YEAAAHHHH!!! *pumps fist* MABUHAY!

Yep. That’s definitely the corniest title I’ve come up with yet, but it’s straight from the bottom of my heart.

I have been to only a few events in my nearly-18 years that were intended solely to celebrate my roots. To name two — June 2002, when we went with some of the Brods to support Amelia Gordon, honored with the 2002 Pearl S. Buck International (PSBI) Woman of the Year Award; and Diversity Day in April of ’07. I suppose if I counted every family reunion, every Pinoy gathering, there would be a lot more, but here I’m only counting those where we gathered with the express purpose of ‘being patriotic’. Last night’s gathering was such.

The fight began at 11. Mum told me the luncheon girls were predicting that Manny would lose… ahhh… I do believe I had the best seat in the house. Haha. Seriously, though, I was smack dab in the middle, right in front of the TV, between Tito Gil and Jon. We were all crowded comfortably together in the Almarios’ living room. Some of us were on the couches, some standing behind the couches, others on various chairs, and a few of us on the floor. It didn’t really matter where we were as long as we could see. By the end of the first round, it was clear that Tita Fides was attempting to steal my title as the loudest person in the CFC community. Rotfl.

I don’t really have much to say about the actual fight. We discussed it in the car, and I did say that was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in a while… especially when Manny hit Oscar’s face four times in a row. *Wow* Too sweet for words, I gotta tell you. And then the mommies were reprimanding me for being so bloodthirsty… but I’ll cover that part in another post.

I’ll probably see a lot of fights just as *awesome* as this one before I’m really that much older. But what I’ll carry with me forever is the mood of last night.

You could say that Pinoys are patriotic to a fault. I admit I’ve heard/seen things I’m not impressed with… there are definitely people who do not really understand what “Pinoy Pride” is, and they give it a cheap meaning. But the same could be said of “Proud to be an American”; people can give that a pretty cheap meaning, too. It depends on one’s grasp of what one really stands for.

Pinoy Pride, being ‘patriotic’ — and this is coming from a full-blood Pinoy, yes, but, mind you, one who was born and raised here in America, so my perception is probably very different from my parents and extended family back home — seems to have more to do with blood than anything else. It’s totally true that we’re better off in America. Why would I deny that? I don’t really think that I have to go into specifics for anyone reading this. So when I say I’m proud to be Pinoy… it’s not that I’m putting down America’s government or something.

Pinoy Pride is something that I experience… when I say to Mom or Mama that a particular phrase translated into English completely loses its depth… or when I talk about the general parent-child relationship in Filipino culture being completely different from the parent-child relationship in the American culture… or when I say that nothing beats Pinoy cooking… or when Mom finds stuff like moymoypalaboy on youtube and we laugh and say that that’s a perfect example of why Pinoys never get depressed… or when Tita Cynthia laughs quietly and says that she’s not worried about the economic ‘crisis’ here in America, because, “Poverty? Go to the Philippines. Why should I be worried? These people that are worried… they have no concept of poverty. After what I’ve seen in the Philippines, I’m not worried.”

That is Pinoy Pride. When put that way, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, and I think it’s one of the most beautiful things that I have been blessed with.

And that is what I experienced last night, in a way that I can’t remember ever experiencing it before. Again, it’s really a blood thing. The few times I’ve watched boxing for random reasons, I never felt a bond, say, with any of the American fighters. Why would I? “Proud to be an American” doesn’t cover that. But Pinoy Pride does. Because of the blood. We were cheering Manny… did any of us know him personally? No. But he was part of us… we were bound by blood. And that is what we were cheering last night. That is what we gasped over… groaned over… yelled every time he landed a punch… flinched when he was hit back… cried out and laughed in exhilaration during the slow-motion play-backs… every time he got de la Hoya… “Manny is gradually reconfiguring de la Hoya’s beautiful face,” that’s a line I’ll never forget… and went crazy over when the stats were up, showing 224 punches landed by Manny to de la Hoya’s 83. This was our blood brother, and he won for us. Our hero. Does that sound pathetic? Not to me.

And at the same time, the laughs afterwards — at Manny’s english, for instance — show that it’s not as if we put him up on a pedestal and idolize him. It just goes to show that our Pinoy Pride does not blind us… that we do not fail to recognize that he is a fellow human being, that while we glory in his glory, it’s no insult to him to laugh at the line Tita Fama particularly picked out, “I deserved my sacrifices,” complete with amusing Pinoy accent xD. I think that hit me as much as anything else did that night.

That’s a night I’ll be shivering over for a while yet… and I can’t wait for the next one.




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