Omengat (A Celebration of Motherhood)

Since I’ve been here in Palau, I’ve noticed that the two most celebrated events are birth and death. Being the firstborn in our family, I love the fact that a big celebration is in place when a woman becomes a mother for the first time.

A few months after giving birth, the first-time mom is pampered. With pampered, I mean, no taking baths but just slathered with Palauan oil for three days. This oil has a very nice effect on the skin. Palauans say it even reduces stretchmarks from child-bearing! If I remember it right, the number of days of pampering would depend on the clan’s tradition. She is served by her clan members during these days.

After the required days, she is beautified by the clan’s queen. She wears their clan necklace, and her family and the husband’s family meet and agree on “stuff.” I had no idea what those are. During this meeting of families is the Omengat where the clans gather and party. Food and music and booze abound. And boy, do Palauans love to party!

When the families have agreed, the new mom is presented to the crowd in their traditional attire. I thought brides were pretty but seeing a new mom in this occasion, I am now torn who is prettier! The mom dances and members of the family come and dance with her in a certain sequence. I am amazed that they have a song for each family.

Motherhood is already special in itself, it has been made even more special by a “welcome party” to the “mothers’ club.”

family members

check out the party people!

yes, they give moolah to the performer every song number

party party!!!

a bit out of focus due to limited space but i love the details on the grass skirt!


in this occasion the brand new mom is the queen!

everyone is busy attending to her

finishing touches

the beautiful mother

To my Palauan friends, please feel free to correct me if I gave out any wrong details.



If only I stuck to the things I knew
And haven’t explored the things around
If only I was better in following the rules
Than bending them to see how far they can bend before they break
If only I am the person people think I am
Then I would have gone farther than where I am now
If only I could be happy being in the norm
I would not have to find ways to make my own problems to solve
If only I was not too shallow before
Judging everything based on what I see
If only, if only….
There would have been a better me.