Thursday, April 23, 2009

Living Batangueño: My new vocabulary

I'm a city born boy living and working in Batangas City for the last 4 years. This post is part of a series about adjusting to life in Batangas - Living Batangueño. Please subscribe!

Don't call the ladies "manang"

In Manila, it is common to refer to anyone older than you as "manang / manong", or "ate / kuya", both meaning elder sister or brother. In Batangas, the proper term for respect is "Ka". For example, you would call an elder who is not your relative "Ka -insert_name_here-", say for example, Ka Roger or Ka Pedring or Ka Linda.

When I was newly transplanted, some colleagues and I would have lunch at this nearby "bangihan" (bbq) place. One time, I was wanting something spicy for my sauce, so I called out to the serving lady, "Manang, pahingi ho ng sili (can I have some chili)". The lady just smiled at me and asked for some chili from another serving lady. The other lady then brought her some chili teasing, "O, Ka Manang, eto na yung sili! (here's the chili!)". Hehehehe. Pwnd! :p

Call me "Utoy" (not tutoy!)

On the other end of the geriatric spectrum, while elders are called "Ka", young Batangueño boys are referred to as "utoy" and young Batangueño girls are called "ineng". Being baby-faced and short (ouch!), I'm often called "utoy" here. That actually took some getting used to for my ears as "utoy" sounds very similar to "tutoy" which is in Manila, a short name for a kid's penis. Lol!


It's pronounced "gah"

One of the very first Batangueño things I learned was how to properly pronounce "ga". I had always thought it was pronounced with a shortened guttural "a" sound, pronouncing the "g" then closing your throat as if you choking. I was wrong! :p It's pronounced with a bit more sustained "a" (like "gaa" or "gah").

Now go practice!

"Ano, ga?"


  1. nice intro to language and the funny situations it can get you into. what no TT this week? hope you are well.

  2. I Notice That Pakistani Males here in England always call any other older Male they meet "Uncle".A similar tradition?

  3. I will get this right eventually!

    Oops! Sorry. I commented about Singapore (below) but realize now that you're in the Philippines (my dad was there briefly, as well). My father was stationed with the British Army in Singapore in the late 1940s. He always spoke very fondly of his time there and dreamed of a day when he could go back to a place called "Panang"? Sadly, he died last November, but he never missed an opportunity late in life, to speak with people he came across in Canada who were from those regions. He always asked about their country and engaged them in friendly banter.


    P.S. The dogs in the photo weren't mine. I do have 4 cats, though.

  4. Thanks for 411 on culture. Missed your TT post but see you're around on the tour.

  5. Well at least looking young and fresh faced will stand you in good stead when you're 40! And 'GAH' is my favourite online term of exasperation! You speak Tagalog too?

  6. Interesting post. You may call me Ka Sandra. ;>)

    Detective that I am, I found the TT reference by following the link to your Playing Around with Photoshop #1 post. Very clever.

  7. @Brian - no Theme Thursday post from me this week. :( but I did my rounds!

    @tony - probably yeah. it's a sign of respect for older people.

    @Kat - i think it's great that he kept in touch with his past friends! i know how difficult that is. haha.

    @Ronda - :D ur welcome. this will be part of a series!

    @Baino - haha. I hope so! and YES, Tagalog is my first and primary language! lol. :D

    @Ka Sandra - the name sounds good with the "Ka"! Haha, honestly wasn't meant to be the TT post, but, it's fire nonetheless! :D thank you!

  8. "kaane ka" means "your annoying" something like that.

  9. some1 texted me this 'Kaane ka' and i dont understand.. what does it mean? 

  10. pano po ba pag i love you sa Batanguenio