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Thoughts About the Filipino Ball

Posted on June 29, 2005 by under Family.    

I actually wrote this up just really quickly for Tita Esper because she wanted a young person’s perspective about the annual ball for submission to a Filipino newspaper in Chicago. I’m not sure if my perspective can be considered youthful anymore. I’m going to be thirty in a couple of years. I consider myself pretty old. LOL.

Anyway, I’m not sure if she’ll even be able to use the write up because I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to write about.. If I was supposed to write about the annual tradition in general (which is what I ended up doing) or if I was supposed to just relay the details of the event (as in narrating what transpired, sort of like a play-by-play). Either way, I think it’s a valiant effort on my part. 🙂

Traditions are very important in any society. This is particularly true of the Filipino community in the Greater Wichita Area. Every year over three hundred people come together to celebrate milestone anniversaries, debutantes, and educational achievement. I feel truly privileged and fortunate to be part of this great tradition.

My family moved to Wichita in December of 1994. We attended our very first June affair in 1995, the year that I came out to the Filipino community as one of the debutantes. My family has been an avid participant of the event every year ever since.

My husband and I were invited to participate in the Rigodon de Honor in 2003. We also danced in the Rigodon de Honor the following year, 2004. It’s amazing to be able to look back at all the years that have passed, not just since I attended for the first time but also since the inception of the event and the very first annual ball in 1988. It seems only yesterday that I was a debutante and now I am among the married couples that dance in the Rigodon de Honor.

Having been honored last year for achieving 25 years of marriage, my parents helped organize this year’s event. The theme was nostalgia and in keeping with the theme, the couples that were invited to join the Rigodon de Honor were those who have celebrated milestone anniversaries in the past. I found it inspiring to see all these couples that have successful marriages. I feel that they are successful because of having achieved such longevity.. It’s enlightening to see that couples really stay together and marriages really do work. My husband and I aspire to one day be honored for our milestone anniversary years from now, like the great couples that have come before us.

The event isn’t just about marriage though, it also about celebrating youth and the achievements of the younger members of the community. It is also about getting together with friends and family and distant relatives who one may not have the luxury of seeing on a regular basis. People from all over Kansas attend the event. Some even come from far away states. Everyone eagerly anticipates the event each year because you do get to see people who you have not seen in a long time.

For instance, my friend Richard who now resides in Houston attended the event this year. He brought his girlfriend Jessica with him for us to meet. The event provided an excellent reason to visit because he then could touch base and catch up with everyone who means something to him in the community rather than just visiting a couple of people. It provided an excellent opportunity for everyone to meet his Jessica, who is now a significant part of his life.

The next day, Richard and Jessica came to our house to catch up and visit some more. Jessica likened the event to a family reunion. Upon reflection, I realize that she is absolutely right. While some families have a major gathering or reunion type of event every few years, the Filipino community has a reunion type gathering that occurs annually. And I think that is a great way to describe it because I really feel that the Filipinos of the Greater Wichita area are one part of one big family. I would guess that everyone in the community feels the same way.

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