Showing posts from August, 2020

Is the "Ay" Marker in Tagalog the Same as the English Verb "To be"?

One of the most common markers in the Tagalog language is ay. It may appear as if ay  is the equivalent of the English verb "to be", because, for example, the literal translation of a phrase like ako ay Pilipino is "I am  Filipino". However, in reality, far from being a verb, let alone the verb "to be", which doesn't really exist in Tagalog, the function of ay is simply to invert the order of a phrase, and in the example above ako ay Pilipino is merely the inverted form of Pilipino ako. In other words, because in Tagalog there is no such thing as the verb "to be", such phrases as "I am Italian", "she is beautiful" or "Mario is a doctor" in Tagalog have no verb and are literally rendered as "Italian I" ("Italiano ako"), "beautiful she" ("maganda siya") and "doctor Mario" ("doktor si Mario"). The "ay" marker simply switches the order of such phr

How to Deal With your Filipina's In-laws

In the Philippines an entire extended family lives in a house compound like this Here in Rome there are at very least 50,000 Filipinos most of whom are not here on their own. Entire Pinoy extended families live here up to three generations. Large portions of the population of such towns as Balayan, Batangas or Candon, Ilocos Sur, just to mention a few, have moved to Rome and they have carried the Filipino in-laws culture with them. So an Italian who marries a Filipina who lives and works here is highly likely going to become part of a giant iceberg of which his wife is just the tip. I spent the past ten years living with my wife's extended family (which is one of the few here in Rome that is not so big) and, for about 5 years, I really struggled to create rapport with them and how to deal with my Filipino in-laws became a crippling problem for me which had become so corrosive that it had started to eat away at my marriage. In dealing with my Filipino in-laws I found myself in the s

How to Build a "Bridge" in a Multi-ethnic Marriage

As the husband of a Filipina I find that being in a mixed marriage is probably one of the trickiest experiences one can have. The "Culture Shock Philippines" book by Alfredo and Grace Roces talks about the predicament of a well meaning Westerner who is sincerely looking for ways to build a bridge with Filipinos and this sincere Westerner describes himself as someone who is "groping for a bridge" and yet he keeps finding himself "utterly sealed away". The man is apparently not someone who deals with Filipinos with an antagonistic and superior attitude, rather he is earnestly looking for a tie, he is well meaning and sincere and yet he ends up asking himself "what do I do?" I was that well-meaning Westerner who, for many years, was at a loss of where to turn to build a lasting connection not only with my wife but also with her family. If you are married to a Filipina as I am, or to someone who comes from another culture that is, like the Filipino o

Should You Marry a Young Filipina?

Some 15 years ago I was in a Northern European country, to visit some Filipino friends of mine. While there, I met a Filipina in her mid 30's who was married to an old Western man.  She talked very enthusiastically about the advantages that had accrued to her in terms of the financial stability she had gained and of how, by becoming the wife of a Western citizen, she had finally managed to get the residence permit in the country, after spending years in a state of clandestinity. What she never mentioned is whether she had feeling for the man or not.  Although I don't know the whole story, the fact that she only mentioned the legal and financial advantages of being in that kind of relationship, seems to tell me that there is a risk that if you are old and single, as well as relatively well-adjusted financially, and look for a much younger Asian lady, you might bump into someone who is not exactly looking for somebody to share her unselfish and unconditional love with. Each situa

Is the Philippines an Asian Country?

  Follow my blog with Bloglovin "The first time I set foot in the Philippines, I didn't quite have the feeling that I was in Asia. People there look more similar to Polinesians than to those who live on the Asian mainland and the landscape also resembles that of the Pacific Islands because, from a strictly geographical point of view, the Philippines is situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and actually lies between the Asian mainland and Micronesia. When I think of Asia the very first mental picture I have is the far East, namely places like China, Japan or Korea. Then I broaden the picture and what also comes to mind is places like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and, of course, the Middle East. The Philippines is none of these things but at the same time it includes some elements of other Asian countries. There is an expression that encapsulates rather nicely what the Philippines looks like and the expressions is: Filipinos are Malay in family, Chinese in business, Spanis

Talaga bang Bahala-na si Bathala?

