By: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda
Every April 29 to May 1 for five years now, the Ojeda Family congregate for our much- anticipated family reunion. I started this tradition in 2004. And since I am the unmarried one (and still have the means), with lots of ideas and time to plan the reunion, I am in-charge of planning the reunion every year. A daunting task? It doesn't have to be. I consider what everyone loves to do and what our main objective for the gathering.
Our objective in our first family reunion is to make new memories and establish tradition. After a few days of brainstorming, we chose to all head out to the LDS Manila Philippines Temple dressed in white top and black bottoms and have our Family picture taken at the temple annex and temple grounds. While at the temple, we talked about our goal of actually being sealed as a family if we are to become an eternal family. After the temple trip, we headed out to Kamayan (along Edsa) for a buffet lunch. We have such a great time that we look forward to this time of the year.
In choosing the date for the reunion, April and May emerged as the run~away options for two reasons: (1) it is summer time in the Philippines and kids are out of school and (2) April and May have long holiday weekends - which includes the lenten season, labor holiday and Bataan day. For sentimental flavor adding to the choice of reunion date, our family was baptized into the Church in April - April 11 (me and younger brothers), 19 (my oldest brother Mike and father) and 29 (my mother).
And most importantly April 29 is my father's birthday. So to be consistent and help everyone remember, our family reunion is held anytime from April 29 to May 1.
Because of the success of our first reunion, the following year becomes a grander affair and involves travelling and the family's favorite activity: swimming.
We also keep on the color theme for added effect.
This year, our reunion will be a three-part event all in April.
Part 1-Celebration of 22 years of Church Membership (April 10 to 12)
-Since the lenten season, our Church 22 years anniversary and conference broadcast fell on the same date, we decided to hold the family reunion on April 10 to 12. The idea is to have everyone come to my house on April 10 and have a family dinner and a game of Scrabble, the Ojeda family passion.
Then on April 11, we will all head out to the Camarin Stake Center to view the Saturday Sessions of the 179th LDS Conference. In the afternoon, the family will head out to our village swimming pool for a night swimming. Barbeques and favorite food will be prepared and eaten at the pool side.
On April 12, Easter Sunday, the kids will have their egg hunt. I'll be planting colorful plastic eggs in the backyard and let all the kids go hunting for them after a brief Easter Sunday lesson. At 9am to 2pm, we'll be at the Stake Center again for the Sunday sessions of the Conference broadcast. After that, we'll have our traditional Easter Sunday lunch.
Part II-Buffet Lunch in Shangrila-Hotel (April 24)
- The family dressed out in green and yellow attire will head out for an ultimate lunch buffet at the Edsa Shangrila. Yes, it is one of the most expensive buffets! And with 20 people all together, you might be thinking that we are spending a fortune here. But it is not really.
The 20 people consist of 9 adults, 4 children ages 7 to 12 and 11 ages 6 and below. Shangrila Buffet charges half the cost to children between 7 to 12 and free of charge for those 6 years old and below. So for the 11 kids, I'll only have to pay half the price each. As to the 9 adults, we have won a total of 8 gift certificates for the two entries we have in the Values Learned At the Dining Table Essay contest of Nissin Corporation. There are 6 winners and we got the two runners up slots. And for more bonding moments with family a gift certificate for 4 is the prize. The certificate can be used from December 2008 to April 2009 so we planned to use it for family reunion.
Part III-Birthday Accommodation at Richmonde Hotel for Papa and Mama
(April 29 to April 30)
-For a little bit of a change and to give time for my papa and mama to spend papa's birthday on their own, I have booked them for a day accommodation at the Richmonde Hotel. The Richmonde is located in San Miguel Avenue near the Shangrila hotel. It has a heated in-door swimming pool and a nice deluxe room for their rendesvous. The accommodation also gives them a buffet breakfast for two.