Thursday, October 12, 2006
Pinoy games. Pabitin, palosebo, basagan ng palayok. A few basic rules make individual cunning and persistence a premium, and guarantee a good time for all.
Balagtasan. The verbal joust that brings out rhyme, reason and passion on a public stage.
Tabo. All-powerful, ever-useful, hygienically-triumphant device to scoop water out of a bucket and help the true Pinoy answer nature's call. Helps maintain our famously stringent toilet habits.
Pandesal. Despite its shrinking size, still a good buy. Goes well with any filling, best when hot.
Jollibee. Truly Pinoy in taste and sensibility, and a corporate icon that we can be quite proud of. Do you know that it's invaded the Middle East, as well?
The butanding, the dolphins and other creatures in our blessed waters. They're Pinoys, too, and they're here to stay. Now if some folks would just stop turning them into daing.
Pakikisama. It's what makes people stay longer at parties, have another drink, join pals in sickness and health. You can get dead drunk and still make it home.
Sing-a-long. Filipinos love to sing, and thank God a lot of us do it well! (Well, except some of the people who sing "My Way" in some bars..)
Kayumanggi. Neither pale nor dark, our skin tone is beautifully healthy, the color of a rich earth or a mahogany tree growing towards the sun.
Handwoven cloth and native weaves. Colorful, environment-friendly alternatives to polyester that feature skillful workmanship and a rich indigenous culture behind every thread. From the pinukpok of the north to the malong of the south, it's the fiber of who we are.
Movies. Still the cheapest form of entertainment, especially if you watch the same movie several times.
Bahala na. We cope with uncertainty by embracing it, and are thus enabled to play life by ear.
Papaitan. An offal stew flavored with bile, admittedly an acquired taste, but pointing to our national ability to acquire a taste for almost anything.
English. Whether carabao or Arr-neoww-accented, it doubles our chances in the global marketplace.
The Press. Irresponsible, sensational, often inaccurate, but still the liveliest in Asia. Otherwise, we'd all be glued to TV.
Divisoria. Smelly, crowded, a pickpocket's paradise, but you can get anything here, often at rock-bottom prices. The sensory overload is a bonus.
Barong Tagalog. Enables men to look formal and dignified without having to strangle themselves with a necktie. Worn well, it makes any ordinary Juan look marvelously makisig.
Filipinas. They make the best friends, lovers, wives. Too bad they can't say the same for Filipinos.
Filipinos. So maybe they're bolero and macho with an occasional streak of generic infidelity; they do know how to make a woman feel like one.
Catholicism. What fun would sin be without guilt? Jesus Christ is firmly planted on Philippine soil.
Dolphy. Our favorite, ultra-durable comedian gives the beleaguered Pinoy everyman an odd dignity, even in drag.
Style. Something we often prefer over substance. But every Filipino claims it as a birthright.
Bad taste. Clear plastic covers on the vinyl-upholstered sofa, posters of poker-playing dogs masquerading as art, over accessorized jeepneys and altars--the list is endless, and wealth only seems to magnify it.
Mangoes. Crisp and tart, or lusciously ripe, they evoke memories of family outings and endless sunshine in a heart-shaped package.
Unbridled optimism. Why we rank so low on the suicide scale.
Street food. Barbecue, lugaw, banana-cue, fishballs, IUD (chicken entrails), adidas (chicken feet), warm taho. Forget hepatitis; here's cheap, tasty food with gritty ambience.
The siesta. Snoozing in the middle of the day is smart, not lazy.
Honorifics and courteous titles. Kuya, ate, diko, ditse, ineng, totoy, Ingkong, Aling, Mang, etc. No exact English translation, but these words connote respect, deference and the value placed on kinship.
Heroes and people who stood up for truth and freedom. Lapu-lapu started it all, and other heroes and revolutionaries followed: Diego Silang, Macario Sakay, Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini, Melchora Aquino, Gregorio del Pilar, Gabriela Silang, Miguel Malvar, Francisco Balagtas, Juan Luna, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Panday Pira, Emilio Jacinto, Raha Suliman, Antonio Luna, Gomburza, Emilio Aguinaldo, the heroes of Bataan and Corregidor, and a lot more.
Flora and fauna. The sea cow (dugong), the tarsier, calamian deer, bearcat, Philippine eagle, sampaguita, ilang-ilang, camia, pandan, the creatures that make our archipelago unique.
