Last week, our friends came back after a short vacation in the Philippines. They gave us pasalubong: 2 boxes of Iya’s pastillas, a pack of Choc-Nut (my favorite chocolate), and a book entitled “You know you’re a FIlipino if…..”
By the way, feeling compelled to bring pasalubong to your family and friends every time you return from a trip, is definitely a Filipino trait.
I have read some tidbits and pieces of this “you know you’re a Filipino if…” in the past from the internet, but I was thrilled on reading the compilation of these in a book. (As if I don’t know what being a FIlipino is.) I like it so much I read the book in one sitting. In fact, I finished it in less than 15 minutes!
Here are some Filipino traits mentioned in the book that rings very true to me:
1. You have uncles and aunts named Boy, Girlie and Baby.
And for extra point, I even have an aunt named Nene.
2. You call your friends’ parents and your own parent’s friends Tito and Tita.
When we taught our kids to do the same, it confused them, as they really thought they were all relatives.
3. Your grandmother greets you by smelling your cheek.
Come to think of it, I also give my kids a “sniffing” kiss.
4. You shower at least once a day.
I thought all people do this. But as I found out, not all culture is compelled to take a shower everyday. Some do it only when it is their birthday!
5. You call a toilet “CR” as short for comfort room.
When I first arrived here in the US, I asked a stranger where is the comfort room and I got a blank look. They never call it that. They call them restrooms or bathrooms. Needless to say, it delayed easing my discomfort.
6. You keep a “tabo” in your bathroom.
Even when we are traveling and staying in a hotel, we use whatever makeshift container as tabo.
7. You eat with your hands.
Other cultures may view this as gross. But how can you eat tuyo with a fork?
8. You love to eat what others mistakenly refer to as “rotting fish.”
Our kids will pinch their nose when we are cooking fried fish, tuyo or danggit.
9. Your second piece of luggage is a balikbayan box.
But now that we are only allowed 50 pounds of luggage in an airplane, this makes it difficult to fill a balikbayan box.
10. You point with your lips.
This comes handy when someone ask you for direction and you are holding a bayong in one hand and an umbrella with the other.
11. You hold your palms together in front of you and say “Excuse, excuse” when you pass in between people or in front of the TV.
Why we do this, I really don’t know.
12. You respond to a “Hoy” or a “Pssst” in a crowd.
I try not to call someone by this anymore, but I would probably still turn around if somebody do this.
13. You use ambiguous words like “kwan” and “ano” and yet be perfectly understood by other Filipinos.
Ano ka nang ano, hindi ka naman inaano, pag ako na-kwan, aanuhin kita, ma-kwan ka diyan.
14. Your sneeze sounds like “A-ching” instead of “A-choo.”
Do you also wonder why our rooster says “tik-ti-laok” and not “cock-a-doodle-doo?”
15. Instead of “I beg you pardon” you say “Ha?”
Ha? Huh? Ha?