(Courtesy of the Tarculas family)

It has become a yearly tradition. Alpha Phi Omega (Philippines) Greater Los Angeles or APOGLA, for as long as we can remember, have been celebrating the 4th of July at the posh Moreno Valley residence of Bro. Lito and Sis Josie Tarculas, along with their close-knit family – Jan, Janine and Reyno. As usual, a few of the early birds arrive a day early, to help the hosts get ready for a jubilant crowd.

And true enough, at day break on July 4, people start arriving to savor the inimitable hospitality of the sweet couple, who opened up their home to welcome brothers and sisters and their families to not only a celebration of our Independence, but to also share special recipes from the guests that can jolt the taste buds. These include the usual lechon (roast pig), balut (ducks’ eggs), chicharon (fried pork rind), pancit (rice noodles), pinakbet (mixed vegetables cooked in shrimp paste).  There were some Mediterranean delicacies, including hommus, kabobs and korovatz (grilled chicken and pork marinated in a special Mediterranean sauce). Some manned the grill with fish, chicken and pork in abundance.

Besides the good food, there was music and the table games of Mahjong (a game of Chinese styles) and Hold-Em Poker. This year, we were joined in the merriment by the husband and wife team of Bro. Alex and Sis. Irma Almazan, the former president of APO-Hollywood.

The highlight of the evening was the fireworks display which lit up the night sky with resplendent colors. Right after the fireworks, it was back again to the fellowship until the wee hours of the morning, proving yet again that APOGLA’s commitment to the cardinal principle of Friendship is practiced not only in word by in deed. Happy 4th of July!