Pilipino songs, OPM and composers. "Ama Namin," "Lupang Hinirang," "Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal," "Ngayon at Kailanman," "Anak," "Handog,""Hindi Kita Malilimutan," "Ang Pasko ay Sumapit"; Ryan Cayabyab, George Canseco, Restie Umali, Levi Celerio, Manuel Francisco, Freddie Aguilar, and Florante-- just some of the examples of our musical gift.
Metro Aides. Against all odds, they continuously prove that cleanliness is next to godliness.
Sari-sari store. There's one in every corner, offering everything from bananas and floor wax to Band-Aid.
Philippine National Red Cross. PAWS. Caritas. Fund drives. They help us help each other.
Favorite TV shows through the years. "Tawag ng Tanghalan," "John and Marsha," "Champoy," "Ryan, Ryan Musikahan," "Kuwarta o Kahon," "Public Forum/Lives," "Student Canteen," "Eat Bulaga." In the age of inane variety shows, they have redeemed Philippine television.
Quirks of language that can drive crazy any tourist listening in. "Bababa ba?" "Bababa!"
"Sayang!" "Naman!" "Kadiri!" "Ano ba!?" "pala." Expressions that defy translation but wring out feelings genuinely Pinoy. Di ba ang chorbah? :D
Cockfighting. Filipino men love it more than their wives (sometimes).
Dr. Jose Rizal. A category in himself. Hero, medicine man, genius, athlete, sculptor, fictionist, poet, essayist, husband, lover, samaritan, martyr. Truly someone to emulate and be proud of, anytime, anywhere.
Nora Aunor. Short, dark and homely-looking, she redefined our rigid concept of how leading ladies should look.
Filipino Christmas. The world's longest holiday season. A perfect excuse to mix our love for feasting, gift-giving and music and wrap it up with a touch of religion.
Relatives and kababayan abroad. The best refuge against loneliness, discrimination and confusion in a foreign place. Distant relatives and fellow Pinoys readily roll out the welcome mat even on the basis of a phone introduction or referral.
Festivals. Sinulog, Ati-atihan, Moriones. Sounds, colors, pagan frenzy and Christian overtones.
Folk dances. Tinikling, pandanggo sa ilaw, kari?sa, kuratsa, itik-itik, alitaptap, rigodon. All the right moves and a distinct rhythm.
Native wear and costumes. Baro't saya, tapis, terno, saya, salakot, bakya. Lovely form and ingenious function in the way we dress.
Sunday family gatherings. Or, close family ties that never get severed. You don't have to win the lotto or be a president to have 10,000 relatives. Everyone's family tree extends all over the archipelago, and it's at its best in times of crisis; notice how food, hostesses, money, and moral support materialize during a wake?
Calesa and karitela. The colorful and leisurely way to negotiate narrow streets when loaded down with a year's provisions.
All Saints' Day. In honoring our dead, we also prove that we know how to live.
Handicrafts. Shellcraft, rattancraft, abaca novelties, woodcarvings, banig placemats and bags, bamboo windchimes, etc. Portable memories of home.
Pinoy greens. Sitaw. Okra. Ampalaya. Gabi. Munggo. Dahon ng Sili. Kangkong. Luya. Talong. Sigarillas. Bataw. Patani. Lutong bahay will never be the same without them.
OCWs. The lengths (and miles) we'd go for a better life for our family, as proven by these modern-day heroes of the economy.
The Filipino artist. From Luna's magnificent "Spoliarium" and Amorsolo's sun-kissed ricefields, to Ang Kiukok's jarring abstractions and Borlongan's haunting ghosts, and everybody else in between. Hang a Filipino painting on your wall, and you're hanging one of Asia's best.
Tagalog soap operas. From "Gulong ng Palad" and "Flor de Luna" to today's incarnations like "Bakekang" (yes, bakekang)--they're the story of our lives, and we feel strongly for them, MariMar (soooooo old) notwithstanding.
Midnight madness, weekend sales, bangketas and baratillos. It's retail therapy at its best, with Filipinos braving traffic, crowds, and human deluge to find a bargain. Come to think of it, Rob Manila has a Sale tomorrow. But then, sa foundation day celebration of Masci na lang muna. :D
Quality of life. Where else can an ordinary employee afford a stay-in helper, a yaya, unlimited movies, eat-all-you-can buffets, and the latest fashion but here, in the Philippines.
Hmm. I guess that would be enough. I don't know how to end this list, but well. Okay. Thanks again to my references! Gambatte ne for me! :D