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On Being Chosen as Ninong or Ninang

Some social customs and traditions somehow affect the financial aspect of living especially among those who are living below the poverty line.

Well, let’s start with a bit of trivia. Do you know that the month of January was named after Janus, the god of gates and doorways hence; of openings and beginnings? It is the 11th month of the year in the ancient Roman calendar. In the 2nd century BC, however, it came to be regarded as the first month. Although the month of June is considered traditionally as the wedding month and February is regarded as love month, according to world statistics, most number of couples got married on the month of January. Amazing, isn’t it? Believe it or not, you better believe it, because I am convinced that this is true.

So January is not just the first month of the year, not just the month where most couples get married, but likewise it is also the time when most of us became penniless, (especially those people like me who belong to the middle or low class in the society) because of the numerous expenses we have incurred during the yuletide season.

And still, spending spree is not over yet, during this month here come successive invitation cards for wedding indicating that you’re one of the principal sponsors again, (and again, and again).

It was on this month (January) that I experienced to be a “ninong”(principal sponsor on a wedding) five times in a row within the month a couple of years back and it has just duplicated this year. And as a matter of fact, at this very young age of mine (I’m only in my late 30’s) I already have scores of “inaanak sa kasal”, most of it happened on the month of January,(aside from scores of “inaanak sa binyag”) because they have started getting or choosing me as wedding sponsor when I’m only in my early 20’s.

Most of us, if not all, in the teaching profession, are socially active beings. Agree or disagree? We are often invited on many occasions/gatherings such as birthdays, parties, fiestas, christenings, weddings among others, sometimes as guest, but more often as ninong or ninang. And, in so doing, it is a common practice or as always expected, to bring a present and extra money (depending on the occasion) for “pakimkim” and “sabit-sabit”, for sometimes ninongs/ninangs were asked to shoulder the payment of the sound system used on such occasion. Sounds funny but it does happen.

Whether we like it or not, teachers, I think, are the second most in demand, if not the number one (politician being the other, I guess) choice or target as ninong/ninang. And this I guess can be attributed to the fact that there are a hundreds of students each year who pass in our hands. Thus, when they decide to get married, their immediate and foremost prospects are we, their former teachers. Aside from these, teachers are easy to find and locate. Just go to the school during school days and booom…… there they are. And as their second parents during their school days, who can dare refuse such honor and gratitude to be chosen as ninong/ninang.

Likewise, as a common belief, one should be grateful when chosen as ninong/ninang, for out of the billion people in the world, you were chosen as one.

But we all knew for a fact, that “we” are receiving a minimal wage not even enough to support the basic needs of our family or not even sufficient to live a dignified life, so to speak. And despite the honor and prestige of being a chosen one, there lies the truth that this would mean additional burden on our pocket. This will sometime result to the shortage on our budget and would eventually force us to see ourselves once again in a long queue for transaction at GSIS, Pag-Ibig, banks, or any lending institution (whichever who can provide the needed amount) applying for renewal or another loan, just to comply or continue performing our unending moral, spiritual and social duty and obligations such as this.

Well, that’s just one of the many joys, glories and (sometime) the burdens of being a TEACHER.

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User Comments
  1. noli

    On March 8, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    i agree with you, especially in the in rural areas, if you have a permanent job like yours, people look up to you and see as a very dependable person.

  2. Percival King

    On March 10, 2008 at 5:35 am

    yes that’s right, as a teacher in the community you are obliged to attend on occasions like this because people are expecting too much from you… and attending would mean additional expenses, with the very small salary of teachers its a burden for them financially, i sympathized with you..

  3. Judy Sheldon

    On April 5, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    I sympathize. I am a parent and grandparent (21+) so I understand the “broken budget”. I have found solutions for gift giving for the many grandchildren, but your situation is a little more difficult, as it requires cash not creativity. I will pray that God will bless you with the ways and means. Perhaps your school could place a stipulation on teachers that they would not be allowed to give gifts?? Just brain storming.

  4. nobert soloria bermosa

    On April 5, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    thanks a lot Judy. Thanks a lot for your prayer…

    how i wish teachers here in my country be properly compensated…

  5. nobert soloria bermosa

    On April 23, 2008 at 9:40 am

    thanks a lot for your encouraging words Celeste.they are more than appreciated.

  6. Marn

    On September 29, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    i still can’t believe how everybody expects something from a ninang/ninong. most of all, i can’t believe i’m a ninang of some old high school friend without even knowing it. now, they expect gifts? i don’t like it a bit.

  7. MJPatrick

    On October 8, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    this is absolutely true. its quite burdensome but the joy of sharing what we’ve got is beyond compare.

  8. Melody SJAL

    On November 20, 2008 at 2:48 am

    Very true indeed. A number of my own wedding sponsors used to be my former teachers, ganyan talaga mostly sa province.

  9. goodselfme

    On November 22, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    a most informative write I would probably not have read anywhere else. Well done.

  10. pat regoniel

    On December 21, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Well Nobert, that means we really need to have additional income aside from what we get from our regular salary.

  11. nop_90

    On February 5, 2009 at 8:51 am

    I am a Canadian but live in LaUnion province. I have been ninong 2x and will be ninong again this month. Yes you are expected to give, but I think you mainly are asked because people look up to you. Often people ask me for advice etc.

    And many times when I have been in need, the support the people give me is amazing. Right now I am going through a really difficult time, and someone always drops by my house to make sure I am doing ok, gives me kind words of advice etc. If I was in Canada my situation would be much worse, but thanx to the people I am able to cope.

    Out of all the foreigners where I live, I am the poorest. But the people tell me I am the richest since I have the most friends. Literally for a while it looked like I might not have a place to live. People who had almost nothing offered to take me in their houses. Fortunately my situation seems to be improving so I have a place to live so do not worry :) .

    I think if you can not afford to give the gift they are asking. Just tell the people the truth. I am sorry I just can not afford it. But I am still willing to be ninong.

  12. ian

    On February 27, 2009 at 6:27 am

    I am a 62 year old married englishman, living in the UK. I was very interested to read your comments on being ninong
    i have a couple of chat rooms on a social network the rooms are used almost exclusively by filino. just chat nothing more sinister. two of the girls have had babies recently and have asked if i would do them the honour of being ninong to their babies. They do not want any financial contribution,just having an nglish person who they respect. i am often referred to as dada or lilo in the rooms.

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