After a long break, we return to chapter five, where I start off the morning with rice, fish, chicken/papaya (?) soup, a banana, more fish, and, of course, Milo. This isn't my typical New Year's Eve breakfast.
Off we go to Subic Bay. The mountains offer an incredible view. The next few hours consist of a stop at Inang Laya Monument, lunch with two of Aris's friends, and a trip to the beach, where I play volleyball while Aris takes a well-deserved nap.
After playing a few games and swimming around, I wake Aris up and we return to Hermosa to take a nap for a few hours. It's a good things we do this, because as I'm about to discover, New Year's Eve in the Philippines is kind of a big deal...
The party starts at 7:00pm at Aris's lola's (grandmother's) home. Also in attendance are Aris's parents, siblings (six, including Aris), uncles and aunts (seven), and their children (...many). The next several hours consist of food, dance-offs, *games, **FIREWORKS, and a ***gift exchange. We return home at around 1:00am.
*In one of the games, everyone starts with 20 pesos (given to everyone by lola). A pair of people do rock-paper-scissors to see who keeps the money...I won every round, earning 320. Then, Aris's dad stepped in and r-p-s'ed me out of it all. Oh well...can't win 'em all.
**These were legit, explode-in-the-sky pyrotechnical devices. Children were standing within five feet of them.
***Every family brought a present for every member of every other family. This took a long time. I can't remember how long, exactly, but I can say that we were well into 2015 by the time the exchange finished.
|I tried to teach a few games I knew. It went well for a while, until people realized that there were no prizes. At that point, it was time to stop.|
|Light 'em up.|
|SO MANY PRESENTS.|
At some point, one of the cousins takes family pictures, and I join in. Should've worn my stripes...
|Standing: Me, Aaron, Angela, Papa Gaza (lucky man got 320 peso winnings)|
Sitting: ...it'll come to me, Mama Gaza, Lola, Aris