Tag Archives: Community

Work Off On Holy Week

Background: The informant is a 59 year old woman. She was born in Pampanga, Philippines and moved to Los Angeles when she was 29 yearsold. The informant still frequently speaks to her family and occasionally visits her family in the Philippines. The informant grew up as Catholic in the Philippines, converting to evangelical Christianity during her time in Los Angeles. She was exposed to the tradition when living in the Philippines. 

Context: The context was during Easter, the informant brought up how he was raised. He seemed surprised at how it was different in America.


EM: For the Holy Week, you know Holy Week? It’s when Jesus, you know, suffered and died. We celebrate it for a week. Let’s say, you know, let’s say, for the whole week, there’s no work for the whole week. No class, no school, no work for the whole week.

Me: In the Philippines?

EM: In the Philippines. Not here. You know, all people work still, right? That’s what I remember: we don’t work. When I was there, still there, we don’t work the whole week, especially student, it was kind of like that.


Informant: She grew up with no work being normalized during Holy Week. When she came to America, it was extremely different from what she had previously experienced, and it took some adjusting to see everyone still working during the Holy Week.

Mine: It’s interesting to see how the same traditions are represented differently depending on the geographic location, revealing that, though the world is becoming more globalized due to the rise of the internet, there still remains a large amount of folklore tied to the physical location. In the Philippines, not working was considered the baseline expectation during the Holy week; in America, I have never heard of someone taking the Holy Week off work or other activities. Even Easter is not even afforded a three day weekend in most circumstances. The change in tradition is likely due to a different breakdown of religions in the two countries. In the Philippines, where the population is more homogenous, mostly everyone is going to be following the same faith. However, in America, pushing to have the Holy Week off work would reveal a government preference towards religion, leaving the choice to the individual. However, it could be seen as uncomfortable if nobody else is taking the time off work. Therefore, folklore can still be affected by social context, and extremely by who the group is made up with (is the group homogeneous or heterogeneous?) and where the physical location is.


Well… yung patintero, it’s a street game.  Compared to other games, parang unique siya, diba? Usually, sa streets talaga ‘yun ginagawa.  Typically the kids go out into the streets after the time called the siesta… that’s really how it was for us back then, kung pinalaki ka sa Pilipinas.  Pag uwi nila sa school, kakain sila, mag na-nap tapos maglalaro sila.  Talagang maingay sa kalsada tuwing afternoon.  

(Well, patintero, it’s a street game.  Compared to other games, it’s unique, right? It’s usually played in the streets.  Typically the kids go out into the streets after the time called the siesta… That’s really how it was for us back then, if you were raised in the Philippines.  When they get home from school, they’ll eat, take a nap, then play.  It truly is noisy in the streets in the afternoon.)

It’s not a seasonal game, they always play no matter the time of year.  You can say it’s a team game, because all of the children are like… in layers.  Gumagamit sila ng chalk sa street, and they assign who’s playing and those kids need to be able to go through the other layers of kids who are trying to tag them.  Your teammate has to try to confuse the other team so that you both can get through.  Nag tutulongan kayo na makarating yung grupo mo to the end of the barrier.  (You help each other so that your group can make it to the end of the barrier.)  Whoever gets tagged… becomes part of the layers of kids trying to tag everyone else.

I like the team aspect of it…  These kinds of games are best for entire communities where everyone lives close together in rural areas.  In places that are urbanized, the kids don’t really come out to play anymore.  Games like these are ways to make friends.  Kahit hindi kayo magkakilala, nagkakaroon kayo ng mga opportunity para maglaro… (Even though you don’t all know each other, you get an opportunity to play together).”

Background: The informant is describing a Filipino street game called “patintero,” where children form layers of kids who are “it” and the others try to bypass their barriers and avoid getting tagged together.  She used to play this game growing up, and it is one of the most popular traditional Filipino games.

Context: This piece was told to me in person, at the dinner table.  The game is only something I have heard of other kids such as the informant, playing.  I was raised in an urbanized part of the Philippines, so I never really got the chance to participate.

Many of my cousins grew up playing these games in their neighborhoods where all of the community’s families lived close together.  The nostalgia the informant had for the game is interesting, as they described the game as being more for communities that are rural and more collective-based.  Such communities in the Philippines are called baranggays, and the informant grew up in one such community.  These neighborhoods tend to have families living in very close quarters without much disposable income, which would seem like an undesirable way to live.  However, the informant’s view on it was that it promoted an easy way for the town’s children to get to know each other in an authentic space, differentiating from the isolated nature in which children (like me) in urbanized areas tend to be isolated from their peers beyond school.  The informant often describes life in a baranggay as simple and often difficult, but the small pockets of togetherness is what characterized their childhood.

For a film that centers around patintero, check this link!

