The FAAIE (Filipino-American Association of the Inland Empire) had their annual Christmas party last night. I attended for the first time in a couple of years, and observed some expected and some unexpected results.

The first observation was that the function started on time. I was late, but I expected that this was at least a mostly Filipino function, so I assumed many late arrivals. Guess I was wrong on that one. It seems it doesn’t take long to pick up some of the US customs, though I know many Americans that have trouble with the time thing, too.

Second observation was the food, and there was no surprise there. It was heavy Filipino fare and typical of every party, and gathering, that I have attended. Only difference here was that it was a potluck, so all the food was prepared ahead of time and brought to the hall.

Entertainment was a mixed bag, but plenty of karaoke style talent show exhibitions, especially from the children. Some of those young kids were fearless. Lots of dance acts, with both Americans and Filipinos taking part. The music was loud, no surprise there.

Anki Bisaya Phrasebook Flashcards

Conversation consisted of the usual mixture of English, Tagalog and Bisaya. Not much luck for me trying to understand, as it was quick and never pure. I could pick up a word or two of Bisaya here and there, but not as much as I had hoped. This was really very similar to what I experienced recently in Davao, so I guess it’s not much different here. Filipinos still like to speak natively when they get together here.

Lot’s of stories about recent visits to the Philippines, retirement there, and where people were from. A sad story from a lady who’s older husband left her for a 19 year old girl there in the Philippines. Kicker there was he had built a real nice house on the beach, and of course he no longer has any rights to that since they have divorced. Better think twice on that, huh.

It’s surprising how many Filipinos we have in this small community. What’s not surprising is their sense of community. It’s also heartwarming to see the acceptance of both cultures, but I suppose you would expect that at such a gathering. It feels similar to what I experience when in the Philippines, too.