A Rhose
Abril 24, 2007, 8:51 umaga
Filed under: Filipino, Philippines, Pilipino, Pinoy, Stories, Terminologies

Contributor: Jun Anteola

The following is another article from a British journalist stationed in the Philippines. His observations are so hilarious!!!! This was written around 1999.

A Rhose, By Any Other Name
by Matthew Sutherland

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches” (Proverbs 22:1)

When I arrived in the Philippines from the UK six years ago, one of the first cultural differences to strike me was names. The subject has provided a continuing source of amazement and amusement ever since. The first unusual thing, from an English perspective, is that everyone here has a nickname. In the staid and boring United Kingdom, we have nicknames in kindergarten, but when we move into adulthood we tend, I am glad to say, to lose them.

The second thing that struck me is that Philippine names for both girls and boys tend to be what we in the UK would regard as overbearingly cutesy for anyone over about five. Where I come from, a boy with a nickname like Boy Blue or Honey Boy would be beaten to death at school by pre-adolescent bullies, and never make it to adulthood. So, probably, would girls with names like Babes, Lovely, Precious, Peachy or Apples. Yuk, ech ech. Here, however, no one bats an eyelid.

Then I noticed how many people have what I have come to call “door-bell names”. These are nicknames that sound like – well, door-bells. There are millions of them. Bing, Bong, Ding, and Dong are some of the more common. They can be, and frequently are, used in even more door-bell-like combinations such as Bing-Bong, Ding-Dong, Ting-Ting, and so on. Even our newly-appointed chief of police has a doorbell name Ping. None of these door-bell names exist where I come from, and hence sound unusually amusing to my untutored foreign ear. Someone once told me that one of the Bings, when asked why he was called Bing, replied “because my brother is called Bong”. Faultless logic. Dong, of course, is a particularly funny one for me, as where I come from “dong” is a slang word for… well, perhaps “talong” is the best Tagalog equivalent. Repeating names was another novelty to me, having never before encountered people with names like Len-Len, Let-Let, Mai-Mai, or Ning-Ning. The secretary I inherited on my arrival had an unusual one: Leck-Leck. Such names are then frequently further refined by using the “squared” symbol, as in Len2 or Mai2. This had me very confused for a while.

Then there is the trend for parents to stick to a theme when naming their children. This can be as simple as making them all begin with the same letter, as in Jun, Jimmy, Janice, and Joy. More imaginative parents shoot for more sophisticated forms of assonance or rhyme, as in Biboy, Boboy, Buboy, Baboy (notice the names get worse the more kids there are-best to be born early or you could end up being a Baboy). Even better, parents can create whole families of, say, desserts(Apple Pie, Cherry Pie, Honey Pie) or flowers (Rose, Daffodil, Tulip). The main advantage of such combinations is that they look great painted across your trunk if you’re a cab driver. That’s another thing I’d never seen before coming to Manila – taxis with the driver’s kids’ names on the trunk. Another whole eye-opening field for the foreign visitor is the phenomenon of the “composite” name. This includes names like Jejomar (for Jesus, Joseph and Mary), and the remarkable Luzviminda (for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, believe it or not). That’s a bit like me being called something like “Engscowani” (for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

Between you and me, I’m glad I’m not. And how could I forget to mention the fabulous concept of the randomly inserted letter ‘h’. Quite what this device is supposed to achieve, I have not yet figured out, but I think it is designed to give a touch of class to an otherwise only averagely weird name. It results in creations like Jhun, Lhenn, Ghemma, and Jhimmy. Or how about Jhun-Jhun(Jhun2)?

There is also a whole separate field of name games-those where the parents have exhibited a creative sense of humor on purpose. I once had my house in London painted by a Czechoslovakian decorator by the name of Peter Peter. I could never figure out if his parents had a fantastic sense of humor or no imagination at all-it had to be one or the other. But here in the Philippines, wonderful imagination and humor is often applied to the naming process, particularly, it seems, in the Chinese community. My favourites include Bach Johann Sebastian; Edgar Allan Pe; Jonathan Livingston Sy; Magic Chiongson, Chica Go, and my girlfriend’s very own sister, Van Go. I am assured these are real people, although I’ve only met two of them. I hope they don’t mind being mentioned here.

How boring to come from a country like the UK full of people with names like John Smith. How wonderful to come from a country where imagination and exoticism rule the world of names. Even the towns here have weird names; my favorite is the unbelievably-named town of Sexmoan (ironically close to Olongapo and Angeles). Where else in the world could that really be true? Where else in the world could the head of the Church really be called Cardinal Sin? Where else but the Philippines!

Note: Philippines has a senator named Joker, and it is his legal name.


15 mga puna so far
Mag-iwan ng puna

No one would disagree, Filipino names are really unique.

Matthew Sutherland, siya din yung sumulat about exotic Filipino foods dbah?

Komento ni Cat

nabasa ko lahat ung mga article ni sutherland sa bob ong book!

Komento ni bangketa|streak

uy! masaya din daw yang mga sulat ni Bob Ong! gusto ko bumili ng Stainless Longganisa nya before, pero i kept delaying my trip to the bookstores until nakalimutan. hehe.
baka pwede nyo rin i-post yung mga sulat nya…

Komento ni junanteola

Sige… share niyo naman… antayin ko ha… 😛

Komento ni Chuckster

super nakakatawa yung stainless longganisa…pero yung mga sutherland articles nasa book nya na “bakit baliktad magbasa ng libro ang mga pinoy”. I think yung stainless longganisa is the last book na he is writing under that pen name…pano mag contribute. =D

Komento ni bangketa|streak

send your contributions to me via nakanampucha’s email address. The address is on the sidebar. Send ka ha! 🙂

Komento ni Chuckster

sampler lang…

“Huwag magmadali sa pag-aasawa. Tatlo, lima, sampung taon sa hinaharap, mag-iiba pa ang pamantayan mo at maiisip mong di pala tamang pumili ng kapareha dahil lang sa kaboses niya si Debbie Gibson o magaling siyang magbreakdance. Totoong mas importante ang kalooban ng tao higit anuman. Sa paglipas ng panahon, maging ang mga crush ng bayan sa eskwelahan ay nagmumukha ring pandesal. Maniwala ka…” – Bob Ong (Stainless Longganisa)


Komento ni junanteola

nice! he he … ako din kakadelay wala pang stainless longganisa … makabili nga 😀

Komento ni zerovoltage

Hahaha! That’s so funny and yet, very true! I guess the humor comes from the truthfulness of the articles he writes.

I better go check out his books over at NBS!

Komento ni Chuckster

[…] are unique in our own way. Say, read this article and this one too. Yeah, it’s from the same website, so kudos to Nakanampucha! I think these […]

Pasa ni XXX - Your Daily Dose of Porn » I am A Filipino

I love this site, there is so much information to be found. Thank you.

Komento ni casino portal

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Pasa ni Blogs » A Rhose Nakanampucha!

I read this one back in fourth grade. It’s in “From Here To There 4,” and we had to read this for our reading class. Agree ako dito! 😀

Komento ni BazookaLove

ang kulit ni pekto amp xD. . si target hanggang sa tv bastos .. anu daw sabi sa banyo ?? xD. . kulit ni dello :))….. visit to watch pinoy tv shows

Komento ni Eulah

ako nga may classmate sa elementary, sila si Brendon Bacla-an(totoong bakla talaga cya), Joan Tombuyan(at boyish din), Carol Bahotae at si Damian Sid Onano hehehe kawawa talaga sila,kasi palaging nasasalang sa gulo dahil busog sila sa tuksohan

Komento ni Boy N Sulto

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