Life So Mundane in Batangas
Showing posts with label PhilHis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PhilHis. Show all posts

22 August 2016

The Practice of Sending Convicted Criminals as Soldiers to Spanish Colonial Philippines
Image credit:

“While this ship was on the point of departure, one of two ships which your viceroy Don Martin Enrriquez1 despatched from Nueva España (Mexico) arrived here, on the fifth of the present month. Through these ships he sends one hundred and fifty soldiers, some married men, and three Augustinian religious.2


The American President Given Flying Lessons by the Philippine Air Force

Image credit:  Filipinas Heritage Library.  Eisenhower with PACC pilot trainees.

Or more accurately, by its predecessor, the Philippine Army Air Corps or the PAAC.

Early in 1935, Brig. General Basilio Valdez, the newly appointed Commanding General of the Philippine Constabulary, announced his intention to create a group that would be able to provide air reconnaissance support to the constabulary’s peace and order missions. This group was given the name Philippine Constabulary Air Corps or PCAC.


22 January 2015

Bagito and the Sexuality of the Filipino Youth

Image credit:  Wikipedia.
Question: How do you call a teenage male who has already fathered a son?

Answer: a Younghusband.

That was supposed to be a joke; albeit, the joke failed to specify if the Younghusband is Phil or James. Go squirm. The joke, by the way, was something I heard from one of the young men I play football with every weekend, triggered as it was by a brief discussion – of all things – of the ABS-CBN early evening series called ‘Bagito.’


02 January 2015

Maragtas Story, Code of Kalantiaw et al. – ‘History’ That Never Was

Image Credit:  The News Today
If you are anywhere near my age, then you will have none-too-fond memories of having to memorise for an exam the story of the ten Malay Datus from Borneo who were supposed to have settled the Philippine Islands.


16 September 2014

Ilonggo, Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a from a Batangueño’s Point of View

Graphic saved from Google Earth.
Due to my continuing fascination with the Batangueño dialect, I have been doing some readings on Philippine languages over the Internet. My current readings have taken me momentarily away from the subject I have been attempting to research. However, I am also starting to better understand things that were only vaguely familiar to me in the past.

Before we go any further, allow me to clarify this myth perpetuated by Social Science books and taught to elementary and high school students all around the country. That is, that the Philippines has Filipino and English as national languages and a great number of dialects spoken around the country.

These so-called dialects, in fact, are recognised by linguistic experts as distinct languages, something that my former boss, the late Br. Rafael Donato, loved to point out. The erroneous use of the word dialect in lieu of languages apparently began during the American occupation and was perpetuated by writers of local textbooks.


10 September 2014

The Mystery of the Filipino Ailment Called ‘Pasma’

A man suspects his wife of having an affair; so he hires a private detective to follow her. In no time at all, the detective confirms that the man’s wife is, indeed, carrying on an illicit affair with a good-looking younger man.

Rather than confront his wife, the man decides to hatch a plan. He will catch his wife in the act with the other man and put an end to the affair with his shotgun.

One day he follows his wife to a motel where she is to meet her lover. Sure that they have checked in, he leaves his car with his shotgun and follows them to their room. He is about to open the door to the room when he has a brainstorm.


28 January 2014

The Fishbone and the Magical Hand of the Suhî

Enjoying your breakfast of fried eggs, fried rice and hawot when, all of a sudden, you feel something stuck down your throat? Chances are that the pointed end of a teeny-weeny bit of hawot bone lodged itself in your throat and is causing your discomfort.

In the old days and a worst-case scenario of you having to go to the doctor to have the bone tweezed out, well you did not – repeat, NOT – tell the doctor that it was a piece of hawot bone the he would have to extricate from your throat.

You lifted your nose and sniffed in a brisk dose of air as was the proper way of the snob; and told the doctor that the bone belonged to at least a bit of galunggong or tulingan. Biyâ if you wanted to push your luck.


27 December 2013

Pagpag and Other Superstitions Surrounding Death

I spoke to a cousin before Christmas; and the pancit lomi that we were served was from a neighbourhood lomi house, she told me. They had just come from the funeral of another cousin; and the visit to the lomi house before going home, my cousin continued, was their version of pagpag.

“Oh you only heard of that from the movie,” I teased her. That will be the Daniel Padilla-Kathryn Bernardo top-billed movie for the Metro Manila Film Festival, shown in cinemas around the country for the week starting Christmas Day.

Pagpag is a Filipino superstition – or so the movie promo itself explained – which says that one should not go straight home from visiting a wake or a funeral; else one risks attracting evil spirits back to one’s home. The way I understand it, one has to go somewhere else to shake off the bad luck; and the act of shaking it off, I guess, is why the superstition – and the movie – is called pagpag.


12 July 2013

The Sibat Jeepney Phenomenon

Sibat: in the strictest sense, a spear; a long, slim and hand-held projectile made of wood or metal that is hurled through the air in combat as a weapon. It is also something that our forebears used to hunt and slay animals with.

