It has been a tradition of the family to hold reunion every first day of the year. We usually hold our reunion at our grandma's ancestral home at Ramos. Because we have grown so many, the old ancestral home can no longer accommodate us. Since last year, we started holding our reunion at the only function place that opens on New Year day, JSU Mariners Court. It is a little pricey but we are very satisfied of the place especially because it is equipped with wifi. It enabled us to communicate to our family members who were unable to join us because of work abroad. We are also happy because they are lenient with their corkage fees. They gave us freedom to provide our own catering services and allowed us to bring in extra food. Thank you, Mariners Court! :) For our food, we asked the catering services of 3L Catering Services. They are the only catering services available on New Year.
The reunion is of Ponce clan, my husband's family actually. To give you an idea of how huge the family is, my mom-in-law's siblings are 11 all in all. Each sibling has a minimum of 3 children with children of their own. It is, therefore, attended by 3 generations of the family. My husband alone has 4 more siblings. We almost can't fit the photo. LOL It is a huge huge one! We also include our house helps, nannies, and drivers.
Althought it is common for us to meet and get together on birthdays and even on lazy Sundays, there is no event as lavish and looked-forward to than the reunion. We take pride on how close our family is. Last year's theme was, "Way Hilakay the Retro reunion". This year, our theme is "Hawaii Hilakay Reunion". All expenses were paid by the cousins. The elder people just have to attend and enjoy the day.
Everyone dressed up on their best Hawaiian costume. The best dressed female and male get Php bills for prize.
The reunion was filled with games that include:
Two groups compete against each other. A player from the group goes infront and picks a paper from a bowl. He then acts the word. His group tries to guess that word. They should be able to guess within one minute. The group with the highest score wins. Example for a category movie: No other woman.
- Power Point Christmas medley
At least two groups compete against each other. Each group is given a paper and a pen. They are given 10 minutes to write as many Christmas carols as they can. After 10 minutes, a conductor or the "power point" master points his finger to the group who will sing next. No carol should be sung twice. If the carol is repeated, that group is automatically disqualified. The remaining group is the winner.
- Paint the picture
At least two groups compete against each other. A situation or a word is given by the host. The group acts on the word and freezes for a minute. A judge roams around and decides the winner. They act like pictures on the wall. The group that portrays/draws the closest to the situation/word wins. To make it more fun, announce the winner of each word at the end of the whole game. Examples of words are: End of the world, Noche Buena, Market, Winning a lotto, The Joy of Giving Birth.
- Group Gift Wrapping
Materials: box, gift wrapper, scissors, scotch tape, ribbon. Instruction: Each group member extends his right hand to touch the other member. The group forms a circle facing the table where the materials are placed. The group wraps the box in a gift using only one hand of each member. The group that finishes first, wins.
- Straw Tower
Each group is given 30 straws. They are given 18 minutes to build the tallest and strongest tower made up of straws. At the end of 18 minutes, the judge performs drop test of each tower. The tallest and strongest tower wins.
- Pinoy Henyo (Filipino Genius)
Two groups compete against each other. The group chooses a representative to go infront and wear a hat. The host sticks a paper with a written word on the hat. The representative will need to guess the word by asking for clues to his/her group. The group can only answer Yes or No. The group gains a point for correct guess. The group with the highest score wins.
For each member of the winning team, we gave a crisp Php bill for prize.
The kids presented dance numbers of the popular Psy's Gangnam Style. The Alvarado sisters (us) presented a dance number of the Hawaiian Five O retro medley. We thought it was the perfect music because it's a mashup of last year's retro theme. I just love our Hawaiian attire. We painstakingly created our own grass skirts, pompoms, and head dresses.
The most awaited portion of the event, "Way Hilakay" gift giving, was even more efficient this year. We usually spend 2 hours just giving gifts. This time, we spent only around 45 minutes. A great improvement, that is! ^_^ For gift giving, each family (only those who wants to join) will need to prepare 70 gifts. Each one (including the house helps, etc) is called and will have to collect a gift from each family. You will receive so many gifts at the end of the day! Such a wonderful feeling! ... Oopps.. I heard you react on the 70 gifts. You think it's expensive? Well.. here's the catch. For your 70 gifts, you have the free will to wrap anything. On previous years, I received hair comb, cotton buds, handkerchief, and even stickers. LOL Yeah! Giving gifts doesn't have to be expensive. Thus the name "way hilakay" short for Walay Hilakay (no crying). Before, we used to include kids in Way Hilakay. Once they opened their gifts, they indeed cried. LOL I mean.. if you are 7-year old and you receive cotton buds as gift, wouldn't you cry too? Hahaha Now, we have separate gifts for each kid. We love this tradition because it's fun. This year, we received soy sauce, bag of salt, and what-nots. Hehe
One important highlight of this year's reunion was the raffle prizes. With our remaining budget, we managed to stash out 15 prizes consist of appliances and glasswares for raffle. We also have photo booth and instant photo printing. We brought with us our reliable wireless printer.
We are happy because everyone stayed and finished the program. Of course, the program would not be as fun if it was not hosted by my ever amazing husband, McHalley! :)
The reunion is getting better and better every year. Everyone in the family is looking forward for more exciting prizes and surprises that awaits them on next year's way hilakay reunion. As Albert Einstein had said,
"Rejoice with your family in this beautiful land of life!"