Usually about how handsome I am or asking each other about what they think the situation is like in my pants. They talk a lot of smack about my gf and how she must be a gold digger being with a foreigner, how she is hogging equipment in the gym (they seem to feel that free weights are for men only because they don't say sh*t when I'm in the rack for 20-30 minutes), some talk about the clothes my gf wears, some flirt with her right in front of me.
Of course, I've been here for quite some time and can make sense of a lot of it with the key words I know, body language and tone. If sitting down with a group of Filipinos I can listen in and occasionally contribute to the conversation (in English, of course). However, I ignore most of it and don't step in or say anything, especially on the negative stuff, for several reasons; I could be interpreting it wrong, I don't want to escalate the situation, I don't want them to know just how much I understand and to let them keep on digging, I probably won't ever see them again (or remember that I saw them in the first place)...but mostly because I don't know these people or care about their opinions and have been trying really hard to get my gf to brush off these baseless criticisms from complete strangers. They just don't matter. But that is easy for me to say when I can't fully understand 90% of what is being said around me or how it is being said. I'm sure if I heard many of those things being said in English right in front of me I might not take it nearly as well as she does.
Best Posts in Thread: BISAYA, OR NOT TO BISAYA?
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My wife has taught me a few words in our short time here. I have no idea which of them are Tagalog and which Visayan, which are slang and which not, nor which are OK to publish here uncensored. The spellings may be incorrect:
These seem to get us through most situations, but I'd like to learn some more.
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Years ago before we decided to live here full time i had a notion to learn the language, as my working conditions included being on a floating steel island for 28 days at a time i had plenty of time on my hands, i started an online course of Tagalog and as there were a few Filipino crew on board i used to try a few phrases on them, most of the time this was met with laughter from them, very discouraging, i was not sure if the laughter was because i was mispronouncing things in a funny way or if they were taking the p1ss or if they were getting nervous that i might know what they were saying.
During my time off we would often spend time here and i would observe my wife interacting with locals and locals interacting with each other and it seemed to me as if most of the time they did not have a clue what each other was saying, for example it took a long conversation to get a coke with no ice, 1st attempt coke came with glass of ice, 2nd attempt glass and ice taken away and bottle left, 3rd attempt my wife had to go to the bar and ask for an empty glass or a straw, got a straw.
After witnessing many similar incidents i decided i did not have the patience for this and gave up all endeavours to learn the language.
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If you try to get the attention or speak to a girl younger than or same age as you and whose name you do not know (e.g. in a market stall), you call her Day. If the person is a boy, younger than or same age as you, you call him Dong. Among friends, their use indicates sisterly or brotherly affection. If they are older than you, you call the woman Manang (or Nang for short) which is an address for an older sister and the man, Manong or Manoy (Nong or Noy for short) which is an address for an older brother. You may have to be careful in their use as some people may not be pleased being addressed as older than you; even respectfully.
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Ate/kuya ( I believe that is Filipino for sister/brother) is commonly used as a respectful term for people the speaker feels is just a bit older than them. I don't know the bisaya equivalent for this but I occasionally hear it here, especially the ate thing, not so much the kuya.
I hear a lot of people saying "die" to females and "dong" to males here but I think that is even less formal/polite as I believe this only means girl/boy.
I never fully understood when and who I should use these terms with and where I fit in to it. The po thing is quite obvious with the elderly, I give them that respect (no matter the social context with Filipinos...however, I have never been in a situation where I felt it appropriate to address an elderly expat as sir/ma'am) and most younger children give me a "po". However, I rarely use the term after the initial greeting and nobody seems to have a problem with it...and I tell kids it isn't necessary and to relax if they continue to use it throughout a conversation.
I feel that the ate/kuya thing could be risky to use. What if the person I called that was actually younger than me but just looked really rough for their age. Would they consider that rude?
What about Filipinos in position of authority? Say I'm at a work event for my gf: my gf has a supervisor she calls po, but the supervisor, being younger than me, calls me kuya? What level of respect do I give the supervisor? What if the owner of the business was there and is much older than me?
This is why I don't like to let anyone know what I understand and don't understand about Filipino languages and culture. I know just enough to get myself in trouble/hurt some feelings. If they think I'm completely ignorant of these things I can use that as an excuse when I inevitably offend someone.
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I have Facebook messenger on auto-translate (although it only seems to work in some circumstances) and manual translate when something looks mildly interesting. Facebook does not seem to cope well with either Tagalog, in for example official pronouncements, nor in the weird mix of Visayan, Tagalog, English and slang used in messages and friend posts. Most translations come out quite meaningless.
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