July 27

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OMG! Nosebleed! Say what?!

OMG! Nosebleed! Say what?!

I’m fine. My nose is not bleeding. It’s just a common Pinoy lingo. Okay, this blog is about Filipino culture and this seems like the perfect place to start.

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So what the heck is a nosebleed? I’ll start by saying here in the Philippines, nosebleed is not a medical condition per se. The word is a slang for having difficulty understanding English whenever Filipinos encounter somebody that speaks the language fluently either during conversations or at meetings. The term usually will come up amongst Filipinos when they encounter something difficult in English like an exam, an interview, or when trying to work with a foreigner. So of course hanging out with an American like me creates them. I cause Nosebleeds!!!

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Transportation is also very interesting in the Philippines. Traffic can often be at a stand still so taxi rides get expensive. There are To-Go-Ferry boat rides, buses, motorcycles with attached cab, and of course, the Jeepney. The Jeepney culture is an art form unique to the Philippines. Each one is a unique incarnation of stretched frame and sheet metal over the original Jeeps of the 40s. They are made by proud street-front mechanics who have improvised for generations to keep those ancient chassis in service. I’ve gotten a chance to ride all of these with my new friends. I think the Jeepney is the best way to experience Philippine transportation. One of the good things about riding jeepney, you can definitely hear different and interesting stories about life and to learn to speak Tagalog with the right inflection. You will see people from different walks of life. The rides are very cheap, typically just 8-10 pesos. That’s about a quarter in American money.

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The Philippino culture of eating is also fascinating. I have had the opportunity to eat ‘Boodle Fight’ style with a coworker and her family.

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Then again, we got to do this at work last Friday after learning about healthy eating habits.

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Boodle fight is a military style of eating where long tables are prepared and food is placed on top of the table dressed with large leaves as a tablecloth of sorts. Viands and rice are ready to eat using your bare hands, jugs of water are prepared on the side to wash hands before eating off the banana leaves. It’s fun and so foreign to us Americans, who prefer utensils.

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There is a large influence of various cultures here. The Philippines, having been one of the most distant Spanish colonies, received less migration of people from Spain compared with the colonies in the Americas, Latin America. Most of the influence during the colonial period came through Mexico, rather than directly from Spain, as the Philippines was governed as a territory of New Spain.

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The Philippines currently celebrates its Independence Day on June 12, the anniversary of Emilio Aguinaldo’s declaration of independence from Spain in 1898. The declaration was not recognised by the United States which, after defeating the Spanish in the Battle of Manila Bay in May that year, acquired the Philippine Islands via the Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish–American War. Then on July 4, 1946, the United States granted that the Philippines became politically free as a country. I will probably write another blog on the history. There is so much rich history and culture to capture.

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I cannot emphasize enough just how beautiful the Philippine Islands are. Four of the seven most beautiful islands in the world are here including the top one, Palawan.

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The 7th wonder of the world, an underground river, is also here. The scuba diving is amazing too, and I have enjoyed meeting the underwater community.

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The entire region is very scenic, with clear skies and abundant greenery. I took a wonderful bamboo boat ride along a lake, and soaked in a hot spring too

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I hope you have enjoyed getting to learn a bit about the Philippines as you walk along with me on my Pulse journey here. I can’t say enough about the gracious hospitality of these people. Perhaps each of you could be an ambassador of sorts to a foreigner in your country. First impressions do last. How do you want your country to be perceived?

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