• 5 Little Things to Do to Make Balikbayans Feel Welcome in Your Home

    Planning and preparing is part of being a gracious host
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
5 Little Things to Do to Make Balikbayans Feel Welcome in Your Home
PHOTO BY DragonImages/iStock
  • It's 34 days before Christmas, but in the Philippines, the holiday season began the moment September 1 arrived! Shopping malls are playing Christmas songs, major thoroughfares in the city are all decked with festive lights, and big brands are holding a sale almost every weekend. It truly is the merriest season of all.

    Another reminder that the holidays are near is when our loved ones based abroad come home for a vacation. The long wait is almost impossible to bear when we know our Kuyas and Ates and their kids will spend Christmas with us. And of course, being Pinoy, it is during this time when our hospitality shines through the most — by welcoming them into our own home. The more, the merrier, after all!

    Ensure your guests will have a fun and comfortable stay at your home with these tips:

    1. Make your house "homey."
    Have fresh sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and extra cushions if you're hosting a family. They are probably tired and/or jetlagged from the trip, so a cozy place where they could catch up on sleep would be appreciated.


    1. Pillow blanket (a pillow that turns into a comforter when unzipped), P449.75, The SM Store; 2. Bedroom slippers, Muji; 3. Home Fragrance Winter Cedar aroma diffuser gift set, P399.75, The SM Store


    2. Anticipate their needs.

    Your guests will likely need some personal items, a local mobile number to use temporarily, the Wifi password, and help getting from one place to another—but may be too shy to ask. Stock up on toiletries, share your Wifi details, offer to buy them a SIM for their mobile phone or to book them an Uber ride if they need it.  

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    1. Minka bamboo toothbrush, P199.75, available at humanheartnature; 2. Human Nature Natural Feminine Wash (50 ml), P49.75, available at humanheartnature; 3. Naturals by Watsons Olive shampoo and Argan shampoo, available at Lazada; 4. Colgate Active Salt toothpaste, P105, available at Lazada; 5. Cherry mobile Flare S6 Lite (3GHz Quad-Core, 5” HD IPS Screen, 8MP Rear Camera and 5MP Front Camera, 8GB ROM, 1GB RAM, 3G ready, Dual SIM), P2,999. 

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    3. Plan your menu.
    Celebrations won't be complete without food, especially so for Pinoys. If you have guests staying over for a few days, look for recipes that are easy to make (or which require only a few steps, such as hotcake for breakfast) that may be shared by a large group. They need not be expensive, there just has to be enough for everyone to share. While you're at it, bring out the colorful plates and glasses too! 


    1. Maya Pancake & Baking Mix, available at Rustan's supermarket; 2. San Remo Macaroni Cheese Flavored Pasta & Sauce, P81.65, available at Rustan's Supermarket; 3. Gray plate, P39 at AllHome Appliances, and plate with floral design, P200, Dapitan Arcade; 4. LAV colored glasses, P89.75 each (6 pcs./set), available at The SM Store


    4. Keep the kids busy.

    While there may not be enough time for the adults' kwentuhan, the kids may easily get restless looking for things to do. Get a board game that accommodates multiple players, help them learn to play their favorite song on the guitar, or assign them to make a family video project of this holiday vacation which they can later upload on Youtube. 

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    1. Beware of the Dog game, P499.75, available at Toy Kingdom; 2. Twister board game; 3. Pie Face Showdown board game; 4. Monopoly Disney edition, P1,499.75, available at Toy Kingdom


    5. Give a thoughtful send-off gift.

    When vacation is over and your guests are headed back home, frame a favorite photo from your holiday with everyone in it, and wrap it as a gift. It's a precious keepsake of the special moments you spent together.


    Frames from P99.75 to 249.75, available at The SM Store

    Artwork by Phoebe Carrillo

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