The "Bawal Umihi Dito" Sign as a Metaphor of the Pinoy Mentality

One of the many "bawal" signs in the Philippines I remember riding on a trycicle with Tito  Benje, my Filipina wife's uncle.  After overtaking a bus on a double solid line (as Filipinos always do), he said something along the lines of " sa Pilipinas lahat ay pwede", basically meaning that in the Philippines you can do whatever you want and that road signs and markings are, more often than not, mere decorations. Bawal Umihi Dito, Bawal Magtapon ng Basura Dito.... One of the features of the Philippine landscape is the huge amount of signs that remind people that urinating against a public or private wall, on a sidewalk or against a pole and disposing of the garbage on the side of the road, in a river or a canal is not socially acceptable and that the offender might (theoretically) be given a multa, should a  buwaya be around. My bayaw told me in a very straightforward manner that Filipinos love urinating and disposing of their garbage exactly there where a sign s

Existentials and Negations in Tagalog

There are two words to negate something in Tagalog: hindi and wala


The word hindi, meaning no or not, and the word wala, indicating non-existence or absence.

Hindi is the opposite of oo meaning yes, and it is also used to talk about what a person or something is not


Pilipino ka ba? (are you Filipino?)

Two possible answers: Hindi ako Pilipino=I am not Filipino; hindi=no

Hindi ako Amerikano=I am not American

Hindi siya maganda=she is not beautiful

Gusto mo bang pumunta sa Jollibee?=would you like to go to Jollibee?

Answer: hindi=no


Wala is the opposite of mayroon meaning there is (example mayroon maraming Pilipino sa Roma=there are many Filipinos in Rome) or to have (mayroon akong panahon ngayon=I have time today).

Here are few examples:

Wala maraming Pilipino sa mga maliit na bayan ng Italya=there are not that many Filipinos in small Italian towns

Wala akong pera=I haven't got any money

nasa kusina ba ang TV?=is the TV set in the kitchen?

Answers: wala=no; wala sa kusina ang TV=the TV set is not in the kitchen


To talk about the existence of something, Filipinos use may or mayroon (sometimes Filipinos use the more colloquial form meron).

Difference between may and mayroon

Mayroon, must be followed by an adverb of place or a personal pronoun

For example, if I am using the personal pronoun ako immediately after mayroon, I can't use may

I can say mayroon akong pera but I can't say may akong pera. If I want to use the may instead of mayroon I have to move the personal pronoun to the end of the sentence and say: may pera ako

Mayroon is a full word that can standalone, while may has to be followed by a noun, verb, adverb, adjective.

For example, if I ask the question:

May pera ba si Mario?

I can answer with mayroon siya 

If I wanted to use the may instead, I would have to say may pera si Mario


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