Saturday, September 3, 2011


It has been a tradition during the Hari Raya festivities for Muslims to invite their relatives, friends, colleagues and even neighborz to their "Open House." An Open House is similar to a house party wherein invited guests can come, eat and share the merriment of the host family. Believe it or not, most guests visit more than one Open house in a day.

As of writing, most of my friends right now are enjoying the different and even ostentatious feast of the Muslim population. Apparently, on my side, I haven't experienced any Open House. First, I don't get invites from Muslim friends because I have few Muslim acquaintances. In our company alone, we only have one Muslim staff. And for that Muslim officemate of mine, he opts to do Open House only for their family and close relatives. On one hand, since I seldom stay in the staff house, I don't get to meet the Muslim family around. Despite this one time when my father met our neighbor, the relationship was not sustained for I really don't go out of my crib. Hence, with my exposure to the people around and the situation I'm in, I don't get invites in an Open House.

Luckily, I got one unique invitation. It is the kind of invitation that surprised me, despite the heads up on a scrumptious meal.

Wanna know that invite? Read on!

God is really Good; he always blesses me.

 Two days ago, I received an e-mail invitation from the Philippine Embassy here in Brunei Darussalam. Yours truly is being invited to a Thanksgiving and Get-Together of FilCom (Filipino Community) members. With a theme of black and white, the event was initiated by the Philippine Embassy.

Thankfully, I finally got back the company car, and so without hesitation, I confirmed my attendance.

I tagged along my best ever ka-chikamate and orgmate Ma'am Betsy, who is also an officer of UP Circle Brunei, to join me in the event. Referring to the event's theme, I wore a black longsleeves that I bought in a sale in the Philippines, a black pants and a semi-formal coat.
Ma'am Betsy and Me!

Feeling Highschool Prom lang!
Surprisingly, the event was not only packed with fun games and raffle draw. One of the highlights was the awarding of certificates to those FilCom members who contributed/helped in the success of Pnoy's State Visit in Brunei.

And yes! As I took a  picture of Sir Allan, UP CB's President, as he received his certificate of appreciation, I almost dropped my camera when my name was called. It was like a FAMAS or URIAN moment. Okay, OA  much. But seriously, I didn't know that I will also be awarded with the certificate, together with a handful number of Filipinos.
Certificate of Appreciation!

Yes! That's me!

Award! Salamat po!

What's more flattering? As I received my certificate on stage, Ambassador Ochoa and his Wife gave me a big smile and said, "Aba, ito ang ating writer." As the statement hit my heart, I gave a very creative pose. I didn't hold my certificate, instead, I let Ambassador Ochoa and Mrs. Ochoa hold it for me as I let my fingers pointed the certificate paired with a big smile on my reddish/blushing face.

Hindi ako excited, noh? Award!

As I sat down, I finally came to my senses. Yes, I was just recognized. Gusto kong mahimatay. Okay, OA much na naman.

But here's a more trailblazing part. Okay, OA na naman ako. During the first part of the draw, my name was called. Imagine that! As I told myself, "perhaps, the gods and goddesses of luck are with me on this special night." Pag sinusuwerte ka nga naman. Sana next time, gadget or cash naman. hahaha.
Pumi-picture with the raffle item!
And so, I brought home one box off whole almonds coated with Van Houten Milk Chocolate. Ma'am Betsy also won in the raffle draw. She got a padlock.
Ma'am Betsy and the item she won!

Yan ang bawal sa akin! Kalurkey!

Apparently, I can't eat the chocolates. Okay, I can eat, but just a bit. As you all know, I've been watching the food I take lately because of paranoia and the recent crippling incident brought about by Uric Acid attack. At this moment, I decided to share the chocolates to my friends.

Attending the Thanksgiving and Get-Together for FilCom is more than an Open House for me. Apart from appetizing food, performances and raffle draw, I really felt appreciated and inspired too. I felt the relevance of being an Iskolar ng Bayan outside my mother country; that is by serving the community and sharing one's talent.

Again, to Ambassador Ochoa, Mrs. Ochoa, and the staff of the Philippine Embassy in Brunei Darussalam, Maraming Maraming salamat po! Mabuhay tayong lahat!

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