Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


Home again, workshop again, diving again and ‘dirty words’ (again)

Posted on March 30, 2008 by jimparedes
   

I am back in Sydney by March 31st. I can’t believe how much I miss the place specially since Lydia, Mio and Ala are there. It’s been two months since I was last home. When I get there, I wil end up missing Ananda and Erica who are in Manila.

To all my guitar, voice students and to all those who wish to seek my services for photography, and those who wrote asking about my books and CDs, I will be there soon and will mail your orders. I can’t wait to see my students again. Yes, I can take in new ones. I will begin lessons by April 2.

* * *

I’ve had two runs of my TCU workshop this year. One in Sydney last January and one in Manila this month. Both were great runs and one big reason was because of the venues I chose. In Sydney, the beautiful grounds of the Assumption convent was quite conducive. In Manila, I held it at my home. I was so happy that the particpants in both places loved the venues.

I will be having another run in Manila by May 10 and it will be the usual 6 day run. I’ve been receiving so many inquiries about TCU lately. Here are the details:

What: Tapping the Creative Universe Workshop 4Oth run
Where: 113 B. Gonzales, Loyola Heights, QC
When, May 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19.
Time: 7 to 9 PM
How much? 5,000Pesos

Please email me at emailjimp@gmail.com for a syllabus or to reserve.

* * *
Last Holy Week, I had the great pleasure of spending it in Buenavista Island in Davao. I had forgotten how magical the island was that the Ayalas had developed and cared for since 1986. The trees seemed taller and more firmly rooted now since the last time I was there. The plants were lush. The beach was greater than ever.

Best of all, I finally got to go diving again. I must admit I was pretty scared about it since I hadn’t done it since more than two years back. I was afraid I may have forgotten my skills since my last dive which was in Anilao, Batangas. I was scared I would hyperventilate, or not be able to equalise or chicken out and go right back out of the water soon after. I was surprised how naturally I took to it again. The two dives I had in Davao were dive no. 202 and 203 if my count is right. It’s great to get wet and crazy again!

I was quite happy to be with some of my favorite relatives–the Ayalas of Davao. I have had the great priviledge of knowing them intimately, traveling and holidaying with them and enjoying their great friendship and trust. Tito Chito, Mafe, Mike Gauss, Mayumi, Cheska, Lani, Pimee, Uno, Raffy Anna Marie, your hosipitality and generosity have touched many people and I thank you for it. You guys are the best!!

* * *
This one is for Ripley’s. It’s not one of those highly dramatic tales of survival or anything like that. In fact, this could also could go to the comics section, because it is hysterically histrorical somewhat.

A few years back, a niece of mine from the US got married here in Manila to a Mexican-American and that occasion of meeting Mexicans in the Philippines was quite an eye-opener for them– and for us. Last week I had an Anerican nephew visit Manila with his Mexican wife and we threw a party for them. There are many things we have in common due to our common Spanish heritage. The words palengke, tiangge have their roots in Mexican culture.

But both visits also opened our eyes to some funny and shocking aspects of our colonisation under the Spanish. I am talking of other common words we share with Mexicans but with damatically different meanings in our respective contexts..

It was during a stop at a little store in Tagaytay where one of our Mexican guests asked about the breads and pastries. He pointed to some small round white -colored kakanins and asked what they were. The lady said they were ‘puto’. Immediately, I heard a chuckle from him and when I asked why, he explained that ‘puto’ meant ‘male prostitute’ in Mexico.

When he proceded to ask about some other stuff, he heard the word ‘panutsa‘ which sounded alarm bells among the Mexican group. Politely, they tried to suppress their laughter but to no avail. When we asked why they were laughing, they had to explain with great embarrasment that ‘panutsa‘ was a crude word for vagina in Mexican. But what pulled all the stops was when they heard the word ‘mamon‘ which got them laughing to tears. Apparently, mamon as a slang word means ‘c__ck sucker’ in their language. When I explained what it meant in Filipino, they laughed to tears especially when I mentioned that we have a nickname called ‘pusong mamon‘ when we want to describe someone who wears his heart on his sleeve. Putting it in their context, it would be unimaginably bizarre to meet someone with ‘ a heart of a c__ck sucker’! Sheeesh!

My curious mind couldn’t help but come to the conclusion that the colonizers were really having great laughs at our expense, ridiculing us by introducing all these words to our culture and pretending that they meant something different! They must have had a hysterical time laughing at then stupid indios for our ignorance. I guess it’s no different from the fun we have when we teach the wrong Tagalog words to our American nephews and nieces when they visit. I remember laughing when my brother-in-law Marty taught my nephew to say, ‘Lola, nagkalat ang tae ko’ to mean that ‘he was having so much fun.’

When you survey Filipino surnames with Spanish roots, you will discover that some of them are downright derogatory in Spanish. The surname ‘Cagado’ actually is past participle for ‘to take a shit’. Some other names are just funny. ‘Achacoso’ means ‘somebody who coughs a lot’. There must be other names that the old prayles imposed upon us much to their wicked delight.

I have an idea on how to get even. It would be a hysterical situation if we file a diplomatic protest for something not just because it happened about 150 years ago, but because of the meaning of the words involved. They would have to apologise in public. Now how do you do this diplomatically considering the words involved? This would test the mettle of diplomats on both sides. I’d like to see how the news covers it. Ha ha.

* * *

8 to “Home again, workshop again, diving again and ‘dirty words’ (again)”

  1. Jet says:

    What are the chances of you holding a TCU workshop here in California? More specifically, southern California? Throwing in a concert with it would not be a bad idea either… hehe. Well, couldn’t hurt to ask. πŸ˜€

  2. Christine of Sydney says:

    Hi Jim
    Talking about language- do you know the English word for the Tagalog word- bahle? I have heard a lot of interviews e.g. How many children you have? And the pinoy will reply bahle tatlo- what does it mean? do you know? Welcome back to Sydney..
    Chris

  3. Hanne says:

    We had a Puerto Rican trainer before and when we invited her to head to the local bakeshop and try the “mamom” she looked like we just offered her cochroaches for brunch.

    Her expression was hilarious.

  4. mimay says:

    hilarious πŸ™‚ but yeah I agree that it’s time to review some Spanish words in our lingo and have the real meanings published so that we wouldn’t be the laughing stock when we go to their countries.

  5. Mandaragat says:

    How’s the diving site in Davao? Highly recommended po ba?

  6. doranne lim says:

    …or file a class action suit to reposses our indigenous names! hahaha.

  7. Arie says:

    I hope I can attend your next TCU. Sayang, your last venue was close to my home but I had a workload to finish. Sana dun ulit yung next πŸ™‚

  8. Nieves says:

    My friend named her dog “Puto” because he is colored white. As it happens, the vet is Chilean and refuses to call the dog by name – simply refers to it as “the dog”.



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