The heart of any Filipino family event is the food. While the people are the most important thing, it’s the food around which they revolve.
This is evident in the amount of food. Every Filipino gathering I’ve been to starts with a host who’s worried there isn’t enough to eat and ends with every attendee going home with a brimming takeaway plate.
Filipino get togethers also tend to be loud. In part this is down to shear numbers. The Philippines is over 80% Roman Catholic.  When I taught here in 2003 I remember a talk show on TV where a priest and others debated whether contraception should be legal. Not “should be encouraged” or “distributed in schools” but “permitted by the law.” I gathered that to that point artificial birth control pretty much wasn’t officially allowed. With that many babies running around there’s bound to be some noise.
So with my arrival coinciding with one of my cousin’s birthday, an impromptu party turned into a full-blown eating session. Let’s just say food and family were delightful, richly flavored, and made quite a bit better with the presence of a little kalamansi.
1 The are, roughly, 12% Other Christian, 5% Muslim (mostly in the far south), and 3% “other.” ↑