In a world where Hollywood reigns supreme and where young people are desperately trying to duplicate Taylor Swift’s squad, it is easy to get caught up in contemporary western ideals. We dress like these distant celebrities, cut our hair the way they do, copy their diet, and talk like them. This is why the month of August has to be celebrated now more than ever. Buwan ng Wika is an ultimate throwback to who we are as a people. It is a time to highlight Filipino values and remind us of our unique national identity.
Multimedia platforms do not really celebrate Buwan ng Wika. You don’t see Balagtasan on TV or DJs playing Kundiman songs on radio. Social media couldn’t care less. It’s only schools and other cultural organizations who believe that Buwan ng Wika is still worth a celebration.
Living in a condo veers dwellers from things traditional. There are fast food chains and coffee houses everywhere, but no carinderia offering lutong-bahay dishes. There are malls and retail shops, but no sari-sari store. There are indoor playgrounds and activity areas for kids, but not the traditional neighborhood where children can play piko or tumbang preso.
But this does not mean that you cannot incorporate all things Pinoy in condo living. After all, Filipinos are known for their ingenuity and resourcefulness.
Savor Filipino cuisine
Nothing comes close to Filipino cuisine. Filipino dishes are comforting and satisfying. This Buwan ng Wika, whip up something in your condo kitchen and refrain from eating out of a box. As they say, food is one of the best ways to get to know about a country: its culture, people, and tradition. Preparing Filipino dishes is a sure-fire way to renew your appreciation of Filipino culture and heritage. The nostalgic aroma of adobo, the strong flavor of caldereta, and the sweetness and ingenuity of halo-halo will surely ignite that love that you have for your motherland.
Gather around the table
One of the distinct Filipino values is close family ties. Children do not move out of their parents’ houses when they turn 18 or go to college. Some live with their parents even after getting married. And one of the things that bring families together is food. Filipino families like gathering around the table, not just to eat but to catch up.
Make sure you practice this in your condo, regardless of the celebration. Make time for family dinners and get-togethers. You want a Filipino touch? How about a “lazy susan” in the table? You may also consider hanging a portrait of the Last Supper or gigantic wooden dining utensils.
Filipino architecture and design have come a long way from the genius of the traditional bahay-kubo or nipa hut. But living in a condo doesn’t mean you can’t relive it or its elements at least. The Filipino home is airy, warm and inviting, well-lit, textured, and relaxed.
Most condos today follow the open space layout, making it easier to create an airy space where air flows seamlessly into the home. Make sure your living area is warm to reflect Filipino hospitality. Draw your shades and curtain and let natural light in. Infuse some cultural elements that make the Filipino home truly Filipino.
Decorate with ingenuity
Filipino design is world class. From local exporters to Kenneth Cobonpue, the Filipino brand is known for its quality, uniqueness, and ingenuity. Dress up your condo with pieces made out of local materials such as wood, bamboo, or rattan. It doesn’t have to be the couch or the dining table. It could be the small things that can have huge impact such as rattan storage bins or a bamboo lounge chair. Capiz is also an excellent design choice.
Dance to TVJ, Rock to the E-Heads
Let’s face it: kundiman does not resonate well with modern Filipino audiences. Well, you don’t have to go as far back as the ancestral era to appreciate Filipino music. Shelve your Rihanna and Coldplay albums for a while and shift to an OPM playlist and prepare to be smitten.
While doing house chores in your condo, put TVJ songs on repeat and you will surely enjoy mopping the floor like never before. On your way to the office, put on Eraserheads classics and you will not even care about the traffic jam. When you get home, listen to some classic Pinoy love songs to relax you.
Binge on Filipino masterpieces
If you can do it for Game of Thrones, you can do it for Brocka, Bernal, De Leon, and Mendoza classics. Watching these groundbreaking Filipino films, which are clearly ahead of their time, is a good way of celebrating Buwan ng Wika. Not only will you get a glimpse of how Manila looked before, but dialogues will surely blow you away. Listening to these dialogues will make you realize just how beautiful the Filipino language is.
Balagtasan seems like a lost art. Why not revive it? One of the greatest benefits of condo communities is access to clubhouses, gazebos, and function halls where residents can gather for a night of balagtasan. If you opt for a modern version that today’s generation can relate to, spoken word is a good alternative.
This is one of the more creative ways on how to celebrate Buwan ng Wika in the condo community because it does not only gather residents together, but also introduces Filipino cultural heritage to teens and school children.
Play like the good, old times
Aren’t you glad your childhood was about tipping down cans, stealing bases, and hide and seek? Get your kids off the couch and use the condo’s expansive picnic areas and expansive spaces to play these traditional Filipino games again. Playing these games will instill in kids the beauty of the outdoors and the importance of using your limbs at play.
Share the sweetness
Forget cupcakes, and prepare local desserts instead. Rice cake and coconut-based desserts are not readily available in the restaurants surrounding condominium complexes. Neither are favorites such as turon, maruya, and leche flan. Spread the sweetness by surprising your neighbors with these treats. You may also include a classic Filipino quote.
Buwan ng Wika is a unique opportunity to revisit Filipino heritage and tradition. Apart from the beauty of the Filipino language, it is a good time to appreciate Filipino values and ingenuity. Regardless of the structure, your home remains a Filipino home and it must always live to Filipino ideals.