Archive for March, 2013

Philippine Honorifics and Culture 101


Hello ! Renxkyoko Iglesias here. * waves *

Today is Good Friday. For Catholics, it’s Fasting and Abstinence aka meatless day. Catholics used to actually fast the whole day ( no eating the whole day ) but I guess no one follows this tradition anymore. But It’s still meatless day today , so, yeah, we’re having fish for dinner. ( which is nothing special, come to think of it. In our household, we eat fish all the time ) In fact, we don’t eat meat for 3 days during the Holy Week; Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Black Saturday.

I live in a liberal household that is, at the same time, very much steeped in religious and cultural traditions that are very Filipino. We’ve retained what is good, and does not harm others. Such as ?, you ask. Well, the whole family attend the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass, after which we have dinner , a midnight dinner we call Noche Buena. And like most Asians, we use honorifics even here in the US. In fact, the use of honorifics in Philippine culture is mandatory. Not using a honorific is rude and disrespectful

and reveals to others that said person has not been taught good manners and right conduct by the parents. For example, young people do not use the singular pronoun YOU in addressing a much older person or one with a higher “status” . It has nothing to do with subservience, bondage and inequality. It simply conveys respect. This is similar to addressing a judge ” Your honor “, instead of YOU.

The Philippine word that is equal in meaning and usage in the English lamguage of the word YOU is the singular pronoun IKAW. (pronounced ee-kaw ) IKAW is used only to address a person younger, same age, slightly older, or someone of similar or lower level in status. Otherwise, the plural pronoun of YOU or IKAW , which is KAYO, ( pronounced kah-yoh )is used. There’s no equivalent plural pronoun for YOU in the English language. In other words, English speakers use YOU to speak to a 5 year old kid and to a 90 year old aunt.

Philippine conversations are also interpersed with the word PO when speaking to an older person , and someone of much higher status.  They don’t say directly NO to an older person. ( HINDI is No in Philippine language ). They say HINDI PO.

I know it’s a bit disconcerting that I seem to give undue emphasis on social status. It may seem like that, but it’s not , really. There’s no institutionalized caste system in the Philippines, although I have to admit, albeit reluctantly, to the ever-present class system …..but, it exists all over the world, doesn’t it, even here in the US . As they say, the rich are different from you and me. That said, age still takes precedence over status. A 30 year old manager will never use Ikaw ( singular YOU ) when speaking to a 60 year old company janitor. He will also use “po” and use some honorific title like “Manong ” before the name, as a sign of respect for his age. It’s similar to Mister, but not quite. There’s a tad more respect in Philippine honorific. I myself use honorific titles on my elders. I call my older brother KUYA Bert and my older sister ATE Jenny, or just Kuya and Ate . ( pronounced Koo-ya and Ah-teh , meaning, older brother, older sister ). Funny thing is, last night, my sister’s boyfriend ( a white guy ) just hollered ” Ren, your Ate is calling you.” Ha ha . He used the term correctly. The use of the term gives it more authority, and that means, I have to do her bidding , pronto. Of course I ignored it, he he. I was watching something interesting on TV. You know, I will teach my future kids to call their older siblings Ate and Kuya, and teach them this sweet traditional  Philippine gesture, too ———–>


And my kid will then say, ” Mano po, Lola.” ( Your) hand, Grandma …….and it will be so cute  even if my American kid will pronounce it as ” Manow pow, Lowla.”

In South Korea, older brother is Oppa and older sister is Onee-chan ( not sure… I think that’s Japanese ).., Speaking of which, what is that  idiot pres. of North Korea , Kim Jing Un thinking, with his bellicose threats and saber rattlings, by declaring a “state of war”  againts South Korea and threatening the US with nuclear missiles?  Does he know what our  B-2 Stealth bombers  can do, and that  60% of  US military forces are now  being  deployed  to the Pacific?  Does he know South Korea can obliterate them with their K-Pop boy bands, Gungnam style?  Pfffft !

I’m blabbering . Guess  I have to say bye now. .  My next post  is my tour of France.

PS…. I’m having second thoughts on this post. I find it such a total snooze.  But this is not random.  My  Ate Jenny ‘s BF  even wants me to call him Kuya.  Aaaarrgh. I cringe.

Bye . Stay cool.  France tour is next. * clicks Publish *

My Euro Tour Part 20 Spain

Hello !  Renxkyoko Iglesias here !


I’ve been hella busy these past weeks……… exams, work, and  stuff are getting in the way of blogging. As usual, there’s nothing on my mind  at the moment, but then I’m always like this, right? I’m a slow starter.  Funny thing is, when I get going,  there’s nothing that can stop  me from  taking off.  So, let’s see where this post goes.

