In preparing for this dinner, I realized there is not really a Filipino word for cheers. To be sure, I did what any immigrant with homeland language or culture questions might do – I called my mom.
When I posed the question to her, she agreed there wasn’t quite a word for cheers in Tagalog or Kapampangan, my family’s dialect, but she seemed unsatisfied. The word she mulled over but couldn’t quite place was tagay.
‘Tagay… tagay…’ she mumbled. 'Well, I’m not that much of a drinker.’
Despite her bold-faced lie, she did drop me a line with tagay. In my search, I came across the blog of Gideon Lasco, who wrote a wonderful article (with citations, no less. The scientist in me swoons) on tagay and the absence of the word 'cheers’ from the Filipino lexicon. To quote:
We do not say “cheers” because in our drinking culture, we do not raise our glasses and join them together, as Europeans do. This is because when we drink, there is only one glass. Thus, while we do bring our glasses together, we are joined in one glass… drinking with just one cup, signifying and substantiating the ties that bind us together.
Lasco’s words really hit home as I consider the restaurant we’re opening, a manifestation of 'the ties that bind us together’ – how all the time I’ve spent in Boston and many of the incredible people I’ve met in my journey thus far have helped shape this vision these past few years.
Among them, Cayla and the crew at Lamplighter have been great hosts and partners in the Boston area for what we do and where we’re going. I’m grateful to collaborate with them on our next event, Cheers. Their beer, as you may already know, is delicious; and we’re excited to have the help of Liz - their bartender and certified cicerone - in helping imagine what beers play as well with our food as San Miguel and Red Horse.
Of course, we’ll do our best to keep bottles of both well-stocked when we arrive in Union Square.