Existentials and Negation in Tagalog: “May”, “Mayroon”, “Hindi” and “Wala”

There are two words to negate something in Tagalog: hindi and wala


The word hindi, meaning no or not, and the word wala, indicating non-existence or absence.

Hindi is the opposite of oo meaning yes, and it is also used to talk about what a person or something is not


Pilipino ka ba? (are you Filipino?)

Two possible answers: Hindi ako Pilipino=I am not Filipino; hindi=no

Hindi ako Amerikano=I am not American

Hindi siya maganda=she is not beautiful

Gusto mo bang pumunta sa Jollibee?=would you like to go to Jollibee?

Answer: hindi=no


Wala is the opposite of mayroon meaning there is (example mayroon maraming Pilipino sa Roma=there are many Filipinos in Rome) or to have (mayroon akong panahon ngayon=I have time today).

Here are few examples:

Wala maraming Pilipino sa mga maliit na bayan ng Italya=there are not that many Filipinos in small Italian towns

Wala akong pera=I haven’t got any money

nasa kusina ba ang TV?=is the TV set in the kitchen?

Answers: wala=no; wala sa kusina ang TV=the TV set is not in the kitchen


To talk about the existence of something, Filipinos use may or mayroon (sometimes Filipinos use the more colloquial form meron).

Difference between may and mayroon

Mayroon, must be followed by an adverb of place or a personal pronoun

For example, if I am using the personal pronoun ako immediately after mayroon, I can’t use may

I can say mayroon akong pera but I can’t say may akong pera. If I want to use the may instead of mayroon I have to move the personal pronoun to the end of the sentence and say: may pera ako

Mayroon is a full word that can standalone, while may has to be followed by a noun, verb, adverb, adjective.

For example, if I ask the question:

May pera ba si Mario?

I can answer with mayroon siya

If I wanted to use the may instead, I would have to say may pera si Mario

Kung Papaano Pumayat sa Loob ng Maikling Panahon

Ako noong 2009
Ako ngayon

Paano nangyari iyon?



Magic pills?


Mga magastos na produkto na binibili online?

Hindi rin

Ito ang solusyon: maraming kamatis at ibang uri ng fresh vegetables at whole grain lang ang mga tinapay o kanin at kaunti lang…hindi pala alak ang nasa bote kundi ….. juice ng ubas

Gusto ba ng sinuman sa inyo pumayat sa pamamagitan ng magic pills habang patuloy na kumakain ng maraming tsitseria, kanin at baboy at umiinom ng maraming soft drinks?

Walang pag-asa…..

The Filipino Concept of Sincerity vs the Western Idea of Sincerity

A typical house compound where different family units belonging to the same extended family live

The “Culture Shock Philippines” book defines the Filipino culture as a culture that is “people oriented” while Western cultures tend to be more “goal oriented”.

So the question “are Westerners more sincere than Filipinos?” must be viewed in the light of the “people oriented” over “goal oriented” frame that Filipinos operate from in almost every situation.

I have already touched on this aspect in my article about the Filipino concept of sincerity and, again, I must give credit to the “Culture Shock Philippines” book by Alfredo and Grace Roces where I got this idea from that greatly helped me understand my wife’s psychology. https://buildingfilipinowesternbridges.com/2018/09/19/dealing-with-the-filipino-concept-of-sincerity/

The book says something along the lines of ‘a Westerner doesn’t hold back from telling it “as it is” if a CAUSE or a higher goal is at stake. For example a Western boss will likely not think twice before scolding a secretary for arriving late at work and even if she cries he will keep scolding her because the cause of punctuality is more important than her feelings and if she gets hurt so be it’.

Filipinos prefer keeping SMOOTH INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS and, more often than not, would rather sacrifice a cause than hurt somebody.

How does this knowledge affect your intimate relationship with a Filipina?

Often you have to put a “smooth relationship” with both her and her family above other goals and values.

For example, it might happen that your Filipina spouse will try to please both you and her extended family, even if this entails saying one thing to you and it’s opposite to her family, because SMOOTH INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS always take precedence, and I have seen it happening countless times.

So when your Filipina seems to be dealing with you in half-truths, as Filipinos often do, the question “are Westerners more sincere than Filipinos?” should be replaced with “how is she trying to move on the razor’s edge of trying to be both loyal to me and to her family or to other fellow Filipinos?”

