Thursday, May 28, 2009

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Excuses for not bringing a pasalubong

Alunan Avenue

Pasalubong is a Filipino idea. When you go somewhere far, your friends expect you to bring something from the place you've been to--a beaded necklace, a carved granite stone, a big box full of chocolates, or anything else for that matter. This practice accomplishes two things: (1) it proves that you did go somewhere far, and (2) it shows your affection for those you had left behind because, well, when you bought that wood carving of a man in a barrel, you were thinking of the people you love.

I remember Dr. Laura David of the Marine Science Institute who said that this practice has its roots on our being an archipelago. When people hopped from one island to the next, they had to bring a proof that they've been to this or that place. Somewhere along the course of history, the concept of pasalubong has been thoroughly ingrained in our culture so much so that people, no matter how poor they are, would do their best to bring something back.

My problem is, whenever my friends hear I'm going home to the province, it is inevitable--as sure as the sun rises from the east and sets on the west--that at least one of them would ask for a pasalubong.

What do I say without sounding indifferent? My province isn't known for anything, except for two small-time bombs that exploded some five years ago, which people from Manila mistake for the Nagasaki bombing. I can't bring a pineapple because it tastes like all the pineapples of the world. I can't bring an I've-been-to-Koronadal t-shirt because, well, it's not so different from all other I've-been-to shirts: they're all made of cotton.

But I can bring myself, and if you're a true friend, that should be enough.

4 comments:

  1. wow thanks for writing this kuya lance. now i know what excuse to tell them. damu na sila gaparamdam eh...haha.

    -trisha

    ReplyDelete
  2. welcome back, lance :) i want my hug!haha

    - anna/checa

    ReplyDelete

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