Saturday, December 20, 2003

Last night's Christmas party was one of the best I've ever had, a night well spent with great friends. The invitation was extended to me about a month prior and knowing them they intend to keep it small and private. Only a few close friends were invited to attend. Since it's Christmas I also thought it would be a good time to give something back to the hosts for being so accomodating and for accepting me in their private circle. I first met Joseph when his brother Jorge introduced me to him in our Alumni Homecoming early this year. Then again during the summer when Jorge extended an unlimited invitation to hang out in their office as often as I wanted. The office actually belongs to Joseph and his company and he was sharing it with his brothers. I also had the perfect gift in mind seeing they always like to drink brewed coffee in their office: a Six Variety Starbucks Gift Pack! I've been eyeing this for some weeks now and thought that it would always be available. So you could imagine my frustration and disappointment in finding out that they ran out of that same pack when I got there earlier last night. All they've got there was the huge three pack which costs a lot more than I set aside. But since I was already in a hurry I gave in and bought it, something I regretted doing on my way there. Thoughts of waiting to see if the other branches in Makati might have the pack I was originally planning to give.

I got to their office around 7:30 p.m. Jorge and Sheila were there drinking some lite beer and the only guests around were Jorge's father and a couple of military officials. All thoughts of regret over the huge amount melted away when I saw the recipient's face light up. He was all thanks and showed it to his girlfriend Dana. Jorge showed it also to his dad when he came out looking for more beer. They handed me some drinks and I also got a few sticks of pork barbecue. The spread on the table looked very appetizing: Italian spaghetti with sun-dried tomatoes, salmon topped with creamy garlic sauce, beef with broccoli, beef caldereta, lechon, whole chicken, potato salad with fruit cocktail, etc. (cholesterol city but drool worthy). Jorge also told me that since the party was going to extend till the wee hours of the morning it would be best for me to stay at their house to pass the night. The guests started arriving soon after among them was a batchmate of ours from high school and his closest friend Dennis (I based one of my comic strip characters on this guy), his wife Jen. One of the brothers' barkada Carol was also there. Joel soon arrived after bringing his nephew home.

The guests were divided according to rank: the "oldies" (their dad's friends and Joseph's associates) ate in the other room while the rest of us settled at the reception room near the door. At first all our conversations revolved around our day jobs and the like, entrepreneurship and the pros and cons of owning a business. I also found out that Joel's taste in music ran close to mine: lounge and 80s classics. We talked about the CDs that he has played them on the PC providing the party with some lively but relaxing music. Though it was already somewhat late and most of the guests were already leaving there were still some who managed to come in at the eleventh hour (turns out there was a monstrous traffic in the Quezon City area because of some corporate Christmas parties). One of those who was able to join us at the last minute was Joel's girlfriend Ivy who also came from another Christmas party.

Sheila and Jorge look on as Carol is entertained by Dennis' banter.

Dana, Sheila, and Ivy enjoying their bonding session.

Jen and Dennis getting tips on the food business.

Old friends sharing a private joke

... and having a grand time laughing about it.

Things turned a bit substantial when Carol mentioned that she was getting married next month. At first they all talked about recommendations for preparations for the ceremony then the topic slowly veered to her apprehensions about her expections after the ceremony. She generally asked what's it like to be married and how do you make things work between two married couples? Dennis gave a lot of sensible answers and sound advice in between cracking jokes and laughing out loud, Jorge shared some great advice and so did Mang Danny whom everyone treated as one of our despite the large age difference. At first Joseph just stood at the sidelines quietly listening to the discussion but soon gave in and threw in some practical advice. This discussion turned out to be really fruitful because it was the men who rose up to the occasion to give sensible answers that you have to understand your partner, know him first as a man or a woman before knowing the individual, make sacrifices and leeway for each other, husbands are the providers and security givers while wives should submit to their better-half and provide emotional support, etc. I wish I had a tape recorder last night and transcribe everything that was said (well, not including the jokes and crass humor in between).

Jorge gets serious on the topic about relationships.

Dennis in one of his rare serious moments.

Joseph gives his two cents worth on married life.

The brothers get into discussing the finer points of marriage.

Jorge and Sheila gave notice that they were leaving at around 1 a.m. since they were already drowsy (Joel wouldn't let me leave at first but I told him that I was spending the night at his brother's house). Everyone also thought that it would be best to start packing up.

We got to the house twenty minutes later and they prepared my bedding right inside their room and I fell sound asleep as soon as I lay on it. I woke up at 10:30 a.m. today (at last I was able to sleep over as long as I always wanted). Jorge had left very early in the morning to attend to his construction business. I helped Sheila prepare our brunch before saying goodbye. I will see them again tomorrow at the Star Wars convention since they promised to watch me conduct a short lecture on the field of drawing. Thank you God for these good friends of mine.

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