Another thing to remember when the question “are Westerners more sincere than Filipinos?” arises in your mind is that probably us Westerners tend to be more straightforward in one to one relationships but in my country, as well as in most Western countries, politicians, business people, advertisers, car dealers and many others deal not just in half-truths but rather in plain lies.

Here in Italy politicians promise new jobs (like a former prime minister who promised 1,000,000 new jobs in few years), new infrastructures, better social welfare and lower taxes (which is a very tall order to fill, as social welfare is supported by tax payers) and many other things but once they secure for themselves their 12,000 € a month wage or above, all those promises turn out to be propaganda at most.

When you buy a second hand car here in Italy, car dealers or former owners sometimes lie on the actual mileage and some pass off cars with many miles as slightly used and mechanics sometimes do more repairs than what the car actually needs and if you don’t have some diskarte and have limited knowledge of how a car works, they will most likely cheat you (a mechanic tried to charge me 90€ to change two LPG filters that barely cost 10€ each).

So here in Italy, as well as in much of the Western world, people often deal in outright lies but often Westerners who interact with Filipinos get mad at their perceived lack of sincerity and so did I for many years.

Also the Tagalog language has a rather limited vocabulary to talk about such diverse concepts as “sincerity”, “faithfulness” and “loyalty” and, as I have pointed out in my article on the word tapat https://buildingfilipinowesternbridges.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/faithful-or-loyal-tapat-or-tapat/, they only have one word to talk about people who are merely “faithful” and those who are actually “loyal” (or people who show up as sincere without necessarily being truly loyal) and not just “faithful” and, therefore, the distinction between those diverse concepts is difficult to highlight in Tagalog.

So, sometimes, for the sake of being “faithful” (tapat) to everyone Filipinos may sacrifice being “loyal” (also tapat) to a higher cause. But that also happens in the West, it is just that we can be very good at saying things in somebody’s face in the name of loyalty to a higher cause like punctuality and so on but we are also very good at forgetting all about other higher causes (and even one to one sincerity for that matter) when money and self-interest are at stake.

So, are Westerners more sincere than Filipinos?

I have come to the conclusion that us Westerners, and particularly us Italians, have little to teach to Filipinos when it comes to sincerity.

Pseudo-verbs in Tagalog

In the English language there are the so-called modal verbs that are used to talk about needs and wants (must, shall, will, should, would, can, could, may, and might).

In Tagalog there are the so-called pseudo-verbs that have a more or less similar function.

The reason why they are called pseudo-verbs is because they have no verbal aspect, so they are not conjugated (in Tagalog there are only verbal aspects not tenses like in English), nor do they have any affixes attached to them indicating focus.

These verbs are:

Gusto like

Ayaw dislike

Kailangan need

Pwede can

Maaari might

Dapat must


These 3 pseudo-verbs can be used both in sentences where the doer of the action is in focus and in sentences where the actor is not in focus


Actor in focus:

Pwede akong pumunta sa bahay ni Mario

Maaaring tumawag ang asawa ko sa akin (in this case, because the pseudo-verb comes before the verb, it is linked to it by –ng)

Dapat akong bumili ng pagkain

Actor not in focus


Pwede kong tulungan sila

Maaaring ibigay ko ang isang regalo sa anak ko

Dapat kong isulat ang isang liham


These pseudo-verbs always go with ng pronouns so you never say gusto ako but always gusto KO or ayaw KO.

Ayaw ko can be shortened as ayoko


“Nanay, tatay, gusto kong tinapay” (or a more modern version: “nanay, tatay, gusto ko isang tagay….”)

Gusto kong bilhin ang pagkain

Gusto kong bumili ng pagkain

Ayaw kong bumili ng pagkain (or ayoko bumili ng pagkain)

Gusto ko ng alak

Ayoko ng alak

How to Build a Bridge in an Interracial Marriage

(I am reblogging this old post)

As husband of a Filipina I find that being in a mixed marriage is probably one of the trickiest experiences one can have. The “Culture Shock Philippines” book by Alfredo and Grace Roces talks about the predicament of a well meaning Westerner who is sincerely looking for ways to build a bridge with Filipinos […]

How to Build a Bridge in an Interracial Marriage

Foreigner na Mahiyain at Pilipinang Mahilig sa Pakikihalubilo

Mahilig ako sa katahimikan

Mahilig ang mga Pilipino sa pakikihalubilo

Ang isa sa pinakamalaking mga hamon sa aking pag-aasawa, bilang foreign na asawa ng isang Pilipina, ay na ang misis ko ay galing sa isang kultura na mahilig sa maraming pakikisama at pakikihalubilo samantala ako ay mas mahilig sa pagbubukod sa sarili at medyo reserbado ako.

