30 April 2011

Let's Talk Seventies!

I was a young boy in the sixties and a teenager in the seventies. Both were colourful decades in many ways: music, fashion, the Vietnam War and student activism. Both men and women wore their hair long and threw away conventions. Music was loud but expressive; and it was during this decade that some of the most poetic lyrics were written. Many songs are played to this very day.

I was a teenager in the seventies and even the language was colourful in reflection of the times. Mostly, the lingo of the decade was composed of words that were inverted. This was perfectly acceptable during the time.

Some of the words survive to this very day; some evolved into something else; and others died out altogether. Here are some that I can still recall.

Bakyâ: Strictly speaking, a reference to the bakyâ crowd or the masa. Later used loosely to mean anything unfashionable or not likable. Subsequently evolved into the more contemporary baduy – which continues to be used in the present – albeit this latter slang was itself coined in the seventies and popularized by the OPM hit “Ang Boyfriend Kong Baduy.”

Binahâ: flared or bell-bottom pants were supposed to reach down to the shoes. Anybody who wore straight-cut pants that showed the socks was so “sixties” and was snidely called “binahâ” – in other words, the poor bloke was assumed to have waded through floodwaters and the cloth of his pants shrunk.

Bebot:  A girl, woman.



Boljak: scolded or reprimanded. I am not 100% sure, though, that this word was first used in the seventies. A more contemporary version is tsugê.

Bread: money. I used to hear this used the same way by Americans in movies and television shows.

Bummer: Americans said bummer, accent on the second syllable; Pinoys said it more like bomber. Generally, something not good, or what would in subsequent decades be evolve into “bad trip.”


Burgis: strictly speaking, middle-class; from the French/English bourgeois. In Pinoy seventies lingo, this meant high class or sosi/soci/sosyal in contemporary slang.

Chicks:  Like it needs an explanation.  Girls or women.

Chibog/Tsibog:  Food; or to eat, if used as a verb.  I have no idea where this came from.

Chikot: a car. Inverted kotse.

Damo: marijuana.

Dehins: no, inverted hindî. Use of this was almost universal in the seventies that it is strange that I hardly ever hear this used in the present.

Engot:  stupid; somewhat inverted version of tanga.

Erpat/Ermat: father/mother. From the Latin pater/mater, naturally inverted in true seventies fashion. Variants: erpats/ermats. I was a fresh-faced teenager when I first heard this used by friends of my older brother and sister.

Hanep: awesome or amazing. Probably from the insect hanip. I am reasonably certain that this word was brought into the mainstream by Batangueños who went to college in Manila, because this was not used there when I was in college. I was, however, already hearing the expression used by my kid brother and his schoolmates in the latter half of the seventies.

Haybol:  House.  Somewhat inverted bahay.

Heavy: something amazing or incredible. Used as in “Wow pare heavy!”

Jutz: I first heard this in college and because I am no authority on the subject, I supposed this referred to marijuana and other drugs. I am happy to say my experience on the matter was confined to analgesics, antihistamines and loperamides.

Kalot/Kelot:  a boy or a man.  Also universally used but hardly ever used in the present.  The kids prefer dude.

Kulit: I may be wrong, but the way the word was used when I was a boy was to refer to somebody who was quick to borrow money but was not so quick to pay it back. In the seventies, this started to be used to mean likot, so I suppose – albeit not exact – this was also an inverted word.

Lonta: pants. Inverted pantalon.

Pare/Mare: I may be wrong, but when I was a small boy the word pare was used as short for kumpare/kumare, and mostly to refer to the godfather/godmother of one’s child. In the seventies, it started to be used to call a close buddy or just about anybody. For instance, “Pare, ano’ng oras na?” to ask the stranger next to you on the bus…

Pehips: from the English “hippie,” inverted as was the style of the decade. Loosely, a person who was not bound by society’s conventions. Would later be dropped in favour of jeproks after Mike Hanopol’s anthem “Laki sa Layaw.”


Senglot:  drunken; somewhat inverted version of lasing.

Split:  to leave; to depart.  Usage:  “Split na ako.


Togâ: not toga as in the robe; notice the maragsâ accent on the “a.” Referred to the shoes.

Yosi: a cigarette. I have no idea how the slang originated.

This is all I can recall for the moment. I am inviting all my contemporaries who may happen to read this to add to this list using the comments box at the bottom of the page.





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