In contemporary Tagalog slang, the word is used as a verb meaning ‘to leave.’ For instance, ‘Sibat na ako’ is ‘I’m leaving.’ Lost over time is the context of the original meaning of the slang, which used to be to leave ‘with alacrity’ or ‘to go quickly.’

For instance, ‘Sibat na at bakâ mahuli ka pa.’ Go quickly or you might get caught.


11 April 2013

Pakakak Campaigning

Methinks, those not from these parts will be more familiar with the word trompa, this crude loudspeaker that is easily mountable onto any moving vehicle and is, therefore, one of the advertising methods favored by those who cannot afford to get their faces into television during the infernal campaign season.

The problem with the way people do things – and not just in campaigning – is that it is always immeasurably more convenient to do things as they have been done traditionally. Thinking outside the box, that is something not many people are prepared to do.

This pakakak campaigning just happens to be one of those things that politicians and their campaign managers resort to for no other reason than it has been the way it has always been done. Has anyone of them even started to wonder about the efficacy of the method, if at all?


12 September 2012

The Ikî and the Tiyanak

I am amused now when I think about the things that we as kids were told to make us go to sleep; or stories we told to scare each other because that was just what kids did. It was not amusing then, that much I can say; and if the intention was to make us go to sleep, I can attest to the fact that the result was totally the contrary.

How many kids of the present day have heard of the ikî and the tiyanak? The two just do not go with the modern ambience; but in the era from where I come, these two were certifiable blockbusters in the fright department. Then, the nights were darker and quieter; and the things that inexplicably squeaked or creaked at night seemed so much louder.


02 September 2012

Flip-Flops: Tsinelas with Glamor

A couple of years back, a friend wanted to know what size my feet are because he wanted to buy me a pair of Havaianas as an expression of gratitude. I was right properly horrified and refused to give it. Call it Havaianas, call it flip-flops; where I’m coming from, there’s only one name for it: tsinelas! More accurately, sipit!

To my mind, the words thousand pesos and sipit do not connect! God Almighty! I even once had to ask somebody what flip-flops were, so alien was the term for me. And I am reasonably certain that my command of the Queen’s language is more than adequate…


20 February 2012

Filipino Time: Personality or Cultural Trait?

Who, in this country, has not experienced having to sit on a bus station bench playing a game on the cellular phone because there is still no sight of a companion who was supposed to have arrived half an hour before? Or arriving early for a concert only to be told that it will not start until another hour after the time printed on the ticket? Or meeting up with group mates and unable to accomplish anything because the classmate who has the thesis files in a USB drive is still asleep?


08 October 2011

Tabi-tabi Pô and the Nunô sa Punsô

Because I am Filipino, I cannot – to this day – take a pee beside a mound of earth, a thick old tree trunk, some leftover grub or even just tall reeds without uttering – under my breath just in case somebody is within hearing distance and think I am being silly – the obligatory “tabi-tabi pô!” To foreigners who may happen to stumble upon this article, we Filipinos likewise believe in washrooms; but sometimes, when there is none in the immediate vicinity, we have no qualms – I mean the men, generally – about finding somewhere – anywhere – convenient. We do modestly turn our backs to people.


20 September 2011

Mindanao Sex Strike

Are we not the nation, after all, which invented People Power? Is there any nation in the whole wide world that is better than ours when it comes to finding innovative solutions to pesky problems?


02 September 2011

Bucking the Stereotype of Filipinos as Chameleons, These Batangueños in Vienna

The common stereotype of the Filipino immigrant is, like chameleons, to blend right into the background in their adopted countries.

In the nineties, there used to play under me this young boy who was born and raised in Vienna, Austria. He belongs to a Batangueño family that, at the time, decided that it was best for this boy along with his two brothers to return to and live in the homeland with their father. The boys’ mother, a nurse, stayed behind to continue working in Vienna.


30 August 2011

Nestor’s Engkanto

His name is Nestor. That was what the news reporter saw fit to call him in her offbeat item in yesterday’s late afternoon regional news show.


27 April 2011

Get Up! Get Up!

The following story may strike you as something that I made up completely just to drive home a point. It is not. I swear this incident really happened.

The story occurred when I was still in college; and as with everything else, many of the details have become hazy with time. I remember enough of the incident – anyway – to be able to tell the story here.


21 February 2011

Filipinos and Our Superstitions

I was walking towards the side gate early this evening after training when I caught sight of one of two stray black cats that for some reason have made their home right inside the campus. I am an educated man; yet, in many ways, education has not rid me of certain superstitions, many of which I neither fully understand nor can explain.


14 February 2011

Kuya, Ate and Different Ways to Stop a Jeepney

“Sa harap pô ng owner,” the young man in front of me in the jeepney just this evening said to the driver. “Para pô kuya…”

Am I missing something? I would have said, “Mamâ, para!” Not kuya




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