Pwede kayang gumana ang relasyon sa pagitan ng isang babae na mahilig sa maraming pakikisama at isang lalaki na mas mahiyain at hindi gaanong mahilig sa maraming pakikisama?

Heto ang ilang mga bentaha ng pagiging isang lalaki na mas mahilig sa pagbubukod ng sarili kaysa sa labis ng pakikihalubilo at kung gaano, sa totoo, kapaki-pakinabang ito sa pag-aasawa.

Pinahahalagan ng isang taong hindi masyadong mahilig sa labis ng pakikihalubilo ang pagkakaroon ng de-kalidad na mga relasyon

Kahit mahilig ako sa pagbubukod ng sarili hindi naman hermit ako: mayroon akong mga kaibigan, kaya lang, sa halip na magkaroon ng napakaraming mababaw na mga relasyon, mayroon akong kaunting mga kaibigan pero ang mga iyon ay de-kalidad na mga kaibigan.

Ang posibleng mangyari sa mga taong may labis na pakikisama (at least sa ilan sa kanila) at na may napakaraming mga mababaw na relasyon sila ay na madaling pinuputol nila ang relasyon sa isang kaibigan kung may kaunting di-pagkakaunawaan dahil, tutal, marami silang kaibigan at option.

Sa kabilang banda mas malaki ang posibilidad na ang mas reserbadong uri ng tao na mas mahilig sa pagkakaroon ng kaunting kaibigan ay gagawa ng lahat ng makakaya para maging matalik at de-kalidad ang kanyang mga relasyon at kung may problema lulutasin iyon imbes na tumakas at, bilang resulta, gagawa siya lahat ng paraan para maging matalik na kaibigan ang kanyang kabiyak at lutasin ang lahat ng uri ng hamon at problema.

Ang taong hindi masyadong mahilig sa labis ng pakikihalubilo ay nagbubukod ng sarili nang medyo madalas

at, sa palagay ko, ito ay isang malaking tulong para sa relasyon.

Ang regular na pagbubukod ng sarili ay nagpapahintulot sa akin na nagmuni-muni tungkol sa kung ano ang gumagana o hindi gumagana sa relasyon at bulay-bulayin kung papaano gumawa ng kinakailangang pagbabago

Mas mapayapa ang relasyon sa isang taong hindi masyadong mahilig sa pakikihalubilo

Bilang taong mahilig sa pagbubukod ng sarili komportable ako sa pag-iisa.

Sa pag-aasawa may mga situwasyon kung saan kailangang umalis at ibukod ang sarili, halimbawa kapag sobrang mainit ang ulo ng kabiyak at, syempre, dahil hindi problema para sa akin ang pag-iisa mas madali para sa akin lumayo mula sa misis ko kapag mainit ang situwasyon at hindi kapaki-pakinabang pilitin siya na makipag-usap.

At malaking tulong ito upang maging mapayapa ang relasyon.

So, para sa akin at batay sa aking karanasan, talagang kapaki-pakinabang kapag ang isang taong sobrang mahilig sa pakikihalubilo ay nagiging asawa ng isang taong mas mahilig sa katahimikan.

Similarities and Differences Between English and Tagalog

The Philippines is an ex US colony and English is widely used in the Philippines.

In Tagalog there are a lot of English loan words like gadyet, kompyuter, tren etc.

However there are huge differences (and there are similarities as well) between the two languages and here are some differences and similarities (at least the ones that I have been able to find).

I think it is important to know those differences and similarities because if you are a non-English speaker who wishes to learn Tagalog you can hardly do so without learning English first.

There are Westerners whom I know who can’t speak English and they have learned some Tagalog but, because most Tagalog grammar textbooks are written in English, it is much more challenging to learn Tagalog without using English as a “bridge”.

