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Finding ‘ninong’




Godchildren have until 6 January 2020, the official end of the Christmas season in the Philippines, to find their godparents to get their aguinaldo or a red envelope containing money. For ninong and ninang, the date is also the last day of hiding from inaanak to avoid extra expense.

While getting lost is the usual practice of godparents, social media offers other subtler options for eluding godchildren during the holidays, especially if they are too many that the ampaw giver can’t remember all their names. An example is giving the challenge of answering trivia questions as suggested by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

If the godchild can answer the easiest question, “What is the name of this 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist on climate change?” he or she gets the lowest cash prize of P20.

To get P50, the godchild must answer the question, “If SDG 13 focuses on climate actions, SDG 15 is for?” To get P100, the godchild must give the English name of the animal locally known as “balintong,” which is endemic to Palawan Province. If one can give the three elements of sustainable development, he or she gets P200. For P500, one must give four examples of single-use plastic.

To get the highest denomination of peso, one must give five examples of environmental laws.

Of course, scare tactic is simpler. One viral meme that netizen ninongs can try is the one showing “bulalo” bones stuffed into a pair of shoes and dogs sniffing them, accompanied by the warning addressed to the inaanak: “I bought new dogs that are so menacing that they ate a child. Don’t come to our house because they don’t have leashes yet. I ordered from Shopee but it will be delivered next month.”

A godfather from Taguig City scared away his visiting inaanak by mimicking barking dogs. The video of the kids running away from their ninong’s door is going viral, though he later told his godchildren that it was only a prank and he still gave them their red envelopes.

There are godchildren whom godparents cannot really hide from and from which other evasion tactics won’t work. They are the adult godchildren who still insist on getting aguinaldo.

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