(originally posted in Una sa lahat nais kong ipaliwanag na ang blog ko ay hindi upang ipakipag-usap ang tungkol kay Bathala . Sinasabi ng marami Bahala-na si Bathala Una sa lahat kailangang liwanagin kung sino ang Bathala na tinutukoy sa pananalitang ito dahil, kung, halimbawa, ang Bathalang iyon ay ang Krystianong Bathala ang alam ko ay na maraming ibinibigay na babala ang Bathalang iyon. Ngayon, kung sa kabila ng mga babala ni Bathala ay binabale-wala ng tao ang babala ni Bathala, nagiging medyo maling akala na bahala si Bathala sa masamang resulta na idinudulot ng pagwawalang-bahala ng tao sa mga babala ni Bathala. Isang halimbawa lang: ang alam ko ay na si Bathala ay nagbibigay ng babala tungkol sa labis ng pag-iinom ng alak. Syempre naman hindi ko sinasabi na binabale-wala ng mga Pilipino iyon dahil alam ko mabuti na hindi naman marami ang iniinom ng mga Pilipino kundi kaunti-container lang..

The Role of the "Ate" or Older Sister in a Filipino Family

If you marry a Filipina changes are that, in addition to being your wife, she is also her siblings' ate or older sister. As I have already mentioned in my blog, when you marry a Filipina you basically (and actually literally) marry the entire family and, therefore, it is very important to understand the role your Filipina plays in the larger context of the intricate family relationships that are very strong in the Philippines and even among Filipinos abroad. The "Culture Shock Philippines" book by Alfredo and Grace Roces says the following about the role of the ate: "Sisters play a very important role in Philippine families, especially older sisters. An older sister is called Ate by her siblings. Ate is responsible for the younger children and she may bathe, dress and feed them. This is necessary in large families where the mother cannot look after all the children. Older children are taught early that it is their duty to help take care of younger brothers and siste

The Filipino Drinking Culture

If you marry a Filipina and begin to interact with her Filipino relatives and friends, it will not be long before you discover that the practice of drinking alcohol in a group or inuman is very widespread in the Philippines as well as among Pinoy abroad. Almost every Filipino social gathering features the "for the boys" tradition, where the men separate themselves from the rest of the group and engage in inuman. What this entails is basically this: a group of boys (it is typically the men who engage in this practice) sits around a table that is situated few meters away from the area where everyone else is singing karaoke, dancing, eating or doing kwentuan (or chit-chatting) and they lay a few bottles of beer, gin, brandy or other kinds of alcoholic beverages (mostly hard drinks). And while they are sipping they snack on some food (usually pieces of meat) called pulutan. MaBUTIng usapan vs maBOTEng usapan As I often mention in my posts, Filipinos are very social and like

"Isang Kahig Isang Tuka"

Filipino people use the Tagalog expression isang kahig, isang tuka to talk about the fact that, in the Philippines, many families barely get by, and so many people have to work really hard to make ends meet. Meaning of the expression "isang kahig isang tuka" The Tagalog verb kumahig, formed by the root word kahig and the -um- affix (or the verb kahigin, if the verb  is "object-focus), basically means"to scratch". The root-word kahig conveys the idea of "chickens scratching off the soil" ("kinakaig ang lupa ng manok"="the ground is being scratched by the chicken") or anyone "scratching off a soft surface", like for example a gardener who is raking fallen leaves ("kinakaig ng hardinero ang mga dahon"="the gardener is raking the leaves"). The root-word tuka conveys the idea of "pecking" like, for example, a "bird pecking at some food fallen on the ground or fruits hanging on a fruit tree

Kung Bakit Mahalaga para sa mga OFW Matuto ng Lokal na Wika

 Bilang asawa ng isang Pilipina dito sa Italya, isa sa mga bagay na napansin ko ay na maraming mga Pilipino dito ay kapwa estranghero sa bansa at sa bahay. Mga estranghero sila sa Italya hindi lang dahil iba ang nationality nila kundi dahil hindi gaano silang natututo ng Italyano at halos hindi sila nakikipagsalamuha sa mga taga dito. May iba't ibang mga dahilan: Ang isang dahilan ay na marami ang nagtratrabaho bilang live-in (o full-time) na tagalinis at nakakulong sila sa bahay ng kanilang mga amo sa loob ng maraming oras, kaya may kaunting pagkakataon (o halos wala) sila para makipagsalamuha sa mga taga dito. Ang isa pang dahilan ay na, dito sa Roma, mayroon ganitong karaming Pilipino na halos hindi kailangan ng mga Pilipinong dayuhan makipag-ugnayan sa mga Italyano at, karamihan sa mga kakilala ko ay, sa totoo, wala gaanong interes o gana na magpalawak at makipag-kaibigan sa mga taga dito. Ang kanilang mga anak naman ay regular na nakikipagsalamuha sa mga taga dito, kaya fluent

