May is the most festive month of the year for Filipinos. From Sarrat, Ilocos Norte to Pinamungajan, Cebu to Tubigon, Bohol and many other places in between, fiestas mark the return of townsfolk who have fanned out to distant shores but remain tethered to their hometowns emotionally. It's the time for family reunions, all-out food fests in various homes, mini-circuses, freak shows, processions and the awaited town dance at the plaza where a beauty queen's coronation usually caps the evening's festivities. 

Here in the U.S., May is a mixed-bag of commemorations that honors mothers, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, senior citizens, Mexicans, Haitians, Jewish and awareness of various health issues including mental health and lupus. So wherever you are, whatever your station in life, there's always reason to celebrate May because, above anything else, it's the month of sunny weather and glorious flowers.

We start off this month with a variety of delightful reads:

A challenging but ultimately satisfying trip to Mt. Pinatubo where first-time contributor, Dr. Sonny Siasoco and his family trekked. It's not for the faint of heart as his photo essay, "Positively Pinatubo," illustrates.

What if you've been bequeathed millions and you lost it? That's what happened to Filipina caregiver Hadassah Peri (born Gicela Tejada Oloroso of Sapian, Capiz), and our regular Internet sleuth Myles Garcia dazzles us with details of her fortune that's tied up with the late millionaire heiress Huguette Clark. "Good Help is Hard to Find: The Improbable Story of Huguette and Hadassah" is a must-read.

And for boomers who refuse to grow old, our publisher Mona Lisa Yuchengco comes up with a list of "Sixties Shades of Gray" that will have senior citizens and soon-to-be seniors laughing, if only the truth isn't so painful. 

The loss of a mother is a wound that never heals and Lisa Suguitan Melnick eloquently writes about it in "Out the Back Door." 

For those May gatherings, something familiar: Macaroni Chicken Salad with Pineapple from the recipe book of Elizabeth Ann Quirino, in The Happy Home Cook.

For our Video of the Week: Vina Lustado, a Filipino American architect who owns Sol Haus Design, a residential design firm, shows off her super-efficient and gorgeous 140-square-foot house in Ojai, California.

And my blog is on my personal May memories.

Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino