Anyway, yesterday, the family went to Calamba City in the Laguna Province (about an hour’s drive from Manila) to meet up with relatives at a “resort” for a pool party in honor of my soon-to-turn 100-year-old grandmother.  It was awesome seeing relatives I hadn’t seen in forever.  They came up to (re)introduce themselves to me.  A lot of them remembered “that chubby kid” that they’re surprised at how much my physique had changed.  I was embarrassed at how many of them I couldn’t immediately recognize, but had instant recall as soon they told me their names.  But there were also plenty that I was able to pick out simply because their facial features hadn’t dramatically changed this whole time.  They introduced me to my second cousins (or “nephews/nieces” as we Filipinos refer to them) and it was just as weird for them to meet their “Tito Jon” (Uncle Jon) for the first time.

Twenty years sure is a long time to be away from home.

Nanay with six of her thirteen offspring

The “resort” was basically a collection of pool areas that can be rented for the day.  Our area had three air-conditioned cabins, each with six bunk beds; a men’s and women’s shower/restroom cabin; three huts with benches for seating; a kids pool; an adult pool (not too huge); an open “hall” with tables and chairs; and a prep kitchen area.  The nearly 80 people in attendance enjoyed home-cooked fare, including a pit-roasted pig (called lechon, which was the highlight of the spread).  In the six hours that we were there, we never ran out of food.  In fact, there was plenty for people to take home with them.  Such is often the case at the end of Filipino family get-togethers; it is probably why people bring tupperware to them.

Luckily, there were a number of us who didn’t come to the pool party to be in the pool, so I hung out with them, drinking San Mig Light, and shooting the breeze.  Or rather, shooting without any breeze whatsoever.  It was unbearably humid, and the few electric fans in the area did nothing to beat it.  So, at some point, we ended up in one of the air-conditioned cabins.  People who live in the Philippines without AC are masochists.  And businesses who don’t provide AC for their patrons are sadists.  Such was the case with our transportation, whose AC unit decided to konk out during this trip.  So, stuck in traffic for at least 90% in each direction, was an exercise in patience.

My second to the last evening in the Philippines was pretty chill.  My brother and I decided to have dinner at a place not too far from the condo.  It offered free wi-fi.

Later tonight, I will be the master of ceremonies at my grandmother’s centennial celebration at a restaurant in Luneta.  Hordes of relatives will be in attendance.  It’s going to be crazy and enjoyable.  I can’t wait!

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