Carolyn's Corner: International Hour - YMCA of the Rockies Blog | Colorado
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Carolyn’s Corner: International Hour

The YMCA of the Rockies is very lucky to have staff from all parts of the world.  Some come to work as seasonal workers and the length of their stay is varied.  Others come to spend a year in the International Training Program that the Y offers to International staff.  Snow Mountain Ranch is lucky to have workers from many different countries and they bring their customs and traditions with them.

Dave and I thought it would be wonderful to tap into the resources of our international staff and to present, “International Hour” once a week so our guests and multi-cultural staff could learn about each other.  We have had a presentation on China and one on Southern Brazil in the past.  This week we had a presentation on the Philippines given by Ajani Velasco and Lyka Codmos.  The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands and it is shaped like a soldier.  Lyka comes from the area in the mountains known as the Highlands, which is where the head of the soldier would be.  Aljani is from the Central part of the Philippines, maybe around the chest of the soldier.  The girls met at the University of Baguio in Baguio City, on Luzon Island.  Both girls are in their last year of school and needed a one year internship in order to graduate.  Both Lyka and Aljani wanted to have international experience so they choose the YMCA of the Rockies International Training Program to do their internship rather than a local place in the Philippines.

The talk attracted many spectators.  It just happened that Paul was attending a family reunion here at the Ranch and his family was also from the Philippines.  Paul brought his nine children to the talk and they all sat attentively and enjoyed learning about their father’s culture.  Paul was able to speak to Lyka and Aljani and they all understood each other even though there are 100’s of dialects throughout the Philippines.  Before the family left, Paul had his children sing two songs from his homeland.

Lyka and Aljani taught us about the foods of the Philippines and how they are made.  Adobo is a popular dish made of chicken or pork and slowly cooked with a bay leaf, salt and pepper and vinegar.  The bar-b-que is always sweet and never made with vinegar like we do in the states.  Lechon is a pig roasted over a fire and is eaten at weddings, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Christmas begins on September 1 and lasts for four months.  The actual celebration is December 24th, but the rest of the four months finds the family getting ready for the big day.

Dating in the Philippines was described as a slow moving river of love with lots of chivalry on the part of the male.  The first phase was the teasing phase where the boy gives the girl a look and the girl either responds with a look that says she is interested, or she looks away.  The serious stage is when the romance begins, or when they decide they might want to date.  The next phase is when the male talks to the girl’s parents and says he wants to date their daughter.  Harana is when the male brings gifts and may sing at the window to the girl.  One of the last stages before marriage is the male takes his parents to meet the girl’s parents and sees if all approve of a possible marriage plan.

“Oo” means yes, and “Hindi” means no.  Po is a word they use for showing respect to parents and other adults and elders.  Lyka and Ajani are having a hard time here in the states addressing their elders by name and not with a word that shows respect, like Sir or Madam.  When a person is visiting another person they use the respectful word “Po” but would knock on the door and say, “Tao Po” which means “Is anyone home?”

Palawan is an island that is very beautiful to visit if you plan on going to the Philippines.  It is known for its underground river, lack of pollution and Palawan has a smaller population than other islands.  Paul took his two oldest children to Palawan and said it is remote and hard to get to and hasn’t been overrun by tourists.

We would like to thank Aljani and Lyka for their wonderful talk, the videos they showed, the beautiful National anthem they sang and all they taught the audience about their beloved country.  We appreciate how both of them have adjusted to America while visiting here, and I hope both of them don’t forget to address their elders with “Po” and instead say “Hey dude” when they return home at the end of their internships here in the USA.

About The Author

Carolyn Thomas is a volunteer for Snow Mountain Ranch in Guest and Membership Relations. Four generations of her family have been vacationing at the Y for over 40 years, creating many happy family memories.

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