My signature name here, Ren x Kyoko .  It goes without saying that  isn’t my real first name.  The name comes from one of my most favorite mangas ( Japanese graphic novels) SKIP BEAT.  Yep, I read mangas, and really, really enjoy reading them.  They are drawings, cartoons, with very few words to read, and basically depend  on facial  expressions to convey what ‘s going on in the story.  Did you get to read my Valentine’s post here ?  It conveys a lot just looking at the drawings, doesn’t it,  with  minimum number of words, 13 short sentences, and really, the drawings say it all.  Oh,  I’m not rationalizing my fondness for stories with pictures. I read to entertain myself. That’s all there is to it. But, I have to admit  some manga stories do lower the level of my IQ a few notches. Or, have   irreversibly killed a few brain cells.  ( Eh. I’m not worried about my IQ.  I’ve been called a walking Encyclopedia once,  and I believe I can give Jeopardy contestants a run for their money.  )



The other stuff  thar I read.

Quite  a few mangas  have scarred me for life, though.  Like, what, you ask.  Like Incest, that’s what.  Like 2 siblings who are into forbidden love, and in the end, both comitted  suicide.  Or,  twins who have  fallen in love with each other, and have ran away to another country to be together. There are tons of forbidden love stories like these, though some are cute, especially those that involve love between two  non-blood -related siblings.  There are so many plotlines like these that it makes me think, is this actually  a cultural thing in Japan?

Back to SKIP BEAT…… it’s a series that I’ve been reading for 6 years now, and still ongoing. It’s at Chapter 198 , to date, and the truth is, it’s been on going for 10 years already..  What’s amazing about this manga is that, the timeline of the story  as of the last chapter is barely over a year .  A chapter comes out every  5th of the month, and I tell you, I always get butterflies in my stomach everytime I turn on the computer to check if  a new  chapter has already been uploaded. That’s how addicted I am to this  pure  love story. It’s a comedy, too.


You know, I visualize myself  already a grandma, sitting in a rocking chair, sipping hot cocoa, clucking my dentures, and still reading Skip Beat. ( *_*)  For the love of God, hurry up and kiss already ! ! Gosh !  * like  that’s gonna happen * (6_6 )

Oh, well. * turns off fangirl  switch *

I did say I was going to post a few left-over photos  of Spain. I hope  a reader from Spain can recognize them.  I don’t know where these pictures were taken, but I’m sure it was before our trip to Burgos, Spain. I was wearing the same dress.



.Above photo is a bullring.



Photos below are our Optional dinner at Barcelona, which cost each person $75, and  includes Spanish Flamenco Dance entertainment. I think this was the best  dinner in our 27 day tour……. a sumptous  Spanish buffet !  The dishes were  like the foods we cook at home…. estofado, paella, etc.  There was even a squid soup dish that included the ink… the way we cook it at home.





Ooooh, there’s the black rice with squid ink.  That’s how we cook it at home too. We saute garic, onions, lots of tomatoes, then the squid with the ink, then water…. then we eat it with rice, and the rice turns black in color because of the squid ink. Guys, it’s an acquired taste, but it really tastes good.  Trust me.




There’s rabbit stew on the plate but I’m not sure which one. Rabbit estofado was delicious, it really was, but,  it was difficult to swallow Roger Rabbit..



.Desserts !

I ‘m going to blog about the foods we had in Europe, something like a food critique.  One thing,  we had the best in Spain. And very generous portions, too. More to my taste, anyway.


After dinner, we watched a Flamenco dance group.



Oooooh, passionate dance, passionate people.




.That’s it for Spain…. the land of my ancestors.  Beautiful country. Good-bye.

Peace and stay cool.

My Euro Travel Pt. 19, Burgos/Bilbao, Spain

Hola ! Renxkyoko Iglesias  aqui.


This is my 19th  travel post, and maybe the 3rd to the last.  I really  need to get this done quick  because I’m starting to lose the memories. All I have left now are impressions.

By way of introduction, let me write down my random thoughts… as  usual..

* sips coffee*

The abdication of the Pope…….  I’m a Roman Catholic,  so it’s a given I should be  interested in what’s going on at the Vatican. To be honest , I’m not  interested  at all. What I’m really, really concerned about    is  the abysmally  low number of  young men  who  have  the calling for  priesthood.  The average age of priests  now is 65,  and when they retire , there’s no  guarantee there’s a priest who will take-over  the position.  There are even Catholic parishes here in the US where Episcopal priests have been tasked to ” say ” the Mass in the absence of a parish priest. Why Episcopal , you ask.  Well, the Episcopalian Church is  Protestant, yet Catholic.  It was actually once called The American Catholic Church, and it’s Preamble states  “ it’s a constituent member of the Anglican Communion,  a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic Church….”

