Our expression of gratitude

With my Spanish-Filipino upbringing — though familiar with American holidays — my family did not commemorate Thanksgiving until my husband and I returned to Cebu in 1977.

Since then, we have celebrated the day, without fail, with family and friends every year.

Each year, Glenn introduces some aspect of Thanksgiving that we previously did not know about.

We are familiar that in the US, the holiday is believed to have originated in 1621, when Plymouth pilgrims and the Native Americans shared an Autumn Harvest Feast to give thanks for abundant crops. 

But the newest tidbit was here in the Philippines, the Thanksgiving holiday has actually been around for over a hundred years. It started when Spain transferred control over the Philippines to the USA through the Treaty of Paris, which paved the way for Americans to instill their customs and practices in the Filipinos. President Manuel L. Quezon thus proclaimed 24 November as the Philippine Thanksgiving Day. It was later moved to 21 September during the Marcos years.

An age-old tradition, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, is a sumptuous dinner consisting of roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry and potatoes, with several add-ons, not to mention a table full of desserts. But it is almost obligatory to have a slice of the pumpkin pie!

This year, we gave special thanks to our guests from different facets and aspects of our lives. Our family: Edu, Francisco and Marilen Jarque and our son Eduard. To the youth: our nephew Paco Jarque, Sonny and Annabelle Alo.

To dear friends: drama actress Mayen Tan, architect Tessie Javier, long-time Hong Kong residents Michael and Rose Hennessey, childhood peer Marvi Sala, happy retiree Oscar Zanoria.

For service: pediatrician, Vivina Chiu, hotelier Dottie Viajar, wealth management consultant Bess Zanoria, financial planner Joen de las Peñas and his devoted wife Jill, Honorary Consul of Canada Katherine Rivera and her husband seafood exporter Roy Rivera.

For the magic of travel: our travel buddies, travel specialist Aida Uy, Osaka, Japan restaurateur, Takeo Kameda, and Panagbenga Flower Festival Inc. co-chair Freddie Alquiros.

We are also grateful for our golden agers Rosebud Sala and Teresin Mendezona.

In the Philippines, whether an officially proclaimed holiday or not, we always give thanks for the abundance of blessings.

This year our focus was on our expression of gratitude to diverse, wonderful guests in attendance.