Kuya, Ate and Nicknames-Nicknames; What’s It All About?

I never understood the concept of this : using Kuya, Ate and nicknames for everybody.

From what I heard, Kuya is used when talking to a man older than yourself and Ate is used for the same purpose when it’s a woman. To show “respect”.

The very first time I met my brother in law, he started the conversation by saying 2 things. The first one was his name and the second one was : “You can call me Kuya”. Why it was so important for that man to inform me immediatly about him being “Kuya”. The way he talked to me was like he was superior to me. He was only 2 years older. So when I had to approach somebody of the relative clan, I always had to remember if I had to say kuya or ate or just their name. Oh no wait, you don’t have to use their name, they all have nicknames. Nice, what’s the purpose of that ?? Well that one her name is Rosalinda, but we call her Bachoy. And her sister is Jen, but we call her Bang Bang. The name of the brother is Rosario, but we call him Jingle. Huh ???

I ended up using no titles and no names to talk to them. Why should I call somebody Kuya or ate, just because they are older? And why should somebody call me Kuya because he is younger than me? We’re all humans, aren’t we ? And still all those nicknames. When a child is born, they give the baby a name, and they never use it afterwards. Instead they use a nickname that sound like total idiot.

Published in Humor


  1. Profile gravatar of Captain PFB
    Captain PFB

    Here’s what I don’t understand….

    Respect is earned. And I don’t give a fuck if it’s my own father, if he behaves like a fucking drunken lazy fuck who makes my mother slave her ass off to earn an income, 70% of which father selfishly spends on Red Horse, you’re NOT getting my respect. Not only will I NOT call you “Kuya”, I will call you “Worthless piece of shit”.

    But that is a concept the dumbfuck Filo can’t understand. The culture is, if you’re older, you must have the respect from younger, regardless of your behavior. The Filipino thinks he should be respected positionally. Nevermind if your actions are the furthest thing from respectable! “I’m older, you must respect me!” I call BULLSHIT on this one.

    Behave with at least a measurable level of respectability, I will give you the respect you DESERVE. Behave like an irresponsible dumbfuck, you get no respect from me.

    And this is why there are so many IRRESPONSIBLE DUMBFUCKS in Philippines. They get the respect they demand. Why should they FUCKING EARN IT?

    1. Profile gravatar of Pinay Lover
      Pinay Lover

      I think this is part of the reason why parents have so fucking much control over their kid’s. They automatically get superiority over their children since they are older and “wiser”. Filipino offspring never seem to break out of this spell, since they were pimped all their lives they accept the dictatorial abusers and give everything to them without thought. They’ve been trained this way to serve their masters and never question authority. The beliefs of these people are all so fucking retarded the more I find out, the more I just shake my head at the primitive mentality.

      Just like the Pimp and his hoes, the hoes do all the work while the pimp gets 90% of their pay, nothing much is different with Pinoy mentality. The off spring work their ass off for their masters, shorten their lives and give all their hard earns away to the useless parasite parents. And now finding out about this bullshit that you automatically worship and praise people older than you is even more retarded. But Pinoy’s will find every excuse in the book to get a cheap worship from someone. Just give them one compliment and they’ll blush like little school girls.

      Children wanting admiration for being children. That is the culture.

    2. Profile gravatar of BLX2

      A personal issue I have with respect is I consider humoring someone to be the very opposite of respect. It is a paradigm I will never be able to overcome, if I humor someone I do not respect their ability to use their brain to process verifiable information or common sense. I can’t help it, I see it as a demand to “respect” their right to be stupid. It creates a logic loop, disrespect a persons intelligence by “respecting” their right to be stupid, respect their right to remain ignorant.

  2. Profile gravatar of Penance

    Kuya=brother ate=sister is my understanding. Sorry, it’s very obvious we aren’t from the same gene pool. I’m doing laps and you haven’t figured out where the bottom of the kiddie pool is yet.

  3. Profile gravatar of Eve Was Framed
    Eve Was Framed

    This was one of the many things that always bothered me when I was growing up: why did everyone older than me (even by one year!) deserve a title of respect?

    When I had my second child, my family was shocked that my husband and I were adamant that no titles were used among siblings. My children also do not address their older cousins with an titles, much to the surprise of my siblings.

    Technically, ate and Kuya translate to older sister/older brother, but it is used for anyone older than you. All of my sisters’ friends were are and Kuya, too.

    I think The previous commenter is spot on: it’s a false sense of superiority. Titles make them feel important, revered. Because “Ate Rose” sounds a lot better than “skankslutwhorebag Rose.”

    1. Profile gravatar of Captain PFB
      Captain PFB

      LOL!!!! @ “skankslutwhorebag Rose”

      Yep, respect is not based on respectable behavior at all. It’s all about position. It’s actually the only way anyone can get respect in this country, because very few know how to actually behave respectably. It’s just that ongoing ass-backwardness that is The Philippines. They sure don’t know the first thing about butchering a chicken, but boy can they butcher the meaning and purpose of WORDS.

