Filipino Signs of Wit
Abril 25, 2007, 5:23 hapon
Filed under: Filipino, Offbeat News, Philippines, Pilipino, Pinoy

Contributor: Domingo “Jim” Caro III

Nury Vittachi – The Far Eastern Economic Review

This week, we shall take a “reading tour” of one of the most spirited communities in Asia. The Philippines is full of word play. The local accent among many Filipinos, in which English words with “F” are spelled and pronounced with the sound of “P” and V is pronounced as “B” (because the Philippine alphabet has no letters F or V), is often used very cleverly, such as, the sign in a flower shop in Diliman called Petal Attraction.

Much of the word play in the Philippines is deliberate with retailers and various businesses favoring a play on names of Western establishments and celebrities (Americans, in particular—movie stars and entertainment personalities, especially).

For example, there is a bread shop in Manila called Anita Bakery, a 24-hour restaurant called Doris Day and Night, a garment shop called Elizabeth Tailoring, and a barber shop called Felix The Cut.

Reader Robert Harland also spotted a bakery named Bread Pitt, and a Makati fast-food place selling “maruya” (banana fritters) called Maruya Carey. Then, there are Christopher Plumbing, and a boutique called The Way We Wear ; a video rental shop called Leon King Video Rental; a restaurant in the Cainta district of Rizal called Caintacky Fried Chicken, a local burger restaurant called Mang Donald’s, a doughnut shop called MacDonuts , a shop selling “lumpia” (egg roll) in Makati called Wrap and Roll, and two butcher shops called Meating Place and Meatropolis.

Smart travelers can decipher what may look like baffling signs to unaccustomed foreigners by simply sounding out the “Taglish” (the Philippine version of English words spelled and pronounced with a heavy Filipino accent), such as, at a restaurant menu in Cebu : “We hab sopdrink in can an in batol” [translation: We have soft drinks in can and in bottle]. Then, there is a sewing accessories shop called Bids And Pises (translation: Beads and Pieces –or– Bits and Pieces).

There are also many signs with either badly chosen or misspelled words, but they are usually so entertaining that it would be a mistake to “correct” them. A reader named Antonio “Tonyboy” Ramon T. Ongsiako, (now there’s a truly Filipino name), contributed the following interesting Philippine signs and advertisements:

In a restaurant in Baguio City (the “summer capital” of the Philippines ): “Wanted: Boy Waitress”; on a highway in Pampanga: “We Make Modern Antique Furniture;” on the window of a photography shop in Cabanatuan : “We Shoot You While You Wait;” and on the glass front of a cafe in Panay Avenue in Manila : “Wanted: Waiter, Cashier, Washier.”

Some of the notices can even give a wrong impression, such as, a shoe store in Pangasinan which has a sign saying: “We Sell Imported Robber Shoes” (these could be the “sneakiest” sneakers); and a rental property sign in Jaro, Iloilo reads: “House For Rent, Fully Furnaced” (it must really be hot inside)!

Occasionally, one could come across signs that are truly unique–if not altogether odd. Reader Gunilla Edlund submitted a sign that she saw at the ticket booth in the ferry pier in Davao City in southern Philippines , which said: “Adults: 1 peso; Child: 50 centavos; Cadavers: fare subject to negotiation.”

European tourists may also be intrigued to discover two competing shops selling hopia (a Chinese pastry) called Holland Hopia and Poland Hopia, which are owned and operated by two local Chinese entrepreneurs, Mr. Ho and Mr. Po respectively–(believe it or not)!

According to Manila businessman, Tonyboy Ongsiako, there is so much wit in the Philippines because “. . .we are a country where a good sense of humor is needed to survive. We have a 24-hour comedy show here called the government and a huge reserve of comedians made up mostly of politicians and retiring actors.


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“… the “Taglish” (the Philippine version of English words spelled and pronounced with a heavy Filipino accent), such as, at a restaurant menu in Cebu : “We hab sopdrink in can an in batol”…

I figure the author, Nury Vittachi, made this up? Many Filipinos (particlarly Visayan/Cebuano speakers)may speak English with a characteristically heavy accent, but only when speaking. The example used had words that are too common to be misspelled, except perhaps if intentional.

I could be wrong though. Remember the “DED SHIT… DIPINDI SA KLASI” (bed sheet… depende sa klase) sign posted earlier?

Komento ni junanteola

I think that is not Taglish. It is Filipinization.

Komento ni Neutral Universe

I agree with Jun but the thing I like best in this article is the last paragraph. 🙂

there is so much wit in the Philippines because “. . .we are a country where a good sense of humor is needed to survive. We have a 24-hour comedy show here called the government and a huge reserve of comedians made up mostly of politicians and retiring actors

Komento ni Jim


Komento ni Chuckster

Ang cute!!!

