The return of Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) relatives is often a good excuse to throw a party. And what better time to host a family reunion? Take the opportunity to celebrate your loved ones, especially if they have been doing much to support the whole family. And do not just hold any party. Put in the efforts to make the balikbayans feel special. From choosing a theme and hosting games to finding the perfect venue and preparing the right food, go the extra mile to create an impression. Whatever you do, make sure you infuse a good dose of Filipino flavor to the event. Many of our Filipino traditions and cuisines are missed dearly by our relatives abroad, so go ahead and indulge them.
Make sure everyone knows each other
If you are part of a big clan, you may have to introduce family members to the balikbayan. The OFW may have been away for a long time and new relatives have already been born, or the younger relatives may have already grown and have started to look different. Make sure everyone is properly connected with each other. Remember that this is a family reunion, and that warmth and belongingness should be emphasized.
Keep the party flowing with a program
To avoid dull moments and to make the returning family members feel welcome, take the effort to plan a program. This will keep things flowing and on schedule. You can squeeze in games, performances, and videos and slideshows that honor the moments and experiences of the special guests, as well as heartwarming OFW stories. Make sure you highlight the contributions made by the OFWs. Show your gratitude and understanding of the sacrifices they made for the family.
Keep everyone engaged with fun games
Have the clan entertained with fun games that will keep everyone’s energy up. Choose games that will have the family laughing and even screaming in excitement. Make sure everyone gets to join in the fun. Prepare games that are fit for all ages. You can host separate games for the little ones. It will be cute to watch them give their best to win. And of course, prepare games that will have the adults forgetting their worries and just enjoying the day. The games can range from the common ones, like paper dance and Trip to Jerusalem, or you can get inventive and come up with new ideas. You can host a karaoke singing competition with a funny twist — make the worst singers in the family compete!
Give away prizes
Give everyone something to look forward to. Gather the names of all your attendees and have them join a raffle. Prepare prizes that everyone will be excited about, from cool headphones to coveted iPads. Draw winners at intervals, and leave the biggest prizes until the end of the party. This will magnify the anticipation, and is also a great ploy to encourage everyone to stay throughout the duration of the event.
Prepare gifts for everyone
Make sure no one goes home empty-handed, especially the kids. Secure a list of attendees way before the party so you have time to do some shopping. Just to be sure, buy extra gifts that could easily be handed out to those who show up unannounced. Make them generic so they can be given to people of varying ages and gender. Your gifts do not have to be expensive, just choose stuff that are cute and appealing. This is also a great opportunity to distribute the OFWs’ pasalubong.
Come up with a creative theme
Think of a creative theme that will make the event even more exciting for the family. You can throw a retro-inspired party, a superhero party, a sports theme party, among many other options. Make sure it fits the general interests of the family, especially of the OFWs coming home. Some families are more interested in music than in sports. In such a case, a sports themed reunion should be the last thing on your mind.
Add Pinoy flavor to your party
Make sure your party has Pinoy flavor to it. And this should go beyond just installing a karaoke at the event venue. Be ready with a menu that will appeal to the whole family, especially to the returning OFWs. Bear in mind that Filipino dishes are among the main things Pinoys miss when they are abroad. Indulge the balikbayans with all the Pinoy flavors they’ve been yearning to taste again. Besides, there’s nothing like Filipino cuisine to make one feel at home again. Be ready with a lechon gracing your banquet table, coupled with steaming hot rice, pancit, adobo, caldereta, ginataang langka, and the like. You can also prepare kakanin, such as puto, suman, bibingka, cassava cake, sapin-sapin, kutsinta, biko, pichi-pichi, and maja blanca.
Pick a venue
Whether you prefer a low-key or a swanky setting for the OFW homecoming, you can find just the right venue at one of DMCI Properties events places. If you have a large clan and want to accommodate everyone in a casual setting, you can choose DMCI Homes’ The Tent. This venue accommodates 300 to 1,000 people. You can host a wide range of games and allow the kids the freedom to run around and have fun. If you would like to go formal and classy with your event, Casa Real is perfect for you. The structure beautifully combines Filipino, American, Chinese and Spanish architecture. With its resemblance to the Tuasons’ old residence at on Sociego Street, Casa Real pays homage to the rich history and culture of the Philippines. If you prefer a more modern vibe to your party, you can go for the Iris Observatory. Located at the roof deck of the 42-storey condominium Iris, it is an ideal venue for upscale events. Your guests will love the resort-like amenities and the spectacular views of the Ortigas, Makati, and Rockwell skyline.
Hold the party at your condo unit
If renting an events venue is not what you have in mind, then go ahead and hold the party at your condo unit. Do not let the size of your place dissuade you. There are ways you can make the most out of the unit’s compact space. For one, you can rearrange your living room. Rearrange your home so that the living room becomes the center of the party. Depending on the kind of party you plan to hold, you can either empty out the middle of your living room so you have space for games and dancing, or you can bring in a huge table so you can lay out your banquet in the middle of it all. In any case, you must make sure you offer your feast in buffet style if you have a small space. Buffets are always great for big crowds. You can simply lay out all the food on the table, with the plates and utensils on the side. Your visitors can then approach it to take food and go somewhere else to finish their meal. Be creative with your furnitures so everything is used to its full advantage. You can turn some chairs into tables and some boxes into chairs. Just get creative with decorations so everything still looks attractive. You will also have to temporarily declutter. For instance, you can move your favorite vase into the cupboard to make room for a table to accommodate your guests.
Whatever you do, do not forget to make the returning OFWs the center of it all. The hard work and sacrifices they have made for the family deserve all the appreciation, recognition, and gratitude.