Umpukan is a Tagalog word used to describe people who have come together to socialize (naks, that’s my definition, hehe). I did a Bing search and found a Wikipedia article on Philippine Psychology that mentions umpukan and it’s role in our culture. Anyway, I mention this now because I’ve spent hours with my cousins and their kids in an umpukan outside our homes.

The kids in this compound don’t need reasons to spend time outdoors. Recently though, they installed a basketball ring in the driveway and the boys have played ball at all hours of the day (and night). Sadly though, it broke off on Saturday. For us adults (their Moms and Aunts), Ton’s garage sale and the arrival of Edward were good enough reasons. Edward was an old neighbor of ours, and also my cousin’s brother-in-law. He also does hair. So he’s here from the province, and on this particular visit he had the tools of his trade. So while others lined up to get a haircut and color, I stayed there to just hang. Thankfully, mahangin kahapon so it wasn’t too hot out. Sunday afternoon was pretty much the same. I had a shift from 2am until noon, and then Alfred and I went to Trinoma right after. Still, I felt good and okay to sit with my cousins exactly where we were the day before.

What do we do in such occasions? Nothing. Mostly, we just chat. There are no restrictions too on what we talk about. It’s a good opportunity to catch up on everyone, and to find out what’s been happening to everyone else. You know, stuff you won’t read in the news. hehe. We used to do that a lot, there was a time when we’d be outside every afternoon or even in the evenings seated in the mismatch pieces of log furniture (benches/tables made of hardwood) outside. An iteration of this gathering would be when we would actually be doing something apart from just chatting: making cards (my uncle used to be in the card export business), playing Bingo, or even tong-its.

I realize that I can’t hangout that way with everybody else. I mean, with some people it just isn’t enough, we have to be doing something. You know what I mean? Others don’t like spending their time doing, as they say, nothing. Take the boyfriend for example. Simply hanging out isn’t his thing, unless there are bottles of ice-cold beer involved.