Komento ni Jose

Hi Jose!
Thanks for dropping by! Hope to see you here again soon! 🙂

Komento ni Chuckster

i disagree with jun..the ‘imperial’ manila folks/tagalogs heavier accent than the ‘2nd class citizens daw’– cebuanos/visayans. ur making ur own accent which very funny and far-sounding sa english/british accent. like trisikel, ankel (uncle), batel (bottle), sarvey (survey), tarnbak (turnback), casil (castle), egil (eagle). tsk!tsk! tsk! please open ur ears. watch british/american tv/radio channels/stations and tink who pronounce correctly — the batol (cebuanos) or batel (tagalogs). stop ded shitting the cebuanos please..

Komento ni boy sebuwano

boy sebuwano: I can empathize, and I didn’t mean to sound offensive. i think and speak Cebuano after all. i say ankol, traysikol, botol, sorvey, tornbak, kasol, igol… like it is the only way to say these.

Komento ni junanteola

teka, tama nga naman si boy. why do most of us think that it’s only the Visayan/Cebuano who has the hard tongue? traysikel, angkel, batel, sound just as heavily accented as traysikol, angkol and batol. di ba?
by the way, i only speak with the accent when conversing in my vernacular. 🙂

Komento ni junanteola

jusko! naiyak ako dito ah!

Komento ni sushiwow


Komento ni sushiwow

Hi Sushi! Hehehe… Welcome to Nakanampucha! 🙂

Komento ni Chuckster


I was surfing the web and i saw this site, pretty cool.
Currently im running and adult site:Wellness
k, just want to say hi 🙂
Can i link you from my site? im looking for quality content like yours. If no let me know if i can add u in exchange for a montly fee or something.

Komento ni Wellness

When I was in the Phils, i saw an ihaw-ihaw place called ‘Kina Rogers’ at the corner of Oroquietta and Quiricada sts. The owner’s name is Roger.

Anyway, it’s funny how pinoys bother about the diction/accent/grammar of each other. Di naman pinapansin yun if you are in another country. As long as everybody understands what you are trying to say or explain – ok na yun. I actually admire and miss the accent and identities of each existing dialects in our country: Ilonggo (dugay ka na sa Manila tonto ka pa gihapon), Cebuano (Olagi), Ilocano (I want ti blue – I want ti white), Kapampangan (Nokarin going?), Batangueno (ano ga?) at Manileno – tagalog o taglish o english – malalaman mo pa din na manileno.

Komento ni Thenntay

two days ago while having a photowalk in Quiapo, the name of two kiosks caught my attention.

HOPIA LYK IT – which sells hopia of course; and
INSIDE SCOOP -which sells ice cream naman.

Astig yun kaya kununan ko ng photos kaagad. At napabili pa ako dahil sa tuwa hehe. If you’re curious, you can check these out, katabi sya nung Mercury Drug.

It just proves that we Filipinos are a happy people.

It’s a sign also of how creative can we get when it comes to business.

Mabuhay ang Pinoy humor!!!

Komento ni leon b. dista


Komento ni ladykween

Hi there friends!, find your filipino or filipina friends at and send them free sms

Komento ni berto

Its a good feeling to read what my fellow pinoys are up to. Yup, we have Filipinos have a good sense of humour, mall-hoping lifestyle and the music loving genes never wears of.

And yup, we’ve got heavy accents as much as the Indians have theirs. While Indians shake their heads, we, Filipinos point our “nguso” whenever we mean “there”. As for the pronounciation, I think it will be a never ending entertainment for us. Baysikel, baysikol… or the ever famous and cliched joke about baysikol, popsikol and babalik na ako sa Bikel (Bicol)… we Filipinos indeed need humour to survive.

But it is for us to know that these humour about dialects/ languages also exists abroad. I talk with a British accent, and often confused with an Australian one. I got beat up with jokes like if I say today… uh you mean to “die”…errrr. Wot (what) did you sai (say?). So yeah, you can take it that way, war of the accents.. who says it worse, or worst, who sounds worst… beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as is music is on the ear of the beholder.

See ya later, mate!

Komento ni Londoner

yep sobrang nkakatawa..
good thing about filipinos is we can laugh out all the mishaps that we have been into..

Komento ni chris_jerry

hahaha… astig! Ako ay masaya na Pilipino ako! Astig tayo!!! Wooohoooo!

Komento ni achene

kaka-aliw! ewww! meron ding gnian ang mga japanese eh some heavy accents … ‘ung “V.I.P.” , they say it as “vipu” as in bipu or beepu… kahit anong english word ends with -U. like beer – biru. juice – jyuusu, and etc.

Komento ni eim_me

There are cartoons that will show violence, such as
a kid beating up other kids to protect a friend. Finally the best tip of all is not to allow dirt
to accumulate excessively. However, at night time they have
special programming called Qubo Night Owl, which broadcasts shows like Heman, Filmation
Ghostbusters and Bravestar, just to name a few these shows many
parents will remember from their childhood and can share them with their own children.

Komento ni Pinoy TV

Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog
platform are you using for this site? I’m getting tired
of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m
looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point
me in the direction of a good platform.

Komento ni domain

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