Graciousness, hospitality and tastiness.

by Vincent

Graciousness. I think that’s one way to describe every home I’ve visited being here in the Philippines. When I last visited in 2004, I was able to visit my friend’s family home in Los Pinas. I remember that when we slept, there were about 6 of us to one room, and climbing the stairs required some caution being extremely steep, like 12-inches high, 3-inches deep type steep. But aside from the shared space and the mountainous stair climb, the main thing that stuck out in my mind was how gracious and hospitable the family was. The lola of the house served for dinner an amazing spread of sinagang and beef steak adobo, with mangos for desert. Very tasty.

Halo halo with Alex's family in Quiapo. -photo by a.felipe-


When we visited Alex’s family in the Quiapo, they were super hospitable serving us halo halo fresh from the corner vendor. What I find interesting, is that wherever we go, whichever home we visit, the people always have the biggest smiles on their faces when they speak with us. I find that giving off the warm welcome vibe is an essential part for Filipino homes here. Of course I get the requisite questions regarding my lack of Tagalog speaking abilities, but it’s all in good fun as they say “Mabebenta ka” meaning “you will be sold” by people speaking tagalog right in front of you.

 As I write this, I sit in my dad’s family home in Project 7 of Quezon City. The thing is, I would say my family comes from a working middle class who were able to study and find work in professional careers. My dad had 4 brothers and 5 sisters, making them 10 kids in all, which my lolo and lola raised in the Q.C. area. During WWII they fled to Pilar in the Ilo Ilo area and waited out the fighting there. So looking at my family, I guess going through such struggle and effort, being a gracious host when people come to visit their home, is something that would naturally manifest.  

My dad and his parents and siblings


Eventually the majority of my family moved to Canada and the U.S. with only my one aunt remaining here in the Philippines. She took over the family home and renovated it over the years with her kids helping out. My cousins eventually became a doctor, a nurse, and a dentist. The nurse and dentist now live in California, and it’s the doctor’s home that I currently write this post from. So it’s here that I also experience the warm hospitality that has been the regular where I would seem to find myself.

My Uncle's place in Abucay, Bataan


I visited my family’s home in Bataan, and as usual they were super nice, super warm and welcoming. They took me around their area. I went to the local market, which was a bit different then the markets I saw in Manila.

The Market down the street from my Uncle's place


Inside the Market


I stayed at their place which was complete with a mini-basketball court, talking bird and a water tower in case of rolling black outs. 

Garage and Basketball half court


My Uncle's talking bird


My uncle was the head of maintenance at the local Petron oil refinery for decades, and he used his engineering background to design this water tower system.

Water tower for use during rolling blackouts in Abucay


I guess for me, going to various homes here means that no matter where you go, you see Filipinos making the best of their situation, whatever that may be. It’s always great to see family, those who I haven’t grown up knowing. The first meal I had in Bataan was huge. It consisted of sisig, crispy pata, and tasty sinigang. Hospitality and tastiness, are also the ideas that come to mind when I think about visiting family homes in the Philippines. I guess the air-con experience, often comes with a smile and a warm welcome attached to it.

The Altar in my Uncle's home

My Aunt's Altar in their Bataan home





  1. cool. i like the fact that the market seems so clean. and also your uncle’s house with all those plants around it is gorgeous.

    how is the market “different” from the ones in manila? i guess it’s cleaner, newer?

    • i guess the big difference was that this market in Abucay, Bataan had a lot more room, wasn’t as packed as the ones I saw in Manila. It also did feel newer for sure.

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