The Tagalog word maarte originally meant artful or artsy. But it is now used to describe someone, especially a young woman, who can be nitpicky and by extension pretentious. It has a negative connotation, but not a very strong one.

pretentious, finicky
fastidious, high maintenance

persnickety, fussy

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This is from the Spanish mano (meaning: hand).

The Filipino tradition of pagmamano involves kissing an elder’s hand or raising the hand to touch your forehead. Children do this especially during the holidays when visiting their grandparents to ask for gifts.

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root word: saway

prohibition, restraint, reprimand

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walang-galang, mahalay; magaspang, bulgar, mumurahin

rude, impertinent
impolite, vulgar

If you tell a woman a crude joke, you are very bastos. To answer back to your grandmother or anyone older than you is bastos in Filipino culture.

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National Costume of the Philippines

Barbie wearing a traditional “Maria Clara” dress

Traditonal Filipina Barbie

Filipino boy wearing barong tagalog and salakot
The official national costume of Filipino men is the barong tagalog.

The  upper garment of the boy in the picture is a barong. It is worn over a Chinese collarless shirt called camisa de Chino. The boy is also wearing the traditional wide-brimmed hat salakot, which is usually made of rattan or reeds.

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Spelling variations: asuáng, asuwáng

Aswang is a native Tagalog word for a mythological creature. It’s been noted though that it’s likely derived from the Sanskrit word asura which means ‘demon.’

An aswang is scarier than the Spanish-derived word multo, which sort of calls to mind harmless ghosts like Caspar.

In other parts of the the Philippines, an aswang is called tik-tik or wak-wak. Continue reading “ASWANG”

Filipino Brooms

There are two words in the dictionary that can serve as translations for the English “broom.”

The simple noun that is widely used is walis.

Up until a few decades ago, the word pamalis (pangwalis) was also common, and if you use it today, it can still be understood, because it is a conjugation of the verb walis and it literally means “something used for sweeping.”

Brooms of the Philippines

There are two types of native brooms used in the Philippines — the walis tingting for outdoors and the walis tambo for smooth floors indoors and perhaps on the patio.

Walis-tingting is a broom made from the thin midribs of palm leaves. The stiff ribs are tied up on one end. It is usually paired with a simply constructed dustpan, as you can see in the picture. The can used for the dustpan is usually a cutout of an aluminum can of cooking oil.

Walis Tingting at Daspan

walis tingting at daspan
broom and “dustpan”

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Ang pasalubong ay isang alaala o “souvenir” na ibinigay ng bagong dating na galing sa paglalakbay sa ibang pook o bansa.

root word: salubong (to welcome)

homecoming treat, souvenir

When Filipinos go on a trip or live overseas, they are expected to bring back gifts on their return.  That’s pasalubong!

It’s a big deal. If you don’t bring pasalubong to people who welcome you, they’ll think you never thought of them while you were away.

Peanut Kisses & Peanut Fingers
Pasalubong from Bohol: Peanut Kisses & Peanut Fingers

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