The daughter of Maximinio de los Reyes, a one-time provincial governor, was wearing a green straw hat and hawking her book on Philippine proverbs and riddles.
The fruits of her labor -- thin white paperbacks with white ribbon bookmarkers -- were stacked on a table, one of dozens that rimmed Freedom Plaza across from the District Building for the annual Philippine festival.
It was almost noon and it was hot, but Gloria R. Talastas, the 76-year-old governor's daughter, didn't mind. She had bad knees, she said, and cataracts, and still had come all the way from Woodbridge because she believes in preserving her cultural heritage.
Or as the book says: He who does not love his native tongue is worse than a beast or a smelly fish.
Talastas, a slight woman, sells by grabbing visitors by the arm and marshaling them here and then there. "Very colorful. Very colorful. See?" said Talastas, pointing to the tents and the balloons and the banners. And then, of course, she talks about her proverbs. This is one of her favorites:
He who does not look back to his origin will not reach his destination.
In many ways, that is what organizers of the festival, which began nine years ago and has grown since, wanted to accomplish. There are more than 80,000 Filipinos in the Washington region, and the festival yesterday is part of a week-long celebration commemorating the 92nd anniversary of the country's independence from Spain. It includes a family picnic at Tucker Road Park in Oxon Hill today and an open house at the Philippine Embassy Tuesday.
Several thousand were at Freedom Plaza, where vendors sold Filipino delicacies: escabeche, a fish and vegetable dish; adobo, a type of beef stew; lumpias, a thin egg roll; and dinuguan, which is pork. There was coconut juice and San Miguel beer and melon milk.
"This is a product of all the cohesiveness and the working together of all the Filipino organizations," said Ben Aceron, the chairman of the Philippine Independence Day Celebration committee, one of several Filipino American groups represented yesterday.
There is a large Filipino community in Prince George's County, and many were at the festival yesterday. Most of them are first-generation immigrants with strong ties to the Philippines, and the festival yesterday raised money for charities back home.
Talastas, for example, is from a small town in province of Bataan, where her father was governor. She was a teacher at the Philippine College of Commerce and immigrated to the United States in the mid-1970s.
Her book, which was collected with the help of her students, is her contribution to preserving her culture. It is important to maintain that identity, she said, because it "contributes to the richness of America."
It turns out there is a Filipino proverb for most occasions. There are the predictable wise saws: Anything that is good is never too late to offer.
And then there is the bizarre: There is nothing to do with a hunchback.