Saturday, January 16, 2010

100 Good Things About Pilipino

Best thing about Filipino is When we smile even in problems.

1. Bayanihan. Yes, the internationally-renowned dance company, but also this habit of pitching in still common in small communities. Just prepare cold beers or gin and pulutan for the horde.

2. Kuwan, ano, yung. Loss for words? Try this saying and marvel at how Pinoys understand exactly what you want.

3. Yayas, “ate”, “manang”. The trusted Filipino nanny who, ironically, has become a major Philippine export as overseas contract workers. A good one is almost like a surrogate parent--if you don't mind the accent and the fondness for afternoon dramas and movie stars.

4. Sing-a-long. Filipinos love to sing at any given time or setting, and thank God a lot of us do it well!

5. 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.

6. Merienda. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon snacks, dinner and midnight snacks…Where else is it normal to eat five times a day?

7. Tingi. Thank goodness for small entrepreneurs and our underground economy. Where else can we buy cigarettes, soap, condiments and life's essentials in small affordable amounts?

8. Folk songs. They come unbidden and spring, full blown, like a second language, at the slightest nudge from the too-loud stereo of a passing jeepney or tricycle. These songs are being taught in elementary.

9. Chocnut. Crumbly peanut chocolate bars that defined childhood ecstasy before M & M's and Hersheys at a very affordable price of P1.00.

10. Pinoy games: Pabitin, palosebo, basagan ng palayok, luksong tinik, patintero, chato. Makes every Filipino gathering a good time for all.

11. Yoyo. Truly Filipino in origin, this hunting tool, weapon, toy and merchandising vehicle remains the best way to "walk the dog" and "rock the baby," using just a piece of string.

12. Filipinas. They make the best friends, lovers, wives, and mothers. Too bad they can't say the same for Filipinos.

13. 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. And who else knows how to court a girl but a Filipino…

14. 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, Pepe Diokno, Satur Ocampo, Dean Armando Malay, Evelio Javier, Ninoy Aquino, Lola Rosa and other comfort women who spoke up, honest cabbie Emilio Advincula, Rona Mahilum, the lawyers who stood for Subic rape case victim “Nicole”.

15. Pandesal. Despite its shrinking size and rising price, still a good buy. Goes well with any filling, best when hot. An essential part of Pinoy breakfast.

16. Pinoy humor and irreverence. If you're "api" (being bullied) and you know it, crack a joke. Nothing personal, really.

17. Sawsawan. Assorted sauces that guarantee freedom of choice, enough room for experimentation and maximum tolerance for diverse tastes. Favorites: toyo't calamansi, suka at sili, patis.

18. Pinoy fruits. Being a tropical country we’re blessed with so many fruits. Atis, guyabano, chesa, mabolo, lanzones, durian, langka, makopa, dalanghita, siniguelas, suha, chico, papaya, singkamas--the possibilities!

19. Balagtasan. The verbal joust that brings out rhyme, reason and passion on a public stage. Popular in elementary and highschool.

20. 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 you’ll just be surprised that you have a distant relative somewhere, and it's at its best in times of crisis; notice how food, hostesses, money, and moral support materialize during a wake?

21. Pinoy veggies. Sitaw. Okra. Ampalaya. Gabi. Munggo. Dahon ng Sili. Kangkong. Luya. Talong. Sigarillas. Bataw. Patani. All the greens in the song “Bahay Kubo” plus hundreds more.

22. Sari-sari store. There's one in every corner and most of the time alongside each other, offering everything from bananas and floor wax to Band-Aid and bakya.

23. The Press. Irresponsible, sensational, often inaccurate, but still the liveliest in Asia. Otherwise, we'd all be glued to TV.

24. 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.

25. World class Pinoys who put us on the global map: Lea Salonga, Paeng Nepomuceno, Eugene Torre, Luisito Espinosa, Lydia de Vega-Mercado, Jocelyn Enriquez, Elma Muros, Onyok Velasco, Efren "Bata" Reyes, Lilia Calderon-Clemente, Loida Nicolas-Lewis, Josie Natori, Manny Pacquiao, Charice Pempengco and Journey’s Arnel Pineda.

26. Filipino celebrities. Movie stars, broadcasters, beauty queens, public officials, all-around controversial figures: Aurora Pijuan, Cardinal Sin, Carlos P. Romulo, Charito Solis, Cory Aquino, Emilio Aguinaldo, the Eraserheads, Fidel V. Ramos, Francis Magalona, Gloria Diaz, Manuel L. Quezon, Margie Moran, Melanie Marquez, Ninoy Aquino, Nora Aunor, Pitoy Moreno, Ramon Magsysay, Richard Gomez, San Lorenzo Ruiz, Sharon Cuneta, Gemma Cruz, Erap, Tiya Dely, Mel and Jay, Gary V.

27. Pilipino komiks. Not to mention "Hiwaga," "Aliwan," "Tagalog Classics," "Liwayway" and "Bulaklak" magazines. Pulpy publications that gave us Darna, Facifica Falayfay, Lagalag, Kulafu, Kenkoy, Dyesebel, characters of a time both innocent and worldly.