It’s a no brainer to  know the one reason why men don’t enter the priesthood….. the vow of celibacy.  It’s almost unnatural to  suppress the primal animal instict to mate, most especially with men. So, as a member of the Church, do I approve of  married priests ?  I’m a tree hugging, bleeding heart social  liberal, but I’m not a solid , hard core one.  Some of my views are, in fact,  pretty conservative,  and that includes my view on celibacy.  I don’t know.  Don’t hate me, but I think I would  cringe at the thought of  a married  priest saying  Mass in front  of me just had a blow job or kinky sex  a few hours  before . * Ren, you pervert, perish the thought! *  So, what’s the solution?  Ordain women into priesthood. I think women can withstand life without sex .

By the way, the ” bad” priests are pedophiles , not gay or straight priests,  except that Cardinal from England who had to resign … he had made numerous compromising overtures to  adult seminarians….  * shakes head *   The Catholic hierarchy should not cover up the crimes of these pedophiles.  Sick bastards…. the pedophiles, I mean.  This is just my opinion, at the moment.

Oh, wait…… I’d like to tell you something. My mother has a relative who is  an ex-priest.  It was the Pope who ordained him when the Pope went to the Philippines  years and years ago.  He became a parish priest, but then, the parish had a beautiful secretary.  They fell in love.  He left the priesthood and married the girl…. and  now have 4  children .  Lucky girl. I wish I could find an ex – monk. * sigh *

Now on to Burgos and Bilbao, Spain.

Burgos and Bilbao were our last stops in Spain. Both are located  in the northern parrt of Spain. Bilbao is the capital of the province of Bilbao , and the autonomous region of the Basque country.

DSCN1695 DSCN1696

.Above 2 photos were taken from the hotel. In case you haven’t noticed it, all the buildings  are colored orange. The only one with a different color, red, is McDonald’s. This is the newer part of Bilbao. Bilbao is a nice place but it’s not a popular tourist destination. Funny thing though, Bilbao is  popular in our household.  Mom always adds Chorizo de Bilbao to her Philippine dishes., such as Cocido, Pochero, spaghetti  and  all sorts of soups and stews.


.I wonder what they call this in Bilbao….. just Chorizo?  They don’t make this in Bilbao, though. It ‘s a Philippine  sausage  concocted by some guy from Bilbao. He he … well, that’s true.


.Above photo is the Guggenheim Museum. The building was designed by American Frank Gehry and is made of glass, stone and titanium. We didn’t get to see what was  in there. We had lunch and just walked around  the vicinity .



.There’s one  important thing about Bilbao and the Basque region.. It is an autonomous region of Spain… kind of separate but equal  thing ……. giving an autonomous status to a place is actually the next step to independence, but of course, the Spanish government won’t allow that.  Majority of the   Basque people though vehemently  want  independence……. that leads  some to engage in ” terroristic” “activities. Calling it terrorism  depends on whose side you’re on, of course.  And people there don’t want to be called Spaniards and  to refer to the Basque region as Spain.  (  like Barcelona ). In fact, we saw a loooong line of cars waiting to be inspected at the border between Spain and France.


.Dinner at the hotel

On to Burgos…..

Burgos is in the n0rthern part of Spain, and is the capital of Castille.  Burgos has  a lot of medieval structures  that are well preserved.  Burgos though is noted for it’s number one  inhabitant …. EL CID, the National  Hero of Spain.  His war exploits , and his victories were legendary.  Please  google him.  Oh, and there was an old movie about El Cid, starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren.

Below is the statue of El Cid. Actually , it was the Moors  who called him  that name, from Arabic wotd Seid, meaning  ” lord”.



Oh, that’s Ruben, our tour manager.




.The Burgos Cathedral , built in 1221, and is a Unesco World Heritage site.  Gothic style architecture.

Picture below is from Wikipedia.








This  castle  was built in 840 AD.

That’s it for Bilbao and Burgos. To be honest, I felt   more history vibes  in Burgos  than in Bilbao.  Oh, and I got to eat Spain’s famous blood sausage,  Burgos Morcilla.  I liked it better than the one I had in London. Also, I did write before that one of my favorite Philippine dishes was  a blood dish too.  It’s an acquired taste, folks.

I think I missed one place in Spain. The problem is, I have no idea  where that is…. there’s a bunch of photos  in the folder, and I’m sure they’re from  another place in Spain.  I’m so lame. I really need to hurry up and get this done.  I’m even forgetting the names of places I’ve been to. Yikes !

I guess I’ll just post the photos  on my next post, which is France.

This is all for now. Good day, and stay cool. PEACE !