By Gel Santos Relos
What makes us "Filipino"? What is it about how we look, or speak or move, or about our mannerisms that make us different from other people? Read on and be surprised to find your self or someone you know in the scenarios illustrated below! Be amused by the comments of our kababayans as well, and then share your own recollections and insights by posting your comments at the footnote of this article. Feel free to come back anytime when you remember something that you want to share! Ano yung mga kilos at gawi ng isang tao na kapag nakita mo, masasabi mo sa sarili mo na, "Pinoy yun!"?
I remember the popular award-winning Philippine arts and culture television show that I co-hosted with APO Jim Paredes for ABS-CBN in the 90s entitled "Tatak Pilipino"--- one of the most popular segments in the show was our collection of features, bumpers and trivias of the things that make us "Pinoy na Pinoy". I found a similar compilation in a book given to me as a present by my cousin when we visited the Philippines. The title of the book is "You Know You're Filipino If...A Pinoy Primer" beautifully selected and edited by Neni Sta. Romana -Cruz, with funny illustration by Dindo Llana for Tahanan Books.
I wish to share a few of such recollections here just to keep us thinking, remembering, and laughing about our collective re-discovery of those special characteristics, behavior, and everything else that make us uniquely Pinoy! We, Filipinos, who are now based in the United States, Canada, Europe, or anywhere else in the world may have let go of some of these but when you read on, you will surely remember your past with amusement, hopefully laughing out loud! Hahahaha! Please feel free to share your own recollection about "What Makes Us Pinoy"---the lighter side ! This is going to be fun!
You know you are “Pinoy” if you have "tabo" in your bathroom (hahaha! kahit sa hotel, naghahanap tayo niyan!). You decorate your living room wall with your family's framed diplomas, plaques, pictures (family pride!). Your dining room has the picture or framed art of "The Last Supper" as well as the giant wooden kutsara at tinidor from Baguio (oh yes, kahit dito sa America, nakikita ko pa rin ito!).
You know you are Filipino if your middle name is your mother's surname! (dito sa US, yung second name ang middle name!). Almost all the baby boomers have “Maria” as their first name plus the name they go by, while the men are baptized with either “Jose” or “Jesus”, or for both, sunod sa kalendaryo! You have uncles, aunts, lolos, lolas named "Boy", "Baby", "Girlie"...(kahit senior citizens na sila!). You call the parents of your friends and your own parents' friends "Tito" or "Tita"(pati sa parents ng girlfriend o boyfriend) .
You are truly “Pinoy” if you eat with your hands while propping up you knee and having one foot is on the chair or bench where you are seated (lalo na kung sa dahon ng saging kumakain, o naghihimay ng isda o alimango!) , or if you eat your meal with large spoon with a fork and hardly uses knife! (akala tuloy ng ibang lahi, para tayong gutom na gutom o parang "pig" kumain) ; when you feel compelled to greet anyone who sees you eating and offer to share your food-- "Kain na" (kahit pang -isa lang yung pagkain mo)!; if you think a meal is not a meal--"bitin"---if there is no rice! (bagay ba naman ang tinapay sa kare kare o sa paksiw?--hello!!!).
You are certified “Pinoy” if the star of a handaan (feast) is the lechon and you can't wait to get the crunchy balat (skin). You like sweet spaghetti (may Filipino hotdog pa yun na manamis-namis din). You love "dirty" ice cream (Lalo na yung may buo-buong keso!). You eat the fish head con gusto including the eyes, leave the whole fish without any flesh left (sinisimot lahat, mahihiya ang pusa!). You crave for dinuguan or "chocolate pork stew" with puto . You love to sawsaw (dunk) the pan de sal in the coffee! You eat "balut", sarap na sarap sa paghigop ng sabaw, at pagkain ng dilaw at ng sisiw (which to foreigners is nothing but a disgusting gross duck's embryo) !
You are truly “Pinoy” if in a party or small gathering with food served for everybody, there is always one piece or morsel left on the serving plate--nobody wants to get that last piece for fear of being labelled as selfish, glutton, famished (patay gutom, suwapang, umubos ng pagkain).
