Monday, October 01, 2007

Mid Autumn Festival

It has been a yearly tradition in our family in Cebu to play the game of dice every August moon Festival, when the moon is supposed to shine the brightest in that year. It falls every 15th of August in the Lunar Calendar so it keeps on changing in our western calendar. This year, it fell on September 25.

I was set on introducing this family tradition to my family in Manila. Being the only authentic Chinese in our family (I say "authentic" because both Japa and Lai look kinda Chinese too!), I felt the pressure to familiarize myself with the rules of the dice game since they were depending on me to be the 'game master'. I had volunteered, even offered, to organize this game because I think it would be fun especially for the kids. My childhood memories always included this experience - of winning hopias (and eating the smaller ones right away) and most of all, receiving those crisp, new bills and keeping it in my locked safe. Up to now, I still have my winnings. I know because the money is just so new - although some have been outdated, meaning the bills have become obsolete and therefore, not legal tender. Still, I think they'd be great souvenirs and glimpses of the past for our kids.

Back to the story... I began my search for the hopia set by asking Dexter Go of Sulpicio Lines. His parents play the dice game with us in Cebu. He referred me to DEC and Salazar Bakery. While waiting for Yaya Mila to apply for her US Visa, Manuel and I went to Binondo to see for myself the hopia set, the dice and the rules. The rules sheet was very important! That was to be my kodigo! The DEC hopia set cost P1,250 but their dice looked ugly and the rules were in Chinese!!! My next stop was Eng Bee Tin, home of my favorite hopia. There I found the perfect hopia set - P1,000/small set, P1,500/big set. The instruction sheet was both in English and Chinese and the dice were decent and presentable. I have found my hopia set!

The Dizon clan are a very game bunch that's why I just LOVE organizing parties with them. My siblings are very helpful and supportive. To complete the theme, I prepared a full Chinese menu and asked everyone to at least wear a Chinese-themed outfit.

That day, Ate helped in writing the rules on the white board and served as my loud speaker that night in explaining them. Boydee and Lai actively helped in the drawing of lots while Rondic was quick to know the rules and served as an impromptu game master. I became the treasurer and hopia distributor with the help of Stella, 'waitressing' the 32 and 16 pieces hopia. Our dinner was mixed with lechon since Lola insisted in adding a dish for RJ's birthday which happened to fall on that day. So, we had a feast!

Lai won the jackpot that night of P2,000 and the giant hopia. I hope everyone had fun and that maybe, we can do this every year. I, for one, would like my kids to grow up having this memory too. And I'm only too glad to be able to share a part of my culture to my other family. Till next year!!!

Our menu: Chinese lumpia buffet from DEC, Wilson @ P50/piece
Sweet and Sour Pork from Wan Chai
Dragon Balls from Wan Chai
Pata Tim by Melinda
Steamed Grouper with ginger and soy sauce by Melinda
Yang Chow Fried Rice by Melinda
Crispy Fried Chicken by Melinda
Lomi by Elmer sponsored by Tito Rey
Black Gulaman with Almonds and Nata de Coco by me!
Mango Sago by Melinda
Fresh Mandarin Orange, Fragrant Pears and Pomelo from our new Binondo supplier referred by Dexter
Lechon from Lola Nene

Congrats Lai! And, to RJ, happy, happy Birthday!!!

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