28. Tricycle, trisikad, pedicab, kuliglig, the poor Juan's taxicab that delivers you at your doorstep, with a complimentary dusting of polluted air.

29. 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--living examples of our musical gift.

30. All Saints' Day. In honoring our dead, we also prove that we know how to live.

31. Metro Aides. They started out as Imelda Marcos' groupies, but have gallantly proven their worth. Against all odds, they continuously prove that cleanliness is next to godliness--especially now that those darned candidates' posters have to be scraped off the face of Manila!

32. Festivals: Sinulog, Ati-atihan, Moriones, Pinagbenga etc. One of the things that both local and foreign tourist love about the Philippines.

33. 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.

34. 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.

35. Pambahay. Home is where one can let loose and doesn’t care about he/she looks but rather how comfortably he/she feels.

36. Beaches! With 7,000 plus islands, we have miles and miles of shoreline piled high with fine white sand, lapped by warm waters, and nibbled by exotic tropical fish. From the stormy seas of Batanes to the emerald isles of Palawan--over here, life is truly a beach. Nothing beats Philippine beaches!

37. Jeepneys. Colorful, fast, reckless, a vehicle of postwar Pinoy ingenuity, this everyman's communal Cadillac makes for a cheap, interesting ride.

38. Dirty ice cream. Very Pinoy flavors that make up for the risk: munggo, langka, ube, mais, keso, macapuno. Plus there's the colorful cart that recalls jeepney art.

39. Tabo. A house can’t be called a Pinoy house in the absence of the handy-dandy 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.

40. Bahala na. We cope with uncertainty by embracing it, and are thus enabled to play life by ear.

41. Style. Something we often prefer over substance. But every Filipino claims it as a birthright.

42. Nora Aunor. Short, dark and homely-looking, she redefined our rigid concept of how leading ladies should look. Walang himala!!!

43. Noranian or Vilmanian. Defines the friendly rivalry between Ate Guy Aunor and Ate Vi Santos and for many years, the only way to be for many Filipino fans.

44. Tagalog soap operas. From "Gulong ng Palad" and "Flor de Luna" to today's incarnations like "Mula sa Puso"--they're the story of our lives, and we feel strongly for them, MariMar notwithstanding. The new favorite “May Bukas Pa”.

45. Folk dances. Tinikling, pandanggo sa ilaw, kariñosa, kuratsa, itik-itik, alitaptap, rigodon.

46. 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.

47. Dolphy. Our favorite, ultra-durable comedian gives the beleaguered Pinoy everyman an odd dignity, even in drag.

48. 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.

49. Terno. The feminine equivalent of Barong Tagalog. Makes every Filipina look conservative and dignified.

50. Jollibee. Truly Pinoy in taste and sensibility, and a corporate icon that we can be quite proud of.

51. The places of interest. Banaue Rice Terraces, Boracay, Bohol's Chocolate Hills, Corregidor Island, Fort Santiago, the Hundred Islands, the Las Piñas Bamboo Organ, Rizal Park, Mt. Banahaw, Mayon Volcano, Taal Volcano. A land full of beautiful paradise and undiscovered heaven.

52. Pinoy hospitality. Just about everyone gets a hearty "Kain tayo!" invitation to break bread with whoever has food to share, no matter how skimpy or austere it is.

53. Balut. Unhatched duck's embryo, another unspeakable ethnic food to outsiders, but oh, to indulge in guilty pleasures! Sprinkle some salt and suck out that soup, with gusto. Also great with beer.

54. Pasalubong. Our way of sharing the vicarious thrills and delights of a trip, and a wonderful excuse to shop without the customary guilt.

55. Chicharon. Pork, fish or chicken crackling. There is in the crunch a hint of the extravagant, the decadent and the pedestrian. Perfect with vinegar and chili, sublime with beer.

56. Barangay Ginebra, Jaworski, PBA, MBA, NCAA, UAAP basketball. How the verticaly-challenged Pinoy compensates, via a national sports obsession that reduces fans to tears and fistfights.

57. Movies. Still the cheapest form of entertainment, especially if you watch the same movie several times.

58. "Sayang!" "Naman!" "Kadiri!" "Ano ba?!" "pala". Expressions that defy translation but wring out feelings genuinely Pinoy.

59. Handicrafts. Shellcraft, rattancraft, abaca novelties, woodcarvings, banig placemats and bags, bamboo windchimes, etc. Portable memories of home. Hindi lang pang-turista, pang-balikbayan pa!

60. Dr. Jose Rizal. A category in himself. Hero, medicine man, genius, athlete, sculptor, fictionist, poet, essayist, husband, lover, samaritan, martyr and a playboy (kkk). A true Filipino honor.

61. Mangoes. Crisp and tart, or lusciously ripe, popular to both locals and tourists.

62. English. Whether carabao or accented with a twang, it doubles our chances in the global marketplace. A reason why we’re defeating India in the BPO market.

63. People Power at EDSA. When everyone became a hero and changed Philippine history overnight.

64. Adobo, kare-kare, sinigang and other lutong bahay stuff. Home-cooked meals that have the stamp of approval from several generations, who swear by closely-guarded cooking secrets and family recipes.

