Filipino Body Language and the Importance of Non-verbal Communication with your Filipina

 As you may have gathered, if you have been following my blog for a while, I can speak Tagalog, and I have even created a series of blog posts that touch on the subject of Tagalog grammar. Because I am interested in making my marriage with my Filipina not only work but actually thrive, I have been taking the study of the Filipino language and culture very seriously since I entered this relationship back in 2000. Now I am at a point where my wife and I can quickly and easily switch from Italian and English to Tagalog. Yet, being able to communicate verbally is just a tiny part of the equation of effective communication. Many experts talk about the idea that around 93% of human communication occurs through non-verbal cues and only the remaining 7% is accomplished through words. When I look at this issue through this lens I realize that my efforts to master the Filipino culture and language count for very little if I don't work on improving my non-verbal communication. So in this post

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 Somebo

The "Crab Mentality" of Filipinos (from the Standpoint of a Foreigner)

Here in Rome there are some 50000 Filipinos. They constitute one of the largest groups of immigrants in the city and the Filipino community has been existing here for about 40 years. Yet, almost all Filipinos here started out working as katulong or domestic helpers (many work live-in, meaning that they are only free on Sundays and on Thursday afternoons) and to this day the vast majority still works as katulong. Apart from few Pinoy sari-sari store and a few restaurants (plus one Jollibee restaurant), here in Rome Filipinos seem to be one of the communities of immigrants who run the least amount of sariling negosyo (Filipinos who run some kind of business), compared to other ethnic groups. A Pinoy restaurant in Rome Many other immigrants, like the Romanian for example, run their own businesses in such fields as construction, plumbing, electrical installations etc. The Punjabi run dozens of bakeries in town. The Chinese have hundreds of eat all you can restaurants and shops and recently

Ang Wikang Italyano para sa mga Pilipino - ang Past Tense

Gaya ng sinabi ko sa naunang post, ang mga pandiwa o berbo sa Italyano ay medyo masalimuot, lalo na dahil maraming mga berbo ay di-regular at, dahil dito, ang conjugation ng mga iyon ay lumalayo nang malaki mula sa "base form". Kaya ang pinakamabuting bagay ay matuto ng pinakakaraniwang mga berbo at isaulado ang mga conjugation. Sa ngayon magpopokus ako sa ilang karaniwang mga berbo na kadalasang ginagamit sa wikang Italyano at ipakikita ko ang conjugation ng mga iyon sa isang uri ng "past tense" na tinatawag na "passato prossimo".  Sa wikang Italyano ay mayroon mahigit sa isang "past tense" at ang pinakakaraniwan ay ang PASSATO PROSSIMO O "MALAPIT NA NAKARAAN" (ISANG KILOS NA GINAWA KAMAKAILAN LANG) PASSATO REMOTO O "MALAYONG NAKARAAN" (KILOS NA GINANAP MARAMING PANAHON ANG NAKALIPAS: BAKA ISA O MAHIGIT SA ISANG TAON ANG NAKALIPAS) PASSATO PROSSIMO Ang "passato prossimo" ay binubuo sa pamamagitan ng "present te

Why Filipinos Have Spanish Surnames

  All Filipino people have surnames: some have Spanish sounding ones, some have native Tagalog ones, some have Chinese sounding ones....the only one who does not have an "apelydo" or surname is Gloc 9 because " nandito na si Gloc 9, wala siyang apelydo"! As husband of a Filipina I have regular social interactions with Filipinos and I know plenty of De La Cruz, Ramos, De Ramos, Lopez, Lachica and many other Filipino people who have Spanish surnames I also have Pinoy friends who have non Spanish-sounding surnames like Binaban, Macaraig, Macaraeg. My wife's surname is Eco and this particular surname is actually common in Italy and Umberto Eco is one of the most famous Italian writers and best-selling authors. I also know many whose surname is Tolentino , which could also be Italian and, actually, here in Italy we have the town of Tolentino and Nicola da Tolentino is viewed as a saint by the Catholic church. While a lot of Filipino people have Spanish surnames, th

How to Love a Filipina

 Few months ago I wrote an article about the role of acceptance in an interracial marriage. Some Westerners who marry Filipinas (or who otherwise interact long-term with Filipinos for some other reasons) begin to shoot upon the reality that they themselves have willingly chosen to embrace, or as the "Culture Shock Philippines" book puts it, develop a frustrated and antagonistic attitude toward their culture and live "marching to the beat of a different drummer in a place where there are no drums", thereby feeling ill at ease. The only cure is acceptance and almost all relationship experts talk about it. Acceptance vs Tolerance But what does acceptance really entail in an interracial intimate relationship? Many Westerners who marry a Filipina probably go through the process of getting to know her without seriously weighing their readiness to deal with the inevitable culture shock that is going to show up before long. What makes things trickier in a relationship with

Commands and Requests in Tagalog

Lapit, mga kaibigan at makinig kayo Ako'y may dala-dalang balita galing sa bayan ko Nais kong ipamahagi ang mga kwento At mga pangyayaring nagaganap sa lupang ipinangako - Balita by Asin   " Lapit mga Pilipino at bumasa kayo ng blog ko, ako ay may mahalagang impormasyon tungkol sa wika ninyo, nais kong ipamahagi ang kaalamang ito ....."   In the lyrics of this song we can see a couple of commands:   For example we can see the expression "makinig kayo" or, in other words, the infinitive form of the verb makinig (to listen) followed by the second person pronoun kayo.   Lapit mga kaibigan is a shortened form of "lumapit kayo mga kaibigan".   To soften a command and make it sound more polite, Filipinos use the particles nga or naman , kind of like when in English a command is followed by please.   Examples:   makinig kayo (listen) makinig kayo nga (listen please) makinig kayo naman ("""""""")   A request in Tagal