World’s longest Raya ‘open house’


BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro

Hosting ‘open houses’ for visiting relatives, neighbors and friends during Brunei’s month-long Hari Raya Aidilfitri strengthens ties.

Muslims pray at mosques to celebrate Hari Raya upon Ramadan fasting month’s end and welcome Shawal’s arrival on a four-day long weekend from Friday, May 14.

People give thanks for the blessings of peace, prosperity, and happiness on Hari Raya, a time for family life, feasting and shopping. Elders and those in the afterlife are remembered. Wrongs are forgotten and forgiven. Charity flows from people’s hearts.

“Hari Raya is the time when our Bruneian friends open their homes and hearts and families come and share the celebration. We come to meet other family members and relatives and bring them the greetings of our country’s President, the appreciation of the Filipinos and reiterate our gratitude to the host country,” says first woman Philippine Ambassador to Brunei Virginia H. Benavidez.

Ambassador Christopher Montero leads Philippine Embassy Raya guests at Siti Noraizah Borja aka Andy Latif’s Penanjong Mansion beach house in Tutong.

Montero also congratulates Maria Regina Malabayabas-Vallejos, 2021 Bagong Bayani Award recipient from Brunei.

Filipinos married to Bruneians serve guests Philippine dishes along with melting tenderness of Hj Aziz Latif’s beef rendang (spiced coconut beef chunks in coconut milk); lontong (rice rolls wrapped in banana leaves); ketupat (rice dumplings) satay (skew-ered tiny bits of marinated beef or chicken),and nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk), sambal (chilli sauce with pounded fermented shrimp paste or belacan), boiled egg, anchovies with toasted peanuts, and ayam goreng (fried chicken) and garnished with keropok (fried shrimp crackers).

Hari Raya’s first day has always been Anyati Abdullah Orcullo’s year’s biggest feast. Step-great-greatgrandson Adam gives a 10/10 to Legacy Brownies “Datuk” Anyati serves with her home-cooked dishes on the long dining table fit for her three-generation extended family.

Pangasinan’s Fauzanah Abdullah aka Dominadora Soriano, serves yam, durian. cheese, carrot, chocolate mud, banana, mango-cheese and red velvet cakes for her Raya open house and youngest son’s wedding.

Maranao and Yakan communities in Brunei celebrate with hosts Philippine Embassy finance officer Mr. and Mrs. Aman Dimaporo, OWWA Welfare Officer Anuar Ali Am-pang and Assistance To Nationals personnel Dato Seri Noor Paraman, wearing white, ankle-length juba garment, with matching kuffiyeh headscarf.

Datin Mariani serves laksa, a Chinese-Malay (Perenakan) noodle soup rich in less spicy coconut gravy.

In Brunei’s Diplomatic Enclave, next door to Philippine Embassy, hundreds of Indonesians pray at Indonesian Embassy complex following temperature checks and QR codes scanning.

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, who traditionally hosts a three-day Istana Nurul Iman open house for local and foreign visitors to convey Hari Raya greetings to royal family members, says “prioritize safety and celebrate in moderation during the pandemic.”

COVID19 pandemic closed Istana’s open house for the second year.Eased restrictions this year allow “moderate” open houses in homes or private halls following health guidelines.

For over a year, no locally transmitted COVID19 cases have been reported in Brunei with 232 cases.

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