If you were to visit me now (until Saturday when I move to Bonn for two months) and stay with me in my dormitory, you will most likely be treated to a Sheraton-standard Filipino hospitality. I’m not saying Filipinos have the monopoly of warmth in the world. I’ve received the German, Spanish and French style of hospitality and I couldn’t complain. However, Filipinos have that personal touch that offers a distinction to our brand of hospitality.
The other night, already a bit woozy from downing several glasses of wine and late bowling, I had no resort but to stay over at a flat of a friend who was celebrating into his birthday. About an hour has already passed since the last tram ride left by 12:30 a.m. We bade the ladies (new MEG students a FEM) goodbye have gone their separate ways to their dorms just nearby. To cap off the celebration, we had one more round of drinks and a bowl of soup in his flat while watching marathon in last stretch of the Olympics before we called it a night.
I’m glad we were still sober enough to lurch in his room. He sorted out and offered me his soft bed, which I took tentatively, while he rolled out a mat and sleeping bag next to his wardrobe trunk. His other friend who was visiting him took my rightful place- the couch. He must have felt a bit responsible for my buzz, and thought I deserve the more comfortable piece of the room while he has to live on a mat and endure the hard floor. As he turned off the lights and hit the sack, I peeked over his poor little corner. What a way to celebrate a birthday, and what a present I just gave him. He was chugging like a ship to Neverland in no time however. Weariness and alcohol soon took over the awkwardness and irony of the situation, and I soon likewise slipped into a deep somber.
Pavel, the birthday celebrant, and Andre (the guy who I contended with for the couch) are both Belarusians, who reminded me of the times I visited friends and relatives who probably don’t live the most comfortable lives as compared to people living here in Germany, yet they put their better foot forward and offer (more of force!) you to take the best part of the chicken, the last piece of bread, or the last gulp of beer.
I want to know which other countries serve their guests this kind of hospitality. Invite me or maybe I can crash in your place, and see if you’ll pass the hospitality test!
Watch Pavel make his birthday wish on 12 seconds.tv.