The "Ningas Kugon" Trait of the Filipino Mentality

  Ningas Kugon is basically the tendency of Filipinos to get super excited about an idea a project for, maybe, one week or two, maximum few months. They lay a foundation then the wander off and lay another foundation. So, it may occur, for example, that your Filipino wife wants to take you to the Philippines to live there for good and start a negosyo. She could even get you to invest some money there. Then she may change her mind and, perhaps, decide to stay in your Western country. After a while she may reconsider going to the Philippines for good. Then reconsider that again. More often their not Filipinos don't have a life mission and a clear vision. They undertake myriads of projects that easily fizzle out and never stick around. If you marry a Filipina this may cost you unnecessary money. For example, about 15 years ago, my wife set up an eatery in front of the Bulacan Agricultural State College and turned the ground floor of her big house into some sort of hostel for college

Baguio City and the Filipino Mentality

  The contrast between the orderliness of downtown Baguio and the disorderly development of the hillside Baguio is a medium-sized city situated in the northern part of the island of Luzon, the northernmost island of the archipelago, in the province of Benguet. There are several things that make Baguio a unique place: BAGUIO'S UNIQUE CLIMATE The city was developed as the American colonial summer capital, according to a plan composed in 1905 by the American architect-planner, Daniel Burnham. The reason why the area where Baguio is situated was chosen to build the "summer capital" is because of its cool climate, as the city is situated about 1,470 meters above sea level and, because it has a particular microclimate that makes it conducive for the growth of its signature symbol: the pine tree (or what I call the Filipine tree...) which is a rather unique thing for a tropical country. THE "GARDEN-CITY" OF THE PHILIPPINES The area surrounding Burnham Park, a vast gree

Balarilang Pilipino (Tagalog Grammar in Tagalog)

Source: ang dating website ko Noong 2000 nakilala ko ang Pilipina na naging asawa ko. Noong 2001 noong engaged pa lang kami nagpasya akong mag-aral ng wikang Tagalog. Lahat ng mga aklat na pinag-aralan ko tungkol sa balarilang Tagalog ay sa wikang Ingles. Subalit minabuti ko rin na maging pamilyar sa terminolohiyang Tagalog may kaugnayan sa balarila ng wika ng misis ko. Ang seryeng ito ng mga post tungkol sa balarila ay una sa lahat isang pagsasanay para sa akin. Pero maaari ring pakinabangan ng ilang mga Pilipino na hindi gaanong kabisado sa balarilang Tagalog, kahit mahusay magsalita, at sa totoo maraming mga Pilipina at Pilipino, kahit may mataas na edukasyon, ay hindi masyadong marunong magturo ng Tagalog sa aming mga foreigner at medyo nalilito sila kapag ang isang foreigner katulad ko ay nagbabangon ng mga tanong tungkol sa balarilang Tagalog. Sa unang artikulo nais kong ipakipag-usap ang tungkol sa unang bagay na itinuturo sa aming mga foreigner n

What is the "Bahala-na" Mentality of Filipinos?

The Philippines is a Bahala-na republic Back in 2008 I bought myself one of those fancy t-shirts with funny logos that are sold in the Philippines. One of those logos said "Bahala-na Republic", a play on words for the expression "Banana Republic". The reason why the Philippines is described on my t-shirt as a "Bahala-na Republic" is because in the Philippines there is the bahala-na or bahala-na si Bathala mindset. Bahala means something like "taking care". For example Filipinos use the expression bahala ka sa buhay mo meaning "you take care of yourself". Na basically means already Bahala-na si Bathala Filipinos use the expressions bahala-na and bahala-na si Bathala. Actually the very word bahala comes from Bathala. Who is Bathala? "The word Bathala is believed to have come from the Sanskrit Bhattara Guru or “the highest of the gods.” In Philippine mythology, the highest-ranking god of the ancient Tagalog people is Batha

What is it Like to Have a Filipina Wife? The Role of the Husband in the Philippines

"Neighborhood" restaurant in Rome is run by women One of the things that someone who wishes to marry a Filipina needs to know is the difference between the stereotype image of the submissive Filipino wife and the reality of the Filipino husband who plays the macho but ends up being put under his wife's dress or under the saya. The stereotype image of the submissive Maria Clara and the modern Filipina Maria Clara De Los Santos is the leading lady and fiance of the leading character Crisostomo Ibarra in the novel Noli Me Tángere, written by the Filipino National Hero Dr. José Rizal. While Crisostomo Ibarra was studying in Europe, Maria Clara was sent to a convent school, where she received rigid education under the Catholic religion. This character has become the ideal image to describe a traditional woman in the Filipino culture, a woman who is shy, demure, conservative, one who never speaks out and who is supposed to be an obedient and respectful daughter, a g