1. You’re forced to comply with the ~*themes*~ that your tita randomly came up with for the year. Sometimes, you go all out and do United Nations, but most years, you stick to wearing color-coded shirts. So if your family’s assigned color is yellow, you HAVE to wear yellow even if you know totally well that canary is absolutely not your color.
2. All the single cousins will fall victim to the never-ending questions of that one tita about their dating lives. “Bakit single ka parin, iha/iho? Maganda/gwapo ka naman, may pinag-aralan, maganda trabaho, bakit ka single?” Ewan ko sa'yo, tita. And even after you say that you're totally okay with it, that ONE tita will always say, “You can tell me naman if you have a boyfriend! I won’t tell your mom!”
3. Everyone is welcomed with comments based on their weight gain or loss since the last time they saw each other. Nope, no one has time to ask how you’ve been, they just immediately go for the kill: “Ang taba mo na!!!”
4. The year you realized you were old enough to be “exempted” from the kids’ ~*presentations*~ was probably the best year ever. Although you will miss the instant P500 from Tito Boy after dancing to whatever’s the biggest hit on the radio.
5. What you really do look forward to is the food, because no one can do Filipino favorites quite like lola! Once a year, everyone has kare-kare, sisig, lechon, bulalo, lechon kawali, crispy pata, pancit, and So! Much! More! at the table. With the amount of food they prepare for the event, you can feed a barangay.
6. But before you can eat, you HAVE to make beso and mano everyone. Even if you don’t know half the people you paid your respects to. “Tita Baby mo, Tita Girlie mo!” and “Tito Boy 'yan! And you remember, Tito Jun?” is your mom’s go-to dialogue as she parades you and your siblings from table to table.
7. “Ang laki mo na, iha!” Is the one line you will hear the whole day.
8. Your dad and titos disappear to the designated drinking area. This is where they down cases upon cases of beer and engage in ~*manly discussions*~ about politics and the economy of the country. OLRAYT.
9. There’s always that one tito who goes around and forces all the kids to take shots. And when your mom throws him a look to tell him not to do it, he’ll say, “Ano ka ba, malaki na ‘yan!”—and this is how you got your first taste of vodka.
10. If you’re in a relationship, all the nosy titas will keep bringing up the topic of marriage. “Iha, ninang mo ako ha! ‘Wag si Tita Menchie, kuripot yun!” Lol.
11. Then you have that other tito who just gets way too drunk and tells you a super inappropriate story from when your mom and dad were still dating. “Alam mo noong araw ‘yang daddy mo…..” And that is your cue for a bathroom break.
12. All thanks to the Internet, it is now required for one segment of the family reunion to be dedicated to a Skype session with the relatives abroad. Sometimes, the Internet can be a beautiful thing, too!
13. The cute and sneaky lolos and lolas eat all the food that they KNOW they can’t have. Inihaw na liempo? Sisig? Beer? “Minsan lang naman eh!”
14. And then after lunch, all the titos and titas bring out the grandparents’ pill boxes filled with maintenance meds to make up for their sinful lunch. “Pang-presyon, pang-chloesterol, pang-puso!” and the list goes on and on.
15. While the dads are busy drinking in a corner, all the moms are in another area filling each other in on the latest chismis. “My Miguel brought home a girl the other day. Jusko, matanda na ba tayo?!”
16. Shortly after lunch, the karaoke machine—err, Magic Sing—is free for everyone. Well, not really everyone, because your drunk tito has somehow managed to grab the mic and serenade everyone with his favorite song, “My Way.” This is followed by your mom’s version of “Dancing Queen.”
17. Things get awkward at the kids’ section because you are surrounded by your two types of cousins: the ones that you literally just saw last week because you went out drinking and the ones that you literally see only once a year. Yeah, how do we talk if I don't remember your name?
18. Family reunions are the only place that you willingly join embarrassing parlor games because you know the prizes are legit. Bring Me is soooo pang-children's party, but we're talking about P500 here!
19. But all of that *kind of * changed when you realized that all the titas and titos started snapping photos of the games with their iPads and uploading them on Facebook for all the world to see. *Unfriending*
20. The party starts at 12 and ends the next day. No reunion like a Pinoy reunion!
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