So here are some of the differences between English and Tagalog


In Tagalog words are spelled as they are pronounced (and for an Italian like me this is a huge advantage because Italian is also this way)

Nine English consonants do not occur in Tagalog: /v/, /j/, /z/, voiced and voiceless th, sh, dz, ch, z.

English phonology includes several more vowels and diphthongs than Tagalog.

Auxiliary verbs

Tagalog does not have an auxiliary or linking verb (such as “to be” or “will” in English).

For example I will eat in Tagalog is kakain ako without any auxiliary verbs


Pronouns in Tagalog (ako, ikaw, siya etc.) do not indicate gender.

A pronoun can refer to either “he” or “she.”

For example pumunta siya sa palengke can mean both she went to the market and he went to the market


English: plural is formed by adding s while in Tagalog the word mga is placed before a noun



Aklat/mga aklat


All Tagalog nouns including proper names always require markers

Example “Peter is reading a book“. In Tagalog I can’t just say “Pedro ay nagbabasa ng isang aklat“, I have to use the marker “si” before the personal name and say “si Pedro ay nagbabasa…”

Word order is different

For example in a sentence like “I am ugly” (or beautiful….I am trying to be modest) the word order is completely switched in Tagalog and therefore the Tagalog translation is “pangit (ugly) ako (I)”.

However in Tagalog there is the “ay” inverter that, if used, the word order can be reversed and I can say “ako ay pangit” (keep in mind that “ay” is not the verb “to be”: there is no verb “to be” in Tagalog).

Word order in English conveys meaning while in Tagalog meaning is created by changing the affix

The dog bit the man”
“The man bit the dog”

By changing the order and sequence of the words the meaning changes completely.

In Tagalog you don’t change the order and sequence but only the affix”Kumagat ang aso ng tao”
“Kinagat ang aso ng tao

In Tagalog the last syllable is often stressed and changes the meaning

For example the word ba’ka means “cow” while baka’ means “perhaps”


Tense vs aspect

In English there are 3 tenses being past, present and future (even if some say that the “future” is not a real tense in English, but, for the sake of simplicity, let’s call it “tense”).

A tense is basically concerned with “when” a certain action happened

Within each tense there are four aspects in English: simple, progressive, perfect, perfect-progressive.

An aspect is concerned with if a certain action is completed, in progress or contemplated

Filipino verbs are not conjugated for tense, rather they are conjugated for aspect.

This means that instead of focusing on the past, present, and future, the verbs are conjugated in order to express:
Completed action
Incompleted action
Contemplated action

In English, for example, a past action has 4 aspects to it:

I did
I was doing
I had done
I had been doing

In Tagalog the completed action is only expressed through the completed aspect gumawa ako (or ginawa ko)


A mood is a verb category or form which indicates whether the verb expresses a fact (the indicative mood), a command (the imperative mood), a question (the interrogative mood), a condition (the conditional mood), or a wish or possibility (the subjunctive mood).

Grammatical mood is also expressed through Filipino verbs. These moods provide additional context to the sentence.

For example, in addition to the “indicative” mood, or the main mood used to talk about situations that are not characterized by uncertainty, like for example “nagbasa ako ng aklat” (I read a book), in Tagalog there are other moods like

Social mood maki-

Example: Nakikain akó sa mga kaibigan ko.
“I ate with my friends.

“Potential mood naka

Example: Hindi siya nakapagsasalita ng Tagalog.
“He was not able to speak Tagalog.”

The imperative in Tagalog is formed by using the infinitive form of a verb + the personal pronoun, example: tumayo ka=stand up, tumahimik ka=be quiet

Conditional in Tagalog: an English sentence like if I had more money I would stop working has it’s equivalent in Tagalog but, as far as I know, cannot be technically called a “conditional mood”. The Tagalog equivalent is something like: kung mayroon sana (“sana” is a Tagalog expression meaning “hopefully”) akong mas maraming pera hihinto sana ako sa trabaho

Subjunctive: an expression like I wish you were here can be translated as gusto ko sana na nandito ka but, again, I doubt that this kind of expression can be technically called a “subjunctive” in Tagalog.

Interrogative: to ask questions Filipinos use the word ba.


May pera ka is a statement=you’ve got money

May pera ka ba? is a question=have you got any money?

In English there are gerunds and participles which are formed by using verbs as nouns or adjectives. There are participles in Tagalog.