You are so “Pinoy” if you wash and re-use disposable plastic spoons and forks, styrofoam cups, paper plates,etc (yung iba nga, kahit yung mga disposable wipes!), or you prefer to handwash instead of using the washing machine or the dishwasher (parang kulang daw sa linis pag di kinakamay!).
You are Filipino if you hang a rosary on your car's rear view mirror (God bless our trip). Your alalay helps you park your car as you are behind the wheel by pounding on your car in rhythmic motion, then end with a big thug to signal you to stop or you will bump the wall or another car! You drive where there is no space, even converting a two-lane street to a four-lane road! You know the rules of the road: In the event of an impasse, the driver to first achieve eye contact with the other driver has lost his nerve and must give in.
You are very “Pinoy” if you pray the rosary and novenas while hearing mass (talk about multi-tasking). You get together with family on All Saints' Day to eat, drink,and tell stories by your loved one's grave.You can crack jokes, play pusoy, mahjong, drink beer during funeral and not feel irreverent. Your typical viand on Fridays of the Lenten season is mongo with paksiw or fried fish, and sarciadong itlog or sardinas during Good Friday . You are truly Filipino if Christmas isn't Pasko without parol and belen!
You are so “Pinoy” if your second piece of luggage is a balikbayan box. You write your luggage tag/label with pentel pen on the packaging tape pasted on your luggage. You collect items from airlines, hotels, and restaurants as "souveneirs". You feel compelled to give "pasalubongs" to your friends and relatives every time you come from a trip. You write the names of the receiver of your pasalubong on masking tape wrapped around or attached on the gift item.
When shopping, you check the labels on clothes to see where they are made (pag made in the Philippines, binabalik!) .You can't resist buying items on sale even if you don't need them! You hoard everything---you even have the boxes of the gifts you got on your wedding day! You can't make a purchase without haggling or tawad !
You are so “Pinoy” when you point with your lips (nguso)! You greet one another by raising your eyebrows or tossing your head. You hold your palms together in front of you , duck a little, and say "excuse, excuse" when you pass in between people or in front of the TV. You scratch your head when you don't know the answer, or when caught in a situation when you can't say no but would have to do it anyway! You ask for the bill in a restaurant by making a rectangle in the air with your fingers. You cover your mouth when you laugh even if you are not "bungi" !
When you respond to "Hoy!" or "Pssst" in a crowd, you are so “Pinoy”! You say "CR" or "comfort room" when you refer to the toilet. You love to use ambiguous words like the "ano"to the kuwan" ni “ano”and yet be perfectly understood by other Pinoys! You think the cock says "tik-tilaok" instead of cock-a-doodle-do, the frog says "kokak" instead of ribbit, and the dog says "bawawaw" or "awawaw" instead of arf-arf !
You are always late--Filipino time..and you don't want to arrive first in a party (ayaw masabing atat na atat) .You can't say "no"--you would rather say "maybe" or "I'll try"...then come up with excuses not to be able to go . You beat around the bush --"paligoy-ligoy pa" or use a third party when conveying an unpleasant news or message---(ayaw mong makasakit ng damdamin!). You ask people you have just met about their spouse, where they work, how many children they have..(too personal, o yung iba kinukuwento agad yung drama ng buhay nila---TMI!).and "taga saan kayo sa atin" when abroad.
You are so Filipino when in the beach or in a picnic, you always prefer to sit in the shade than bask in the sun! (Ayaw umitim!) You are always wondering why the foreigners love to be under the sun, and you proudly conclude they want to be tanned just as you naturally are!
What do you remember about what makes us "Pinoy"? Please share them with us on this growing online collection and celebration of who we are! No excuses! No apologies (That will be subject of another story)! This is us, and we are proud to be Filipinos!
( PLEASE POST YOUR RECOLLECTIONS IN THE COMMENTS BOX OF THIS BLOG or go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com)
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Author is the anchor of ABS-CBN The Filipino Channel's “Balitang America”, Columnist of Asian Journal. Views and opinions expressed here by the author are the author's alone and do not hold both ABS-CBN and Asian Journal responsible .