13 June 2010

Funny Batangueño Words


Tyron, one of the freshmen of the high school team, was celebrating his birthday today. His mom Eliza, one of my former students and now proprietress of a flourishing catering service, thought the best way for the kid to celebrate was with his teammates.

We had good food at the end of scrimmage, in other words, a novelty as far as I am concerned. Too bad, I told Eliza; for as long as I can remember, I just cannot bring myself to eat heartily after playing. Too many acids in the stomach…


So I tried the taco and the finger-sized rolls, the name of which eludes me at the moment…

But this is not about the food…

Walking out to Rob with Bierhoff, we both agreed that the food we both tried was of exceptionally good quality. That’s the reason, Bierhoff said, that he did not get too much of the rolls – either that or the baked macaroni – baka maluop raw siya

Hmmm… Luop… Strange new Batangueño word…

I initially thought he was afraid that the food would upset his stomach. But no, Bierhoff explained. What he meant was that he did not take too much because was afraid he would pine for the food, which would then be a problem because he did not know how to make it.


Ahhh… Mananabik

Sort of, Bierhoff agreed. But beyond that. Pining for the food to the point one gets a stomach ache.

Ahhh… I nodded, not really sure I understood. Suskopo Rudeh!!! And that’s supposed to be a Tagalog word? Strange little language this Tagalog, especially the variant spoken in this province.

Yesterday, on the phone with the Litel Gel, we had a good laugh when I narrated to her that earlier in the day, I had asked Gil how the alumni tracer survey was coming along. The latter’s reply was inuutik-utik na.

‘Di n’yo ‘lam ‘yon? the Litel Gel asked. Of course, I did; only that I don’t really use it conversationally. I am more likely to use inuutay-utay, a word neutral enough in this province but which would still draw blank faces from citizens of other Tagalog-speaking provinces.

A classic anecdote which I like to tell over and over again was this day back in the early nineties when, while in an outing with some colleagues in some fancy resort, I was bored in the afternoon and passed the time chatting with the school driver.


“Naku Kuya Rex,” the driver related a recent accident he had, “napauraol ang hinlalaki ng paa ko eh!”

Hmmm… Napauraol… I doubled over in uncontrolled laughter! Where in the world did he learn that word? What he meant was that he inadvertently and painfully jabbed his big toe into something sharp… Napauraol… Wahahaha!!!

This final anecdote was told – poker-faced – by my friend and colleague Rogger Basco, and drew insane laughter from an audience which included me and the equally insane Morris Lingao.

It’s about the word pisaot. The closest English translation I can think of is “rub,” but it still does not quite capture the essence of the word. Take, for instance, when you have a small ant running up your arm. You jab a thumb over it and twist it this way and that till the poor ant’s body disintegrates under the pressure of your thumb.


But this alone was not the source of the insane laughter.

“Imagine in a classroom of elementary kids learning conjugation,” Rogger asked, “and the teacher asks her students to conjugate the word pisaot.”

Alright class… Ating banghayin ang salitang pisaot… Pi-sa-ot…  Pi-ni-sa-ot... Pi-ni-pi-sa-ot… Pipi-sa-utin!!!

[This story was first published on Facebook on 3 September 2008.]

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