Where’s the party?

Credit to Author: Tempo Desk| Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2020 16:10:30 +0000






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OF the three must-do’s mandated by health authorities to keep people COVID-free, the third is the most difficult to follow. Wear a mask. Wash your hands frequently. Observe social distancing. How to tell Filipinos to keep their distance from family, friends, neighbors, lovers, and other strangers?

Social distancing is not in the DNA of Filipinos. Zenaida Seva, who is better known for her long-distance love affair with the stars – not those shining on the ground as screen celebrities – notes from the chronicles of Magellan’s amanuensis, Pigafetta, that the people they discovered on the islands had two major interests, dancing and gambling. President Duterte recently scolded Cebuanos for their hard-headedness. Maybe, but inside that stubborn exterior breathes a fun-loving, easygoing soul so different from his hardy Ilocano cousin up North.

“Culturally, Filipinos are the most ‘sosyal’ or sociable in Asia,” said Ms. Seva, whose 9-to-5 job is astrology. To the puritanical Spaniards who had come to conquer Cebu for Crown and Cross, the hedonistic ways of the natives were an irresistible siren’s song; no wonder scores of them deserted and disappeared into the forests. “It was easy for Lapu-Lapu to invite Magellan and his men to their feasts” under the tropical sun or in the romantic moonlight. The rest, as we know, is history. Ms. Seva does not need an ephemeris to conclude that “Pinoys need parties!”

In the time of 120-day quarantines, isolation is a fate worse than death. At the risk of being picked up by some killjoy cop, the happy-go-lucky among the menfolk gamble on the street with their cards, roosters, beer,