Patintero: Ang Alamat ni Meng Patalo is a film that focuses on the protagonist’s desire to get better at the game.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf- Children Story

Main piece: 

“There was a boy who was a shepherd. The boy would get very bored watching the sheep all day, so he decided to yell out that there was a wolf amongst the sheep one day. All the villagers came in a hurry to find out that there was no wolf. The next day the shepherd boy did it again. And the villagers came running, only to find that once again there was no wolf. On the third day, the shepherd boy was watching the sheep, and a wolf came. The boy yelled out to the villagers, ‘there is a wolf! Help! there is a wolf!’ but this time no one believed him, and the wolf ate all of his sheep.”

Context and Analysis:

My informant is a 21-year-old female. I asked her to narrate to me a commonly known story she is familiar with. The informant narrated to me the story of the “Boy Who Cried, Wolf.” She claims this was a bedtime story told to her when she was a child. My informant believes the message of this story is that “if you lie people will catch on to it and then they will not believe anything you say ever, even if it is true.”

I agree with my informant’s interpretation of the story. The story of The Boy Who Cried wolf is often used to teach children about the dangers of lying. The story follows the plot of a boy playing around with the kindness of the village and the sense of community that made them reach out to help when the boy was in danger. Because of this when the boy was actually in danger, the villagers no longer believed him and did not come out to help. I think this story also emphasizes the fragility of community awareness and support. Most communities are known for caring for one another and wanting to help other members of that community, however, this bond takes work on both sides. Each member of the community must participate in making it strong. By tricking the village, the boy broke this bond and therefore he was excluded from the community. I think many times people take these communities for granted and do not put in what they are getting from it. This story does not just warn about the dangers of lying, but also about preserving the trust within a community.

I think the use of three is also important to note as it is a prominent number in storytelling. The boy cries out to the villagers three times. Having a trio creates a pattern making the story more memorable and emphasizes an idea. 

Naval Academy Wedding Tradition

Main Piece:

Informant: When a newly-married couple is walking out of the chapel for the first time they walk through two columns of Midshipmen holding their sabre’s up high. The lines are made up of members of the wedding party and officers in attendance. It’s four on each side of the two rows. The first two will lower their swords making like a gate. The married has to kiss in order for the each row to raise their swords and let them pass. When the couple gets to the last two Midshipmen with their swords lowered they kiss one more time. When they pass the last two one of the last two will slap the sword against the butt of the civilian spouse and say “Welcome to the Navy!”


Background: The informant is my brother. He is a senior at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He first learned of this tradition through first-hand experience at the wedding of one of his closest friends at the academy. This interview was recorded over the phone. I asked the informant if he could recall any specific military traditions he has witnessed through informal mediums.

Context: The sabre is given to Midshipmen when they reach first class rank (the college equivalent of a senior). It is a point of pride amongst first class officers and is treated with the utmost care. The sabre arch is done right after the wedding ceremony finishes as the bride and groom leave the chapel. It is a highly-respected tradition and is always performed with punctuality.

Analysis: For most military members, the job can quickly become your life. Although the informant is a student, I have witnessed his transition into a full-fledged officer within the short span of four years. He holds the values and culture in the highest regard, much like his peers. In his words, “When you join the Navy you are making a lifelong commitment”. Well, some would also consider marriage to be a lifelong commitment. As I have experienced first-hand, the spouses of servicemen and women become an equal part of the military community they married into. As such, the tradition of the sabre arch is symbolic of that relationship. The spouse of the officer is committing to joining the military community around them. In return, through the sabre arch, the military community is grants the spouse acceptance. The cry, “Welcome to the Navy”, is confirmation of that acceptance.

The Bayanihan Spirit

Pauline is an international student from the Philippines. She is studying Chemical Engineering in the United States, and she plans to return to the Philippines once she graduates and receives her B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Her hobbies are watching anime, eating delicious food, and taking naps.

Original Script

So there’s this custom from the olden times in the Philippines that’s called Bayanihan. So before like people used to live in like really small bamboo huts and when like people wanted to move because maybe like the ground is not fertile anymore and they wanted to go to another place like near the shore or something. Like instead of just leaving their home and building a new one, it’s like actually portable—there’s sticks at the bottom—and then like you can like carry your house and then just move it. So the concept of Bayanihan is all your neighbors are like going to help you carry the house.

Background Information about the Performance from the Informant

The informant learned about the Bayanihan spirit in elementary school. Her teacher wished to teach this value to her students because it is an integral part of Filipino culture and possesses heavy historical importance.

Context of the Performance

I interviewed the informant in a study room at Parkside IRC.

The Bayanihan is a Filipino custom that refers to the spirit of communal unity, collaborating and working together to achieve a particular goal. “Bayan” means “community, nation, or town,” while bayanihan means “being in a bayan.” This concept can be traced back to the tradition of rural areas in the Philippines, where the town’s people would lend a hand to a family who is relocating. The Bayanihan spirit demonstrates the Filipino value of helping one another, especially in times of need, without expecting anything in return.

My Thoughts about the Performance

I really admire this quality valued by the Filipinos. When I visited the Philippines with my family a few years ago, I noticed that the Bayanihan spirit is still very much alive. While I was in the rural areas, the locals went out of their way to welcome and help my family and me. I also saw a group of Filipino men help a family move their house to another location.