Now that Ransom Rigg’s debut novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a motion picture, it would be great to celebrate distinctly Pinoy mannerisms that foreigners often find odd. They may not be as peculiar as having the ability to fly or become invisible, but these cultural indicators scream Pinoy! through and through.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever done some, if not all, of these mannerisms:
1. Point with your lips
Ask someone for directions and they’re most likely to show you the way by making a duckface and a quick turn of the head. Maybe because we grew up with our parents telling us it’s rude to point at people? We may never know for sure, but hey, we seem to manage just fine pursing our lips.
2. Call anyone older than you Ate or Kuya
This is one of the things we seem to do more out of habit than courtesy. The terms Ate and Kuya are not exclusive for one’s older siblings. Anyone can be an Ate or a Kuya – your househelp, the seller at a sari-sari store, the cab driver, and every security guard ever.
3. Automatically call all of your friends’ parents Tito and Tita
Similar to calling complete strangers Ate and Kuya, Pinoys have a habit of addressing our friends’ parents as either Tito or Tita. It’s a habit ingrained in our culture where the idea of family includes everyone you’re close with. You don’t call them Mr. Cruz or Mrs. Cruz, right? And sometimes, you even call them the same way your friends do. For example, if your friend calls his grandmother Nanay, you also tend to call her that way. No wonder foreigners have difficulty understanding our family trees!
4. Eat with one leg up on the chair (at home)
Ah, I have to admit, this is one of the things I also do at home. Social convention notwithstanding, it’s more comfortable to eat that way! It might look inappropriate — and even complicated — to some, but as long as you only do it at home, then go ahead.
5. Complete a sentence with “Ano” and people will understand what you mean
While using fillers is also pretty common in the English language, referring to the subject of your sentence as “Ano” — and being understood! — is something distinctly Pinoy. For example, tell anyone, “Pakikuha nga iyong ano du’n sa ibabaw ng ano,” and nine times out of ten, you’ll get exactly what you want. Heck, was that a tongue twister or a riddle?
6. Nod your head to say hello to someone
When you bump into a kakilala at the mall or at the streets, what better way to greet them than to give them a quick nod of your head? Nodding “up” tends to be more casual and mostly used for your buddies, while nodding “down” conveys a bit more respect and used for Titos and Titas. No matter who you nod your head to, they will all understand you meant hello.
7. A fondness for adding the letter “H” to names
Have you ever met an Annah, Jhun, Rhon, Khristine, or Kharlo? I bet you have. The letter “H” makes all the difference.