Online Newsletter Nr. 210
Philippine Community

    feature article:

    Pinoys in the city of Berlin

Friends Can Be Family Too!
When you’re 6,127 miles away from
your family and it’s your birthday,
the best way to celebrate is with friends.

Filipinos living in Berlin left their home country for various reasons – work, higher education, love, search for greener pasture, or sometimes just for adventure. Thanks to the internet, it is now easy to get in touch with our families back in the Philippines. However, video calls are still incapable of transmitting the warm touch and loving embraces.

To get the warm hugs we long for, one of the best ways is to have friends in the new city we live in. Those who have relatives in the same city, such as those who are married to local residents, are fortunate to have their spouses and in laws near them. The rest of us will first have to create a network of friends.

Luckily for Filipinos, it is not difficult to find fellow countrymen in a foreign land. Where there is a Catholic church with English services, there will be Pinoys. Here in Berlin, there are also groups of Filipino students and professionals, like the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) Germany, e.V., a non-profit organization for UP alumni residing in Germany. Meanwhile, in Facebook, there is also the Filipino Students, Alumni and Academics in Germany (FSAAG), which is an online venue that link Filipino students, alumni and academics. Here, members exchange with each other information, perspectives and experiences about living in Germany. And they foster friendship among each other by organizing potluck parties!

A Boodle Fight Or A Surprise Birthday Party?
In 2014, I hosted a ‘boodle fight’ which was a lot of fun so
I wanted to plan another one this year. In the Filipino culture, a boodle fight is a military style of eating meals. With no cutleries and plates used, food is served and eaten on banana leaves lined on top of the tables. Eating with hands is fun and the boodle fight party is always a great way to meet the new faces in Berlin. However, this time, the chosen date turned out to be the Saturday following the birthday of a very good friend and kumare, Mylah ‘Myls’ Rubio. So I thought it would be a great idea to give her a surprise birthday party instead.

Thanks to another good friend, Kevin Orteza, we were able to secure the Pfarrsaal, the parish hall, at the last minute. When Jomar, Myls’ better half, agreed to bring a lechon, it signaled a big celebration! For this potluck, many friends showed up with their generous home-cooked and self-baked contributions. After the feast, there was a makeshift videoke, where the couple thanked everyone through a rendering of fantastic songs.

Berlinoy Myls Rubio flanked by cakes & friends.

Myls blews birthday cake candles.

New Beginnings, New Memories, New Home
Spring is the season when leafless trees begin to flower and grow new leaves again, like the beginning of a new chapter in their existence. Like two of our friends who recently found new apartments. To start off these new beginnings, they decided to celebrate with friends through housewarming parties.

After the Holy Week, Krisanta “KC” Caguioa-Mönnich, who found her first apartment in the heart of Wilmersdorf, opened her doors to her friends with a house blessing. The highlight of her flat is a balcony that catches the sunrise. This would be a great inspiration for new paintings. As a matter of fact, she has already created some shortly after moving in. This could result in a future exhibition hosted by Talento, a group KC cofounded that showcases the works and talents of Filipino artists and hobbyists who are mostly based in Berlin.
Berlinoy KC and her special cake.

A week after Kc’s party, Wil Josue, another Berlinoy, celebrated his birthday and his acquisition of a new flat. One of Wil’s blessings in the past year was being hired as a teacher at the Akademie Seehof GmbH, where he gives integrations courses and German lessons to refugees.

In both events, the start of a new chapter in Kc’s and Wil’s lives was celebrated with a feast of Filipino specialties brought by their Berlinoy friends. They were also showered with gifts that they could use in their new flat. Indeed, friends could become family too.