        1. Profile gravatar of 30-30

          u r wrong, mr eric,, it is ” Temporary Acting underseccretary to under secretary. if it is a woman needless she uses her ASSets to get promotions…
          give em both barrels….

        2. Profile gravatar of BLX2

          IT graduate working as Windows Systems Technician and Encoder. Oh boy, maybe someone I can geek talk with.

          Did you study any programming languages in school?: Yes
          Which ones?: (No reply)
          VB, C#, C, C++, Perl, PHP: Yes
          Which ones?: I forgot, but a couple sound familiar
          Which ones sound familiar?: I forget

          Do you slipstream updates, inject drivers or customize Window installs?: I don’t know what that is
          Does your company use XP or Windows 7?: I’m not sure
          You’re an encoder (I’m not sure what the position encoder does, program, data …): Yes
          What do you encode?: Print
          How do you encode print?: I print it on the printer

          Off topic –
          Pirated operating systems are the norm, even at chain stores with big signs notifying of penalties. Also reinstall services are available for between P500 and P1,500 (pirated) at computer shops and in home service. Unbranded official copies of Vista and Win 7 have been available online for free for years and branded copies are easy to make unbranded automated installs. Also unlike XP, both pirated Vista and Win 7 can be seamlessly activated very easily (it is impossible for MS to identify them, ever). Some do know how to correctly activate (and MS is unable to identify them online) but still are branded (check for inappropriate Brand under System in Control Panel). But others, even from “reputable” stores quickly start screaming Not Genuine Copy. Too lazy and incompetent to even be professional thief’s.

  4. Profile gravatar of kalbo

    “why did everyone older than me (even by one year!) deserve a title of respect?”

    It’s because people that demand you use a title for them have low self-esteem and have little confidence. They try to boost their egos using silly games like this because they know they cant deal with others on a level playing field.

    1. Profile gravatar of Philophobe

      “because they know they cant deal with others on a level playing field.”
      That’s also why they keep on blaming God, the government and their circumstances for everything that happens in their lives, while expecting us to admire them for their courage to endure those circumstances.
      Isn’t the usage of age as a proxy for respect (which Phil happens to share with African cultures) a sign of very backward societies? If the oldest guy in the village automatically gets the most respect, why would anyone try hard to earn it….
      Another interesting flaw of this culture that I never thought of, but that you have very well identified.

  5. Profile gravatar of Steve Declerck
    Steve Declerck Post author

    I love the illustration 🙂
    “Bong Bong” “Ding Dong”…. LOL 🙂

    It’s funny to see those men, even only 1 year older talking down on somebody else from an elevated position of superiority and “I know it all attitude”. These macho men with their sleeveless shirts and muscles 🙂

    1. Profile gravatar of Eric

      There is a “famous” actor here named Ding-Dong-something-or-other and when I laughed out loud at his name during a movie preview I got the stink eye from hell from the couple sitting in front of us. I seriously thought it was a joke..and that no one in their right mind would answer by the name of DING-DONG in public without a confrontation of some sort. Seriously?? DING-DONG??? dammit I just spit out my coffee again…

  6. Profile gravatar of Kevin

    they usually use kuya and ate if they talk to someone they dont know .
    the real calling for kuya and ate is when you’re his/her real older brother and sister .
    my brother used to call me kuya (i am 1 year older) but i dont act like superior to him .
    , so its like big bro ,big brother , bro . like that .

    1. Profile gravatar of Josh Randomtino
      Josh Randomtino

      sure you dont kevin. you don’t have to explain anything as if you are educating people here. This is the perception of backwards PC. “demanding respect purely because of age regardless of behaviour”. same deal with the mentality that having a higher position or being in a position of authority is an excuse to treat their subordinates like crap. I’ve seen this first hand in Africa and other 3rd world countries. Admit it. Being called Kuya does give you that sense of superiority but it;s not sincere. they think they’re being polite. it;s a cute gesture but it doesn’t demonstrate respect. especially when the nick names follow after ‘kuya or ate’ which is usually a nickname desgned to insult or embarass that person. it’s totally fucked up!

      1. Profile gravatar of BLX2

        “This is the perception of backwards PC”.

        My feelings are the opposite, I wonder sometimes if PC is a plagiarized concept of this very phenomenon. The twisting of reality by misusing and/or inserting positive “feeling” words or concepts. Politically Correct. The use of the word “correct” in its label to make it sound as if it must be right. Hard to argue against something that is wrong that is called Correct. PC is really TM. Thought Manipulation. Good, bad or indifferent, I need to face reality, not lie to myself so I feel good.