In Tagalog participles are formed by means of the affix naka– attached to the root word, ex nakatayo = standing (“standing” is a verb in English but in this context it acts as an adjective while nakatayo is not a verb, it is not the completed aspect of makatayo, it’s the prefix naka- that has nothing to do with the abilitative verbal form maka-)

As far as I know there is no such thing as a gerund (an –ing verb like singing that acts like a noun) in Tagalog, an expression like I like singing can be translated as gusto kong kumanta where kumanta is the infinitive of the verb to sing and it doesn’t act as a noun.


And, last but not least in English there are two voices: active and passive

In Tagalog there are active and passive voices too:
“Kumagat ang aso ng tao”=the dog bit the man
“Kinagat ng aso ang tao”=the man was bitten by the dog

So here are some of the differences and similarities between English and Tagalog that I have been able to find.

Let me know if I have neglected something

Being Right vs Being in Love in a Mixed-race Marriage

It has been said many times and in many ways that if you are in an intimate relationship you need to consistently ask yourself the question: “do I want to be right or do I want to be in love in this situation?

  • Insistence on being right gets in the way of intimacy

The author of a book called “Communication Miracles for Couples”, Jonathan Robinson, says: “The bad news is, if you want a happy and loving relationship, you’re going to have to give something up: your insistence on being right. When you insist on being right, what you indirectly communicate to your partner is that she is wrong. You simply can’t insist on being right (a form of blame) and have intimacy. Believe me, I’ve tried. It’s like trying to have complete darkness and light in the same room. The good news is, if you’re willing to let go of being right, you can easily experience plenty of love, harmony, and fulfillment in your relationship”.

Making people wrong creates separation while choosing to be in love and letting go of the need to be right creates intimacy (in the sense of “into me see”).

  • Why being in love rather than right can be tricky in an interracial marriage

I am married to a Filipina and when a Western guy is married to a woman who comes from a developing country he is basically married to a woman who runs her life according to the very mindset that accounts for the fact that her country is where it is socio-economically.

As I have abundantly mentioned in this blog, the Filipino mentality has many aspects to it that stunt the progress of the Philippines as well as the socio-economical progress of many Filipinos who live in more developed countries.

For this reason the urge to feel quote-unquote “right” can be particularly strong for a Westerner who is married to a Filipina, or to a person who comes from any other quote-unquote “less developed” (at least economically speaking) nation, hence the tendency to “bash the environment that he himself has chosen to inhabit” (as the book “Culture Shock Philippines” by Alfredo and Grace Roces puts it).

The Filipino mentality (and the third-world mentality in general) can sabotage the efforts of a well-meaning Western husband who is trying to run his family’s economy (and everything else that is connected to it) in an efficient way and the inevitable urge to argue and correct arises pretty often in this kind of relationship.

Yet the author of the above mentioned book (as well as several other relationship books) says that you’ve got to drop the righteous mode and put on the loving one thereby letting go of your entitlement to be right for the sake of “into me see”, for the sake of loving connection and for the sake of union vs separation.

It’s tricky, I must admit to that. It is extremely hard but, if you are married to a woman from a developing country who sends you into a frenzy when she acts out her “developing country” ways, playing the righteous will not get you any positive results.

  • How can I help my spouse to grow if I completely let go of the need to be right?

On the other hand the “Culture Shock Philippines” raises a very important question: “If all I do is play a part, adjusting my behavior to my hosts, then what will I be contributing to the community?” And, “Should I be, and can I be, actor enough to be false to what I value as right and good?”.

So how can I balance the need to be in love rather than right with the need to uphold my standards of right and wrong and contribute to the little Filipino “community” I have chosen to share my life with? After all isn’t creating added value what entering a relationship entails? A person who adds value touches something (or someone) and makes it better: if you do nothing and say nothing for the sake of love what are you “contributing” and how are you making a difference in your partner’s life? Isn’t it the case that a true friend is the one who brings out the best in the other person? How can I bring out the best in my foreign spouse if I drop righteousness? Isn’t there a risk that if all I do is let go of any need to make my foreign spouse wrong (when she is objectively wrong) and create this amazing atmosphere where there is nothing but love, peace, flowers, rainbows and butteflies not only will I fail to be the true friend who brings out the best in his mate and helps her to grow but I will also be chopped down to her quote-unquote “third-world” level and, as a result, my savings and my efforts to run my family wisely (at least financially) will go down the drain?

