Having attended the event a few years ago, I remember but a sprinkling of mostly bland floats, haphazardly or disingenuously put together by banks, money-transfer outfits, law firms and handful of other bland industry sponsors. Regardless, this year’s celebration was reported to be the largest.  And, based on the little press coverage it garnered, it was thought to be more colorful and festive that what I recollect. Too bad, I missed it!
However, Grand Central Terminal, itself a daily hub of many tongues, was teeming with commuters of familiar Philippine dialects. A couple of times, I turned my head, silly me, to see if it was somebody I knew. Hey, you never know! For one thing, I was on my way to meet a handful of former co-workers, friends from the distant past and the distant land. It was a mini reunion of sorts.
Brunch happened a distant 50-something blocks north of the Philippine festivities. The fare was Italian but the talk was nostalgically Filipino, with familiar gossip replayed over again since past reunions. The get-together was both endearing and reassuring.
Endearing, because I missed my friends and the good old times when we were all together. Good, fun-loving, genuine people!
Reassuring, because the gathering took me to pause and reflect on my personal journey towards my own independence as an individual. Not just from the past, but from the bland molds of expectations that my family, culture and religion have imposed on me over the years. Thank god, it doesn’t take 114 years to come out of such shackles.