Events in a persons life has and will always be important and celebrating it amidst any status should be more or less valued. But the question is what if I can’t afford to celebrate it? What if I don’t have the budget or the man power to cover such an event?
Here in the cordillera’s we have a practice wherein family, friends and members of the community share what they can to help anyone who is celebrating that event (i.e. weddings, funerals, thanks giving etc.). You can offer either services (like helping out with the cooking of the food or washing the dishes or setting up the event space and so on), goods(like sacks of rice, a pig, chickens, a cow or water buffalo or just a bag of salt if that’s what you can afford and material stuff that you basically want to give as a gift) and cash. These are little things but when you combine it with the other help and gifts provided it amounts to a lot. At a wedding we covered, the financial gifts given by everyone summed up to more than a million pesos and that doesn’t include the material gifts and hours of help given by everyone.
But what’s in it for them? I asked a friend once and his answer was. “It’s a way of helping out the couple. To help them start a new life. And when the time comes, if those who have given financial help, no matter how small, will have their own kin or themselves get married, the “supon”, as we call it in Sagada, will be given back to help out in return.” -Topper Capuyan Ballola from this post.
But how I saw it was much more than that. I think that this is a way for everyone to be involved and act as a community. Sharing the happiness, joy, grief and or sadness of the people celebrating the said event. The celebrating family does take note of it by writing your name on a notebook and also indicating the amount (if it was money) or what you gave during that day of said event. It kinda sounds off but its a way for them to remember that you helped out and they will help out in return.
This is one solid example of “Bayanihan” . Loosely translates to “Helping out“.