“Ay! Tumaba ka!”
A family reunion is a wonderful time for catching up with kin and making up for lost time. There’s nothing like feeling the Christmas spirit in the company of family. A Christmas family reunion in a Pinoy household though? Now, that’s a different story.
Filipino families are typically tightknit—no matter how big the group is during the holiday festivities. Everyone must mingle. Everyone must swap stories. These relationships are bound together forever over Simbang Gabi, Noche Buena and Mahjong. Cousins who were made to prepare dance numbers for their lolo and lola’s anniversaries know this bond as well.
Filipino culture dictates that even your aunt’s husband’s cousin’s best friend is your tito and is to be treated like a relative. Your titas, meanwhile, expect you to remember the other tita they introduced to you when you were five (i.e. “ha, you don’t remember your tita Luzviminda?!”) It’s a culture wherein you cannot separate the Christmas season and time with the family. And while this holiday is synonymous to family bonding, great food, wonderful exchange gifts and traditions old and new, it has also become a time marked by well-meaning relatives prying into the lives of the younger members of the family.
Kamusta ang love life mo
— Titas of Manila (@TitasofManila) December 21, 2016
In most cases, these extremely personal questions are asked by titas and titos who are well-meaning. They pose their questions coming from a place of genuine concern. Ironically, it could be that they are just so concerned, their questioning ultimately comes off as rude. In most cases as well, they’re completely unaware. Who needs a filter when it’s family though, right?
This year, it’s time to pass on the annual baptism of fire at Christmas family reunions. Here’s your opportunity to recalibrate your reality with responses to some of the most annoying comments from relatives. We’ll leave it up to you of course to gauge whether these responses are appropriate for whichever relative needs that subtle clapback (with love).
For “ay, tumaba ka!” and other opinions you didn’t ask for…
The sarcastic route:
The passive aggressive route:
The “sige na, para tapos na” route (because admitting to the thing means someone’s opinion doesn’t have power over you):
The “I’m tired of hearing this” route:
The honesty route:
The “I’m going to show some sass ‘cause I’ve had it, but I’ll definitely get in trouble for this” route:
The “I’ll be right back and get some more food but really wait out this conversation” route: And for when you decide you want to stand your ground:
This is for everyone who has to sit through idealistic but one-dimensional “may boyfriend ka na ba?”, “kelan na kayo magkaka-baby?”, “ayaw mo ikasal?! Ba’t naman?!” questions and the like. Here’s to hoping all our families slowly but surely move on to more insightful bits this holiday season. Till then, sit tight!
Art Alexandra Lara