Comedy Relief: “Ginahasa,” ca. 1949

This is another story that Brother Andrew related repeatedly…

It was the late 1940s and he [ Macarito ] was about 9 years old…

His mother [ Lola Charing ] had taken him to a luncheon party at a beautiful estate south of Manila.  It was a splendid affair:  They were welcomed by the Don and the Dona and their large, uniformed household staff with orchid leis, cool drinks, assorted appetizers in impressive silver trays, along with a band playing Filipino music.  Macarito consumed everything with gusto.    All of them sat at an immense, Carrara marble topped dining table that could easily seat thirty people.  The table was elegantly set in the European manner with china, crystal, silver, and fine linen placemats and napkins.  Valets stood behind each of the thirty people.  Luncheon was an elaborate affair that began with soup, and proceeded to seafood, fowl, meat, salad, and then dessert.  The food was very good and was produced by the family’s chef who was trained by a Frenchman.   Everything was served in grand ceremonial style with white-gloved stewards and great porcelain tureens and platters on large silver trays with matching domed covers.  Macarito the fat little boy was very impressed!!!

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After lunch, the Don gathered the gentlemen in his elegant wood-paneled library, where he showed them his guns, hunting trophies, rare maps, and antique leatherbound books.  There they were served coffee, sweets, brandy, and cigars.  The Dona gathered the ladies in the airy veranda overlooking the gardens, where they were served coffee, tea, light desserts, and other sweets.  Macarito stayed with his mother, and bored as he was, he listened to the ladies’ desultory conversation…

Out of the blue, one of the ladies improbably and candidly related that she had been raped by her husband, and that is how he forcibly got her hand in marriage.  “Ay, hindi ko naman po ikinahihiya, ako po ay ginahasa ng asawa ko bago kami ikinasal…”  [ “Ay, I am not embarrassed to admit, I was raped by my husband before we were married…” ]  And because all the ladies belonged to “alta sociedad,” the only responses elicited by the unexpected revelation were polite bows and gestures of understanding and sympathy.  Eyebrows arched ever so slightly as they continued sipping their tea from fragile demitasse cups and fanning themselves.

Macarito had never heard the word “ginahasa” in his whole life.  He turned to his very conservative, scrupulous, and pious mother and asked:  “Mama, ano po yong ‘ginahasa’?!”  [ “Mama, what’s ‘ginahasa’?!” ] His mother stopped fanning herself, gave him a stern look, waved her index finger at him, and told him “Huwag kang manghimasok sa usapan ng mga matatanda!” [ “Don’t interfere in the conversation of elders!” ] Thinking that his mother had not understood him, he switched to the Capampangan dialect:  “Mama, nanu iya ytang ‘ginahasa’?!” [ “Mama, what’s ‘ginahasa’?!” ].  The ladies were amused with the fat little boy.   His irritated mother snapped:  “Sinabi cu na queca e ca maquialam ca reng pisasabian da reng matua!” [ “I told you not to interfere with the conversation of elders!” ].  Still wanting an answer, the persistent smart-aleck boy lapsed into English and practically screamed:  “Mama, what’s ‘ginahasa’???!!!” [ “Mama, what’s ‘ginahasa’???!!!” ].  The ladies became wide-eyed at the fat little boy and looked at each other.  His mother, terribly embarrassed, was already livid, and grinding her false teeth, took him aside and threatened:  “If you don’t stop this, I’m going to spank you!!!”

Macarito was absolutely thrilled to learn the new word “ginahasa,” which, young as he was, he already suspected of having some exciting, exotic, forbidden meaning … so he jumped around the veranda chanting and squealing:  “Ginahasa!  Ginahasa!  Ginahasa siya!!!”

Mother stood up from her pretty wrought iron seat [ think the wicked stepmother in Walt Disney’s “Cinderella” when she is about to lock Cinderella up ] …

Mother whacked him once!  Mother whacked him twice!!  Mother whacked him thrice!!!

He cried as his mother spanked the disobedience out of him in front of all the grand ladies.  He stopped his Indian dance for a while.  But then, in revenge, He began again, chanting and laughing… “Ginahasa!  Ginahasa!  Ginahasa siya!!!”

Mother looked upwards to heaven and flailed her arms.

Mother gave up on her spoiled brat!!!

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2 Comments

  1. Amy Franco Tizon said,

    December 14, 2006 at 6:33 am

    Almost fell out of my chair laughing!!! I was a silly kid and I bet I would have chanted with him and got the spanking too.

    My children recently met my nursing classmate last October for the first time. We graduated 20 years ago (shows my age) and haven’t see each other for 18 years. He’s bald now. I was shocked myself when I first saw him because it was the last thing I expected. Never the less, he’s still good looking and in good shape. Before my husband started the formal introductions to our kids, our youngest (Stephen) shouted, “Mommy your friend has no hair!”. So, I also know how Lola Charing felt.

  2. cousin paz said,

    November 27, 2006 at 4:20 am

    This is soooooooooo funny! I was laughing while reading it! This story reminds me of my nephew Justinne who, when he was 6 years old was shopping with my mom and the rest of the family at Rustan’s Shangri-La. My mom asked me where my brother Jun was and I simply said, “sa Men’s.” Justinne shouted at the top of his voice “Mens! Yuck! Gross!” and he kept repeating it. I had to cover his mouth in embarassment. Apparently, he thought it was the shortcut for a woman’s monthly period; “mens” being how my mother would refer to it.

    Anyway, you had a very precise and documented narration of how the food was prepared. I miss those days too when food was not served buffet-style. In the old house in Apalit, buffet was unheard of in the past. I think it was only in the late 1980s when help was scarce when we began serving food buffet style. I remember the old dining table during fiestas was prepared for batches of people. Each batch would patiently wait for their turn to lunch. It was also bad manners to leave the table when others had not finished their meal. I guess, times are different now…. But one thing remains – the food is always good and well prepared.


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