June 21, 2024

Filipinos are recognized for having strong and close family ties. It is one of our values that make us unique and admired by other nationalities. We give much importance to our families and relatives.
Mostly, a clan or family reunion is held annually in April and May. This is a special occasion for family or clan members as it is a time for them to get to know each other better. During reunions, members update their relatives about achievements and other matters.
Some, however, are hesitant to attend family or clan reunions. It is because of insecurities and lack of confidence. They are shy of their low economic status and educational attainment. This mentality must change. Poverty is not a big deal that should hinder us from mingling with our relatives.
We must remember that the main purpose of family or clan reunions is to nurture and intensify family kinship. Hence, everybody is welcome regardless of economic status and educational background. The sincerity and goodness of one’s hearts matters most. It is not an issue if you are poor. People do not attend reunions to brag about their wealth, high educational attainment, and rank or position. The ultimate reason of your presence is to meet and be with your relatives.
Recently, I joined a grand clan reunion. It was my first time to attend because of negative impressions. I thought the event is only for our relatives who are wealthy and with high positions or ranks. However, my mind completely changed. I noticed during our reunion that everyone has a story to tell regardless of their status in life. Moreover, each of us have different important role that makes us significant in the society.
My heart was overwhelmed with gladness to see my relatives. At least, I have seen their faces even if I was not able to talk to all of them.
Attending family or clan reunions is not only an avenue for socialization. It is also an opportunity for values formation and enhancement. One of our elders and founders of our clan told us that we must always manifest generosity, empathy, and sympathy. We should be sensitive to our relatives who are badly in need of assistance, particularly in times of adversity and sickness. As members, it is our responsibility to see the welfare of everyone. He emphasized that “the real essence of our clan reunions is the support and care we can bestow wholeheartedly to our relatives.”
He is right. We can always help even in our little ways. Our presence during their difficult times has a great impact to them. It will be their source of strength and hope to hold on for they will not feel empty and alone in their battles.
African-American entrepreneur and educator Suzanne V. Holloman and mother, Dr. Ione D. Vargus, enumerated some goals of family reunions. These are to impart values; emphasize education through collecting donations to create scholarship; and raise money for charitable causes intended for the benefits of the less fortunate family members.
Family or clan reunions also aim to sustain and promote cultures, traditions, beliefs and practices. I observed this during our recent clan reunion. For instance, butchering of pigs is considered as a sacred ritual. This is to bring good luck to our clan and serve as offering to honor our departed ancestors.
We are entertained by the members who performed the “bendian”. Traditional songs and the poem “Badiw” also amused us.
Our cultures and traditions are part of our life. They make us complete and original. Thus, we must be proud and continue performing them.
Binnadang was also witnessed during our recent clan reunion. It is an Igorot culture that intends to fortify cooperation, teamwork, and unity among the members. Some of our relatives gave their donations for our beverages and foods. Others offered their voluntary services such as cooking, fixing, and cleaning the venue.
Let us therefore continuously hold family or clan reunions. This will make us well-rounded citizens and heighten our nationalism. As a result, we can be blessings not only to our relatives but to others.