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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Street Food Party

Your birthday is the only time of the year when you are allowed to party as heartily as you want to. It is the time of the year when everybody gives you a free pass and allows you to do anything just because it is YOUR day. Unfortunately, based on my observation, not many people throw parties to celebrate their birthdays anymore. Most people would rather buy their friends some alcohol, indulge in a drinking spree, and then call it a night. Usually this happens in the more popular watering holes in the city. And although hat is alright, it gets a little tired; it is definitely high time partyphiles switch it up and think of better ways to celebrate their birthdays.

Ok. Ok. I know what you are thinking. Throwing parties is just too much work and costs too much. That may be true, but to some extent, it is only as tasking as you let it be. And if you are wise, you would not allow the preparations for the party to get out of hand. All you need is a simple concept, a complete set of party elements, and you are good to go. So you can’t think of any new party concepts. That is where this article can help you. Here, I will teach you how to throw a party with a minimal budget, with minimal effort, and with maximum returns. Here is the theme: an inuman (drinking) party. Sounds blah? There are a couple of ways to make it exciting. Here’s how:

Remember, inuman (drinking) sessions are common in Filipino sari-sari stores (neighborhood stores) because they are very laid-back, convenient, and fun. Most Filipinos who enjoy drinking in little sari-sari stores do not even have music on when they drink. All these people need is conversation they enjoy, some alcohol, and some food that goes well with their alcohol of choice. Take your cues from this Filipino drinking habit and you are sure to throw a unique, fuss-free party. Now, here are the elements of the party:

Venue: All you need is an open space good for the number of guests you plan to invite (for this article, let’s say you are inviting 50 friends). You could throw the party in your house, or rent some place out. Remember, it does not have to be a glitzy or glamorous place. In fact, you can throw this party in a garage.

D├ęcor: All you need is little banderitas (little fiesta flags/banners attached to a string) to string across the ceiling. It gives the venue a very Filipino feel as well as some festive flair. Most of all, it does not cost much and is easy to set up. Total cost for this step: 300 pesos.

Drinks: Here is where you can really save up. All you need is some hard liquor. You know your friends much more than I do so you are the best person to estimate the number of alcoholic beverages to serve. However, I think that a one liter bottle of local rum would suffice for every 4 people. And because Filipinos love chasers, I suggest that you buy soft drinks to go with the rum. If you are on a really tight budget, use a mineral water dispenser and prepare about 5 gallons of mineral water. Beside the dispenser, lay out some sachets of powdered juice or iced tea for your friends to prepare themselves. Of course, you must also provide some pitchers. Costs for this step (with an estimated 50 guests): about 1200 pesos for 15 bottles of local rum ; about 400 pesos for 50 sachets of powdered juice; about 350 pesos for 5 gallons of water. Total cost for this step: 1950 pesos.

Food: Now, here is where it gets exciting. Most Filipino drinking sessions involve street food as the pulutan of choice. To make the party exciting and interactive, you may hire kwek-kwek vendors and ask them to take their cart into the venue of the party. You may also do this for fish ball vendors, or any other street food you fancy. What you can do to cut costs is to tell the vendors to prepare enough food for only a certain amount. For example, you can tell the fish ball vendor to prepare 500 pesos worth of Fish Ball. And we all know that is TOO MUCH fish ball; which is always a good thing, as parties are supposed to keep people full while drinking. Also, it may be a good idea to buy about 300 pesos worth of peanuts just to have something on the table. Total cost for 1000 pesos worth of Kwek-kwek, 500 pesos worth of Fish Ball, and 300 pesos worth of peanuts: 1800 pesos.

Music: This party element is probably the last thing you would have to worry about. For this type of party, conversation is preferred rather than music, but it would also be nice to have sopemthing upbeat playing in the background. If you want to go really Pinoy, play some Parokya ni Edgar, Rivermaya, or Eraserheads tracks. You may also play some chillaxing songs like One Look by Kjwan and songs from 311. Just play some really chill music from your ipod to some sort of speaker.

Those are all the elements you would need for a fuss-free inuman-style party. The total cost for the elements mentioned above is 4050 pesos for 50 people; although it would be wise for you to set aside 6000 pesos for unexpected expenses like extra pitchers and tissue paper. Again, the concept here is a no frills party. Your guests may come in shorts and tanks and may help themselves with the drinks. Ask them to open their own bottles of rum and make their own juice. Also ask them to approach the vendors and order as much as they want. The relaxed atmosphere and no-frills concept will not only allow your guests to enjoy a fuss-free night of boozing up but will actually allow you to let loose and enjoy the company of the people closest to you (instead of running around trying to everything because you have a formal/complicated theme). Use this theme as a template for future parties or follow this one to a tee. All I hope is for you to have fun and realize that parties are not supposed to be about the decors or the program but about having fun, creating crazy memories, enjoying stupid conversations, and soaking in the presence of your favorite people.