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

Joe the "Amerikano" in the Philippines


Officers carefully screening everyone entering a shopping mall...except Joe ang Amerikano

A "Joe Nobody" in his country becomes "Joe Somebody" in the Philippines

I remember walking down the streets of my wife's barangay alone and everyone would greet me with the expression "hey Joe".

Filipinos automatically assume that if you are a Westerner your name is "Joe" and that you are wealthy and "Amerikano".

I also remember all Filipinos and their bags being thoroughly screened at the entrance of each shopping mall I went to.

However the officers would just greet me and smile, as you can see in the picture above (that was at the SM in Rosales, Pangasinan), and say to me "welcome Sir". And there is nothing like hearing a Filipino call you "Sir" wherever you go, especially when you come from a country where your neighbor treats you like nothing.

Indeed, the Philippines is the place where a Joe Nobody becomes Joe Somebody!

When "Joe the Amerikano" is not Amerikano

I come from Southern Italy and I am neither American nor that wealthy but that is how Filipinos view me whenever I visit the country.

The funny thing is that a friend of mine who left Serbia back in the "90's, during the war in the ex-Jugoslavia and moved to Italy to seek asylum, later married a Filipina and when he visited the Philippines he too was addressed as "Joe" the "Amerikano" and treated as a wealthy American even though he comes from a country that is perhaps even poorer than the Philippines!

In the Philippines a white man is automatically Amerikano even if he comes from Kazakhstan, Moldova...he can be Greek, Romanian, Albanian or even a gypsy. He is still an "Amerikano"!

Even the unggoy in the gubat (jungle) is impressed by Joe

The unggoy (monkey) that lives in the gubat (jungle) was startled by the Amerikano who has some "gubat" on his chest

Yes, Joe Nobody, the ordinary Joe Shmoe, the one who lives in a country where his neighbors and close relatives barely greet him, arouses the admiration of every living creature, including the unggoy sa gubat, whenever he sets foot in the Philippines.

Mabuhay ang mga Pilipino!
Joe the Ifugao
Si Joe ang Italyano
Si Joe ang probinsyano

(I have imported this post from my other blog


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