Monday, May 14, 2007

The Wit of Pinoys...


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 favouring 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 travellers 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 humour 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.

No comments: