Thursday, January 15, 2009

Triple G, minus 1

I remember learning in high school about the 3 G's. In history the G's were always for "God, Gold, and Glory," and they were used to describe the general reason for exploration and colonization. Explorers set out for new terrain to spread the Word of God, become rich off of gold they would discover, and spread their name and bring glory to their country.

Well, I have so much time on my hands, I've figured out the 3G's of the Philippines. I don't know if these G's could be said for all of the Philippines, I'm simply basing them off of where I'm staying and what my experience has been so far.

So, here we go... G number 1: God. The Spaniards took control of the islands for 300 years, and have left a lasting impression. Roman Catholicism is everywhere, and God is brought into every activity that takes place. School, work, and family life all center around God and religion. The priest, Father Randy, is constantly on the go. Every social function, whether it be weddings, birthdays, Mass at school, or lunch during fiesta, always includes Father Randy.

G number 2: Gay. There seems to be a lot of gay people here. This is one of those things where I'm not sure if it's just where I'm located and who I am introduced to, or if it's like this throughout the country. The people that I have met seem very comfortable and open with who they are, and most people in the community are very accepting of that. For example, at the fiesta lunch I went to yesterday, I sat next to Father Randy and the new Miss Gay. This was the man who won the fiesta's gay beauty pageant. It was a great meal, and everybody ate and laughed together. It's just confusing for me sometimes when they refer to he as she... and then I learned at the lunch today that the local group of gay men have created their own terms, which they called, "gay filipino." For example, the name 'rebekah' means beer. I tried to explain to them that I'm having trouble just getting the basics of the filipno language, and would have to wait to add the "gay filipino" words.

Now for the twist... for the last G, you must subtract 1 letter and make it F. F is for Fiesta! Fiesta rules here. Each barangay, or neighborhood, has a patron saint and celebrates that saint on its birthday. It literally seems like there is a fiesta at least every other week. The neighboring area shuts down when it's fiesta time. Students don't go to school, and often teachers don't make their way to work. It's fiesta time... all the time!

So, as you can see, the GGG has taken on new cultural meanings. I'd be really interested to know what other volunteers have seen and experienced at their sites.

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