  • Being right and blaming close people’s mind

Jonathan Robinson goes on to say “It (blame) can gradually creep into the entire way couples talk to each other—until all the love once shared becomes completely polluted” and this is the point: the key is mastering the ability to help your spouse to grow and adopt your quote-unquote “first world” standards without putting on a blaming mode and using a blaming language that will make the way you say things that need to be said ineffective and will only close the mind of your foreign spouse and make her even more entrenched and set in her ways.

Filipinos are particularly keen to closing their minds when they sense that you are making them wrong.

So, as Italian husband of a Filipina, I have come to the conclusion that, yes, my responsibility is to be the true friend that brings out the best in my foreign wife and help her to part with the aspects of her culture and mentality that (at least from a Western perspective) get in the way of her progress and, as the”Culture Shock Philippines” book says, heeding the advice to be in love rather than right doesn’t mean that I have to be “actor enough to be false to what I value as right and good”.

I do have the responsibility to help my wife do what’s right but I have to figure out a way to do that by coming from a place of love, intimacy, connection and rapport and by paying extra attention to the way I communicate that something that my wife is doing needs to change.

Dale Carnegie in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” said that “if you want to gather honey you must not kick over the beehive”.

So, trying to get your foreign spouse to do the right thing by putting on the righteous mode, by bashing and attacking her culture and mentality will get you no results.

The only way you can expect to bring out the best in your foreign spouse is by coming from a loving place and dropping, for a good long while, the urge to argue, blame, correct and attack and only when intimacy and rapport is built can you, very patiently, start the process of getting your foreign spouse to change.

Personal and Demonstrative Pronouns (Pang-halip Panao at Pamatlig) in Tagalog

There are three types of pronouns in Tagalog:

  • Ang pronouns (personal and demonstrative)
  • Ng pronouns (personal and demonstrative)
  • Sa pronouns (personal and demonstrative)


These are the pronouns in focus, or, in other words, the pronouns that are used with mag-, -um-, maka-, makapag- and some ma- verbs

Personal (panao)

Ako: I

Ikaw (used at the beginning of the sentence)/ka (used in other parts of the sentence): you

Siya: he/she

Kami (we exclusive: excludes the hearer or the person being addressed)/tayo (we inclusive): we

Kayo: You

Sila: They

Example: pumunta ako sa bahay ni Mario, pumunta ka sa bahay ko etc.

Demonstrative (pamatlig)

Ito this

Iyan that (near the hearer or the person being addressed)

Iyon that (far from the speaker and the hearer)

Example: ano ba ito? (What is this?), Ano ba iyan/iyon? (What is that?)


These are the pronouns that are not in focus and go with ng verbs (i-, -in, ma-, -an)

Personal (panao)

Ko my

Mo your

Niya his/her

Namin (esclusive)/natin (inclusive) our

Ninyo Your

Nila their

Demonstrative (pamatlig)

Nito (of) this

Niyan (of) that (near the hearer)

Niyon (of) that (far from the hearer)

They indicate


Example: ang bahay ko=my house

Direct object

Example: bumili ako (focus) nito (not in focus)=I bought this

Actor not in focus

Example: binili ko ang kotse=the car is what (the car is in focus) I (actor not in focus) bought


Personal (panao)

Akin me/mine

Iyo you/yours

Kanya he/his

Amin (exclusive)/Atin (inclusive) we/our

Inyo You/Your

Kanila they/their

These pronouns have four functions:


Example: ang aking bahay (my house)


Examples: pupunta ako sa iyo=I am going to you (or your house), ibinibigay ko ang libro sa kanya=I am giving him the book


Example: ang susi ng kotse ay nasa akin=the car key is with me

Demonstrative (pamatlig)

Dito/rito here

Diyan/riyan there (near the hearer)

Doon/roon (far from the hearer)

These also indicate


Example: pupunta ako doon=I’ll go there


Example: bumili ako ng regalo para dito=I bought a gift for this


Example: dito sa Italya= here in Italy

So these are the various pang-halip (panao=personal at pamatlig=demonstrative) in Tagalog

“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

An unggoy who has only had contacts with Filipinos who have no gubat on their bodies

Yes, Joe Nobody, 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