Air Asia: An airline that needs to fly through Kuala Lumpur to almost any destination on the planet, making all travel approximately 24 hours. Not known for refunds after they change the schedule. Sorry, ALL airlines in the Philippines always change their schedule. Please accept my apology.
All Souls Day: One of the most significant days in the Filipino calendar. Whole families spend days preparing food to be left at the cemetery for the souls of the dear departed. The squatters appear to eat well on this day too.
Ambulance: Parked transport with an overwhelming desire to be busy. Unfortunately roads are not conducive to emergencies. An advertising hoarding for the mayor or barangay captain.
Answer: A question, e.g.
Q. “Does 2 + 2 equal 4?”
A. “Do you mean….?”
Apology: No appearance your worship.
Barangay Captain: An elected official whose word is law. His other word is money.
Basenji: Philippine media, politicians and judiciary when locals ACTUALLY murder a foreigner. (see also Pavlov’s Dogs)
Bawal Umihi Dito: Phrase from a dead dialect. No longer recognised. Rough translation: “Simply ignore me”.
Bible: Current western law would state that everything in the bible is inadmissible, as it is all hearsay evidence. Nobody who originally wrote it could be sworn in to “unhearsay” it. Lucky for the church that they managed to get separation from the state! Hearsay evidence is the most virulent form of evidence in the Philippines. Just make sure you are the instigator and not the defender.
Burglar: A Filipino with a work ethic.
Catholic Church: Do as I say, not as I do. A place where your soul can be purged and your pocket emptied (the cerebellum being emptied at birth).
Check out chick: Bored sales assistant whose role is to take supermarket customers money as slowly as possible. Applicants are required to be closely related to a 3 toed sloth. Staring into the distance also appears to be a major job requirement. Example: After scanning my items the COC (check out chick) picks up an item that somebody else left at the counter. “That’s not mine.” “That’s not mine.” “That’s not mine.” “That’s not mine.” 4 times! Wait for it., wait for it…”Is this yours ssiirr?” Other comments in the loop are: “Do you have smaller note?” “Do you have 1 (or2, 3, 4 or5) peso ssiirr?” See also Conscious.
Christian Science: The ability to cure imaginary diseases.
Conscious: Aware of one’s surroundings. OK, OK – I’m joking.
Conversation: Two locals yelling at each other. Concurrently!
Corruption: “They are doing it, so I’m doing it. But they are bad for doing it.”.
Decade: The period of time it takes to get your “warranty repair” returned. “It should be ready tomorrow Ssiirrr, but it will cost P900 because the warranty has expired.”
Directions: The art of getting lost. Everything is doon, or malayo or malapit. Explicit direction means “just past” MOA or some other well known landmark. “Just past” may be up to 10 kilometres.
Envelope: A brown A4 receptacle for keeping those important papers, passport photos etc. Envelopes cannot be posted in this country as the mail service has no experience with them. See also Direction.
Fever: An all-encompassing malaise that locals suffer from. Can range from a runny nose to multiple amputations.
Fiesta: In the Catholic Church, some fiestas are moveable or immovable. However, all of the Fiesta participants are immovable until they are full.
Filipino (2): A noise looking for somewhere to happen.
Filipino Restaurant: A corporation replete with clean licences and dirty hands. There are no menus in Filipino restaurants, as the options never vary from business to business. Any time is merienda time! These establishments can provide hours of enjoyment for whole Filipino families, as they entertain themselves waiting for their food to go cold, prior to ingesting.
Five abreast: Traditional Filipino method of perambulation on streets, in malls, etc.
Foreigner: Non Filipino whose role in life is:
1. Replace used toilet roll with a full one
2. Empty refrigerator of all second helpings that never got eaten
3. Step on bath mat, thereby keeping floor dry
4. Search for everything that got moved from its habitual resting place
5. Complaining about toilet roll, wasted food, bath mat, etc, etc.
6. Repeat steps 1 through 5
Forgetfulness: Precious gift from the Almighty, given to Filipinos to compensate for their lack of intelligence.
Frying Pan: A Teflon coated device which should always be washed vigorously with an iron scourer.
Haphazard: Probably an abbreviation of half hazard. Filipino method for parking, driving, walking, listening…pretty much anything really.
Heathen: A person who has the folly to worship only those things he can see and feel.
Hospital: An expensive type of hotel, infrequently attended by medical staff.
Illness: This is complicated, as one should never visit a medical professional when one has an illness. It is much better to accept the notion that someone with 3 years elementary education knows what is wrong, how to fix it and how to prevent it from happening again. So light a candle in a bucket of water, turn 3 times and wait for the miraculous cure. You may need to “drink” some medicine.
Inertia: Natural state of a Quiapo jeepney. Also a Filipino work habit.
Infrastructure: A Senator’s driveway or the completed portion of a bridge after the budget “ran out”. Outstanding examples may be seen on top of telegraph poles.
International Justice Mission: An organisation with more money than morals, more morals than brains and more brains than sense. A perfect example of the law of unintended consequences. Probably run by a Filipino, as the same mistaken results happen every time. Often the victim only really becomes a victim after the IMJ unhappily enters their life. See also Unemployment.
Lechon: A pig has been substituted for a human in the traditional catholic burning at the stake. It’s a fortunate piece of serendipity that blasphemers aren’t still stoned to death as I believe it is difficult to ignite rocks. Fiestas are when the most blasphemy takes place.
Lost and Found: Anything not padlocked will be lost. Then found – by a local. Often at the same time.
Mini Stop: A place for hot dogs after Apu in “The Simpsons” has no further use for them.
NPA: A benign organisation that, in conjunction with the Catholic Church, has taken upon itself the onerous task of advising Filipinos how to live their lives. And sometimes how to end them.
Notary Public: An extremely busy individual, concerned with stamping and signing documents when he / she has no idea of their veracity. Notarised documents are required for all activities of foreigners, including riding in a jeepney. It will come as no surprise to long term residents, that it is simply easier to get an appropriate seal made up at Mama Rosa’s and do it yourself.
Oblivious: A Filipino’s comprehension of his surroundings (see also Conscious).
Parental Supervision: An oxymoron that has reached maturity. Normally a few kicks when the father is replete with Red Horse.
Pavlov’s Dogs: Philippine media, politicians and judiciary when a foreigner is ACCUSED of murdering a Filipino. (See also Basenji).
Paying attention: A measurable amount of time. Just under a nanosecond.
Pinoy Tasty: A brand of bread with a ludicrous name.
Preventive Maintenance: Repairing the thing that just broke.
Post Office: See Lost and Found.
Sensible: A method whereby a task can be undertaken. 180 degrees variance from the Filipino method.
Sio Mai: A rapid cure for diarrhoea, but surprisingly, an effective emetic for the top end.
Showtime: The loudest known noise in the Universe. The producers were the guinea pigs for Dr Clarke’s bionic ear. Unfortunately, the testing took place with no batteries in the device.
Sinigang: Vinegar with attitude
Taxi: A form of paid transportation with a meter for an ornament. Can fit into the smallest gaps thereby only losing 2 car lengths compared to the vehicle that stayed in its own lane.
Thought: Slippery concept. Something a foreigner may say to a Filipino (“hold that thought”). Unfortunately they all get away.
Unemployment: According to Government statistics, the level of unemployment has stayed steady at 7.2% for the last 4 years. If the decimal point was moved 1 character to the right, I think it may still be an underestimate. But what would I know, being a foreigner?
Violation: A foreigner driving correctly. Before breakfast.
Water Pressure: A random number generator.
Western Food: A healthy alternative, completely indigestible to locals.
Wife: The bitter half.