Cean turns 5

Our eldest son celebrated his fifth birthday last Monday 18 February. Coincidentally, my father turned 70 on the same day. The party, however, was held two days later at our house. It was attended by friends and their family from the Filipino community in Peterborough.

Social event

Birthday celebrations are a common way of socialising among us Filipinos here in Peterborough. Aside from catching up on each other's lives (sharing stories, problems and triumphs), attending such an event is a huge welcome relief from a hectic life of work and family. This is most specially true during these winter months. The weather is very cold and the skies dark and gloomy that all you want to do is stay inside and sulk.
Initially, we have only wanted to celebrate Cean's birthday with a few close friends. However, as the date gets nearer we have invited more people than we have planned to do. As hosts, the preparation was not easy - it never was, so swore our friends who came to the party and have played hosts themselves in the past.
Pinoy food
My wife is an excellent cook, if I should say so myself. I, however, is rubbish on such things but tried making it up by preparing all the ingredients (well, almost all). She hated doing it because she has very sensitive hands. Preparations started as early as the previous week by buying the canned ingredients and some decorations. It became quite hectic as the day gets nearer.
On the eve of the party, which was the start of wala'y tulogay (literally 'no sleeping'), the two main events were preparing ingredients and cooking that lasted until the wee hours of the morning the next day. Of course, there were the occasional disruption by cries of Mummy and Daddy by the little ones who were sleeping upstairs. On the party day, preparations are still ongoing up until during the party itself.

What could be more Pinoy in a birthday party than the food? Adobong baboy, lumpia shanghai, pansit canton, spaghetti, stir fry vegetables (carrots, broccolli, flat peas and bell peppers) and the piece de resistance, Daisy's bistek Tagalog done with a Bol-anon twist, were the main courses eaten together with the equally important kan-on (boiled rice). For dessert, there were biko (similar to kakanin), saging turon (plantain fritters), buko fruit salad and refrigerator cake.
Our son is very much into cars so a redhot racing car-shaped birthday cake it has to be. Bought at the local Sainsburys, it was a "moist sponge cake filled with delicious buttercream and raspberry jam, covered with soft icing and edible decorations." I have to say it was a delicious cake and the children seemed to have enjoyed it as well.

Birthday celebrant
In the run up to the party day, Cean was very excited and talks a lot about it. He is a very shy boy so the party is our way of exposing him to lots of different people and for him to socialise with other children. Unfortunately, when the big day came he was poorly with chest infection after he arrived from school. We did not realise until later on in the night that he was running a high fever. That explained his lacklustre behaviour when he came down after changing into his birthday clothes and greeted his visitors. After the customary singing, candle blowing and picture taking he politely begged off from the revelry to go upstairs and quitely played with his PlayStation (PS) 2 console. His favourite at the moment is any Hot Wheels game.
It did not stop the rest of us from celebrating though. The house was literally packed full with adults and children. The former were huddled up in small groups and swap stories while the latter were busy playing down- and upstairs with their balloons and whistles. Some children were enjoying Cbeebies and Nick Jr 2 shows. Later on, there was the very Pinoy idea of entertaining guests - Magic Mike singing by the adults. It was a very happy event and I am quite certain that everybody had a great time.
Cean had received a lot of gifts - birthday cards, money, shirts, trousers, a picture frame, a PS2 game and even another birthday cake. Through this article let me express my family's heartfelt thanks to our friends who came and gave gifts. Your presence was more than enough and the presents came unexpected but greatly appreciated by us and especially Cean, as a great bonus.
More pictures
There are more pictures to enjoy in my Friendster and Multiply accounts. Additionally, my relatives can check on our Geni family tree site.

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