Thursday, December 8, 2011

Crispy Aguinaldo sa Pasko

Food lovers who thought they'd find edible stuff here, I'm so sorry to disappoint you. Yeah, crispy frequently applies to something eaten. Even me, with the mention of crispy I think of the crunch, the crackle then a flood of great flavors. But this time, I'm using it for something else.

Don't go Emilio Aguinaldo, this isn't even about him at all. Well, at least not nowadays.

Crispy Aguinaldo is money. New, crisp and good smelling money that came from Ninongs and Ninangs. They come from the people who TRULY understand the Filipino children, not like the men and women who are trying hard to be like Americans giving gifts that aren't exactly what the kids want. For a lot of children, the gifts don't actually make a lot of sense. They're just happy to get something, and then they play. Sometimes with the gift, sometimes not. To many, it would seem, these Ninongs and Ninangs giving cash didn't put much effort into coming up with a gift, wrapping it nicely and giving it. To a Filipino kid, they may had given the best gift for Christmas. Let me tell you why.

I was a kid before. You were a kid before. Do you remember what you felt when you got a gift and it isn't something that you want? Something like you got a shirt, or shoes, or some kind of toy you haven't seen before. Not very pleasing. Now, what happens if someone gives you the capability to get yourself anything you want? Now it becomes more interesting.

From My Sari-sari store
With aguinaldo, kids can buy whatever they want. They see their playmates busy munching something, a trip to the sari-sari store with their "own" money and buying what their playmates eat is a huge moment for them. They see their playmates playing with some toys, a trip to the sari-sari store with their "own" money lets them be part of the group and play. And these are moments that empower kids in a small way.

There are also cons but apparently they are too minimal to be worried about and it happens only once a year. Besides, when kids get aguinaldo, a certain percentage goes to the parents, so you don't corrupt the kid with money completely. Think of it in a way that a kid gets taught how to handle finances in a small way. 

To those who are thinking why we call money received in Christmas aguinaldo, its not because of Emilio Aguinaldo or because his face was in a five peso bill years ago. It traces its roots back to the Spanish era. Aguinaldo is the Spanish word for bonus, and I bet you can fill up the other details with your imagination.

Children are having fun when they line up to receive their aguinaldo, and they're gonna have fun using it. The mileage is better. The memories are stronger. Sometimes the best gifts don't require too much effort at all. Sometimes, its as simple a trip to the bank and exchanging your money for smaller, crispier bills.