65. Kamayan style. To eat with one's hand in a banana leaf plate and eschew spoon, fork and table manners --ah, heaven.

66. Fiesta. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow is just another day, shrugs the poor man who, once a year, honors a patron saint with this sumptuous, no-holds-barred spread. It's a Pinoy celebration at its pious and riotous best.

67. Spirituality. Even before the Spaniards came, ethnic tribes had their own anitos, bathalas and assorted deities, pointing to a strong relationship with the Creator, who or whatever it may be.

68. The Balikbayan box. Another way of sharing life's bounty every time we head home from anywhere in the globe. The most wonderful part is that, more often than not, the contents are carted home to be distributed.

69. Pakidala. A personalized door-to-door remittance and delivery system for overseas Filipino workers who don't trust the banking system or to avoid transaction fees, and who expect a family update from the courier, as well.

70. San Miguel Beer and pulutan. Philippines' most popular, world-renowned beer goes well with peanuts, corniks, tapa, chicharon, usa, barbecue, sisig, and all manner of spicy, crunchy and cholesterol-rich chasers.

71. Papaitan. An offal stew flavored with bile, admittedly an acquired taste, but pointing to our national ability to acquire a taste for almost anything.

72. Catholicism. What fun would sin be without guilt? Jesus Christ is firmly planted on Philippine soil.

73. 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. Easily accessible, can be found in any eskinita.

74. Cockfighting. Filipino men love it more than their wives (sometimes).

75. Quality of life. Where else can an ordinary employee afford a stay-in helper, a yaya, unlimited movies, eat-all-you-can buffets, the latest fashion (Baclaran nga lang), even Viagra in the black market?

76. The siesta. Snoozing in the middle of the day is smart, not lazy.

77. Pinoy tastes. A dietitian's nightmare: too sweet, too salty, too fatty, as in burong talangka, itlog na maalat, crab fat (aligue), bokayo, kutchinta, sapin-sapin, halo-halo, pastilyas, palitaw, pulburon, longganisa, tuyo, ensaymada, ube haleya, sweetened macapuno and garbanzos. Remember, we're the guys who put sugar in our spaghetti sauce. That’s how sweet Pinoys are! Kkk

78. Dinuguan. Blood stew, a bloodcurdling idea, until you try it with puto. Best when mined with jalape¤o peppers. Messy but delicious.

79. Bagoong. Darkly mysterious, this smelly fish or shrimp paste typifies the underlying theme of most ethnic foods: disgustingly unhygienic, unbearably stinky and simply irresistible. Good with green mangoes.

80. Lola Basyang. The voice one heard spinning tales over the radio, before movies and television curtailed imagination and defined grown-up tastes.

81. The butanding, the dolphins and other creatures in our blessed waters. They're Pinoys, too, and they're here to stay. Thank God Filipinos already know their worth and are helping to save their lives.

82. 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.

83. 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.

84. Philippine National Red Cross. PAWS. Caritas. Fund drives. They help us help each other.

85. 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. Remember our good old tampipi…?

86. Gayuma, agimat and anting-anting. Love potions and amulets. How the socially-disadvantaged Pinoy copes.

87. Aswang, manananggal, kapre, engkanto. The whole underworld of Filipino lower mythology recalls our uniquely bizarre childhood, that is, before political correctness kicked in. Still, their stories live in our horror movies.

88. Resiliency. We've survived 400 years of Spanish rule, the US bases, Marcos, the 1990 earthquake, lahar, lambada, Robin Padilla, and Tamagochi. We survived Erap. And we can endure another year of Gloria!

89. Unbridled optimism. Why we rank so low on the suicide scale.

90. OCW’s and OFW’s. The lengths (and miles) we'd go for a better life for our family, as proven by these modern-day heroes of the economy.

91. Ninoy Aquino. For saying that "the Filipino is worth dying for,'' and proving it.

92. Divisoria. Smelly, crowded, a pickpocket's paradise, but you can get anything here, often at rock-bottom prices. The sensory overload is a bonus.

93. 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.

94. Po, opo, mano po. Speech suffixes that define courtesy, deference, filial respect--a balm to the spirit in these aggressive times.

95. Sarsi. Pinoy rootbeer, the enduring taste of childhood. Our grandfathers had them with an egg beaten in.

96. Calesa and karitela. The colorful and leisurely way to negotiate narrow streets when loaded down with a year's provisions.

97. Midnight madness, weekend’s sales, bangketas, baratillos, ukay, tiangge. It's retail therapy at its best, with Filipinos braving traffic, crowds, and human deluge to find a bargain especially in times of global economic crisis.

98. Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo. More than just a beauty contest, this one has religious overtones, a tableau of St. Helena's and Constantine's search for the Cross that seamlessly blends piety, pageantry and ritual. Plus, it's the perfect excuse to show off the prettiest ladies--and the most beautiful gowns.

99. Native wear and costumes. Baro't saya, tapis, terno, saya, salakot, bakya. Lovely form and ingenious function in the way we dress.

100. Quirks of language that can drive crazy any tourist listening in: "Bababa ba?" "Bababa!"

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