Thursday, February 02, 2006

Why I Think I'm Still in the Philippines #1

1. My father comes from Batangas, where they have that ala-eh punto. So when I came here to the south of France, I didn't mind that they don't cut the ends off their words as they do in Paris, that they sometimes even add an "n" and a "g." I find it adorably quirky that to say "hand," le main, you don't pronounce it "luh mah" but rather "luh meng"; and the French word for "when," quand, doesn't sound like the "kauhn" they teach you at Alliance Française, but more like "kang." You want to buy bread, le pain? The boulanger will look at you funny if you utter "luh pah." Stretch it and curl it, and you'll get your "luh peng."

2. I used to live near the Mandaluyong City circle, where it was not unheard of to bring out motor boats after a big storm. Now that I'm a resident of one of the world's richest countries, I'm still not exempt from flooding. Just a few months ago, after heavy rains, they evacuated two neighbouring villages. When the baha comes, we sometimes even have brownouts too.

3. When I was a kid and came down with a fever, my mom would have called over to the house an old woman who would poke my tummy and feel my head, then stick little square mirrors to my back. The woman would murmur some words under her breath, before pronouncing me soon cured and then taking her leave. That was the hilot. Last year, Pierre fell off a motorcycle and got seriously scraped on the legs and arms. The day after the accident we went to his aunt, an old woman who cupped her hands over the wounds while whispering incantations. C'était la hilot.

4. I used to go out with a boy who grew up in Malabon, where the people are so chummy they give neighborhood characters special nicknames. Fond of playing the guitar, my ex was called "Clapton." Lucky him. He had a neighbor who was christened "Lamok" and another one was "Manok." (For the benefit of non-Filipino readers, the first neighbor was "Mosquito" and second one "Chicken.") Over here, it's the same thing. There's a man, slight of built, that they call "Anchois." A mechanic whom I met just this afternoon is "Camoui." If they lived in Malabon they would be, respectively, "Dilis" and "Langis" ("Anchovy" and "Grease").

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

LOL. I agree a hundred percent with the first one! During my first week in Aix (was living in Lyon before) I went to France Telecom to set up an internet account. When I asked the man at the counter when I could expect service, he looked at his computer pensively and said : "Demeng. Après mideng." I had to call my husband afterwards to ask what it meant.
btw, did you get my email?

-kala

tommpouce said...

Good evening! I've come to your blog on a recommandation from Mik.
Seen through your eyes, France seems like a very lively place. I always loved the accent from "le midi", it sounds more colourful than the better known parisian accent!!
Your post got me curious about France again :-) Thanks alot.
Tom

houseonthebeach said...

damn ati, you write you well. incredibly nuanced. write ka lang nang write ha, tapos alam mo na, leh bouque :) wish you were, indeed, in manille.

houseonthebeach said...

i meant pala, you write SO well (and obviously i don't hahaha!)

apol said...

hey, ho! KALA, tu vas BIENG? :) i left a comment over at your blog. TOM, i love the accent too. if you don't read filipino, i just put some english translations into my last entry. TARA, you are in manila??!!! i am green with envy... please eat some lapid's chicharon for me.

Anonymous said...

hi apol! emailed you my...uh, email. Hehehe.
-Kala

Mariel said...

Apol!!! So, so funny---or should I say trés funny? Sorry ha, hindi ako marunong mag French :p Anyhoo, your blog is so cool and hilarious---and Pinay at heart :) We miss you back here, eat all the wonderful cheese and chewy bread for us! Mwah, mwah!!

apol said...

hi, MARIEL! i hope you're doing wonderfully. say hello to tata, anne, mia, and your boy alvin :)