This afternoon, Ariel and I were invited to a birthday party. It was our friends Jasper and Marixi's youngest son's 1st birthday. I was not too keen on going. I haven't been to any of the Christian Sunday services since I came back to Japan. I have been regularly going to the Catholic church to hear the bi-monthly Filipino mass, as I did this morning. This was the main reason why I didn't want to go. But my previous involvement with the community allowed me to build new friendships with fellow Filipinos who were "on the same wavelength" as myself, including Jasper and Marixi. This kind of people were hard to find in Japan. It was for friendship's sake that finally convinced me to go. The party was at 3PM.
Once there, I was immediately welcomed by old acquaintances. It has been more than a year since I last saw them. These were the same people whom I worked and performed with at the Christian concert in August 2007. I warmed up back to them and made myself comfortable. Familiar faces took turns coming up to me to chat: David and Kevin who greeted me at the door; of course, Marixi and Jasper; Ate Myrna; Leah and her husband Edwin; Ate Helen; Ate Lani; Cheaky; Kuya Steve; Apple; Tap2x and her former-bf-now-husband Robert; Ching and Cholo; Nimrod, the emcee; Net-net; the Hitachi boys - Doki, Archie and Ramsky; little DJ who sang to me; and Pastor Julio. I was also introduced to new members of the community including Felix, who at his young age was a preacher back in Cotabato. He was also the new Sunday school teacher of GMCA.
The program started with a dance number by the "Young Ones". Then, parlor games for the kids followed by merienda cena. To his and my surprise, Ariel was asked to say grace before meals. The feast was a smorgasbord of spaghetti, cake, inihaw na isda and baboy, kutsinta, puto, pudding, hotdogs with marshmallows, bopis and chop suey. After eating, there were more parlor games. One of the games was for the adults and I was forced to join it by special mention. It was a variation of the "Hep Hep Hooray!" game on Wowowee. But instead of "Hep Hep Hooray", we would say "Happy birthday Jaja". The game started with 12 of us and ended with me winning the very special prize of the game.
The party wrapped up at a little before 6pm. I headed back to the apartment with Ariel, grinning like a child with my loot.