February 20, 2007

Opulence

Thank goodness the cold spell is over. The warm weather sure does wonders to my office tardiness and motivation to blog.

And so, from the handy-dandy notebook...

My uncle - Mommy's younger and only brother - celebrated his 50th birthday last December by taking on the responsibility of being "Father of the Year" for 2007.

A little background about this "Father of the Year" thing…

Every New Year's eve, my hometown Batan celebrates its grandest, most opulent social event of the year -- Father's Day. Organizing and hosting this event is the year-long responsibility of the Father of the Year.

One becomes Father of the Year by first satisfying some basic requirements: you have to be a native of Batan, or married to one, and you have to be a father (I leave the Philippine Family Code to define this).

Next is to get the blessings of the town's powerful few. I believe this is a requisite that tests the integrity of the wannabe’s family origins – just identifying who these people are could be very tricky. These individuals neither hold public office nor have their names plastered in big letters at the town plaza, but their sheer influence over the town’s affairs is unmistakable. Think Godfather. Or the Jedi Council.

And finally, for formalities, a new Father of the Year must get majority votes from eligible fathers present during the celebration. Yes, nominations are entertained and the motions of voting are still exercised, but everyone already knew who the anointed one is days before the event.

Of course there are those who misread (or completely miss out) the unspoken consensus and unwittingly take the charade in an entirely different way. Thus, the celebration of Father’s Day has seen its share of lively brawls.

So now that my uncle got the much-coveted title (with no kicks and punches thrown, thank goodness) all he has to do now is to spend a year preparing a grand party for a town that has an estimated population of over 27,000.

The Father's Day celebration in Batan has gained notoriety among those privy to its history because of the rather simple standard by which its success is measured for the past 72 years: more than the never-ending supply of food and wine, great sounds, breathtaking cultural performances and intermission numbers, the event is ultimately evaluated by the number of men (and lately, women and youngsters) who walk (or crawl) home drunk with happy smiles on their faces.

Whether tales of brawls or antics borne out of euphoric stupor, the key is to be remembered by the most number of people for the longest period of time.

What a way to end a year for such a sleepy town, and what a way for someone to leave behind his name in history.

With my uncle now wearing the legendary Father of the Year hat, 2007 will be a busy year for the clan. Ideas for souvenirs, anyone? ^^

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