Freeman Cebu Business

It’s more fun indeed!

BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS - Romelinda Garces - The Freeman

The coming in of guests for the APEC has also brought in many other foreign guests.  And we are all excited about how to keep our friends happy.

The Filipino hospitality has long changed its tone.  Oh, yes, we are still the same welcoming people.  But we have moved to more practical ends.  We have slowly realized that our guests need not be impressed by our “have it all” attitude, instead, they appreciate our warmth,  attention and our humility not to go beyond reason to be the best host.

I recall many years ago, families would go to great lengths to be good hosts to coming guests.  They would prepare the best of everything.  The best sheets, the unused plates and silverware and the shiniest glass sets to make the guests feel special.  I was about to say “at home” but I realized some of our guests do not even have the same conveniences at home.

When my grandparents were alive, they had a special set of beddings, plates, spoons and forks, and coasters for our guests.  Even our mantel, our table cloth was either new or was among those special stashes that would only come out on special occasions. 

Our glasses were wrapped in well crocheted glass holders and we always had special cloth napkins and napkin holders when we had visitors.  Oh yes, we also had similar items in our regular meal, complete with someone to move the fly driver over our heads.  Its fronds just a few centimeters above just so it does not hit our heads or disturb the food.  But things were different when we had guests. 

We used to believe in the “serve your guests the best”.  And I see nothing wrong about that.  Not unless after serving your guests the best, you will starve for the rest of the month as in the case of many ancient fiesta celebrations.  After the fattened pig has been butchered, the family is not assured of a continuous supply of decent meals.

With the coming in of the guests from other countries, I am sure our intrinsic Filipino hospitality will arise.  But unlike the ancient ways we used to please our guests, we now can move to more participative ways of entertainment.  Singing, dancing, and wholesome bantering, where the wit displays a resilience that is characteristically Filipino.

There are many ways to entertain our guests now without having to be flustered about it.  Cooking simple native dishes are not expensive but will provide our guests with an experience of local delicacies.  For why else would one go to another country to eat if not to taste their native flavors?  And if your guest is not adventurous as to taste our exotic offerings, you can always try the basic staples.  Ham, cheese, and egg sandwiches presented warm in a bread basket.  Or simple fish and chips that could be downed with ice-cold beer.Although it would still be better to offer the local specialties like adobo, humba, pasayan halabos, and pochero with the local San Miguel Beer.

Many businesses have started simply by homecooked meals.  Titay’s was a homemade cookie ‘til it became a delectable delicacy.  The budbud and bibingka were snacks that our grandparents would entice us with along with sikwate or the native hot chocolate.  Now, these are local restaurant offerings and have been made into good businesses.  So if it is tiresome to do some home cooking, one can always go to the stores that line the streets of Mandaue for budbud kabog and bibingka.  Or the carbon market of Cebu City for putomaya and sikwate.  Or better still, go as far as Catmon and invade the Catmon Native Chicken cooked by a local entrepreneur with a recipe that has been handed down from generations.

When the formalities are done, it is time to treat our guests with the real Filipino hospitality which allows us to laugh together, enjoy food together and beat each other in a song, or dance step.  Fun is the best take home one can have.


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