Monday, October 6, 2014

3 Easy Steps to Get Rid of Neighbors' Pets Coming into your House

We just moved in this new apartelle. It's brand new, and we were the first occupants. However, stray cats and three newborn puppies have been roaming around our place, sometimes urinating and leaving poop on our doorstep. We have already notified the owner of the puppies but they are still roaming around, so we decided to act on our own and keep the peace in the neighborhood. Here are three easy steps that we did yesterday. Yes, we devoted one whole day for this project:

1. Buy chicken wire from the hardware and cut it into the desired size. (One foot in our case, just to cover the lowest part of our gate).

2. Embellish it beads or buttons, depending on what is available in the household. 

3. Install your personalized "Keep the Dogs Out" project. 

A little effort for a nicer look of the chicken wire. We were looking for a spray paint within the area but there was none If you're going to do this, we recommend that you paint it with your favorite color. You'll love the way you solved the problem. Try it!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Have you been to any market in the Philippines at a time when the store owners are just setting up their goods, or they probably just opened, early in the morning? If you have, then you must have heard the words..."Buena mano lang po." It is the statement often used to make the first sale, something that is believed to bring handsome profit for the rest of the day.

"Buena mano" literally means "good hand" from Spanish words buena (good) and mano (hand). According to historian Ambeth Ocampo, the use of this phrase started during the time when those calesa drivers or cocheros took good care of the horse by feeding them well and keeping the carriage clean. These men managed to teach horses to follow traffic rules and not do a counterflow. Hence, passengers were in good cochero hands. But just as calesas can now rarely be found except in Intramuros, Laoag, Vigan, and few other places, the meaning of "buena mano" has changed in time.

Consuelo J. Paz of the University of the Philippines on the other hand, had a paper "Compounding Old and New Words in Filipino" which stated that Spanish compound word like the colloquial term "buena mano" (after you) has undergone semantic change in the Philippines. It has been used to mean the first buyer or customer.

However, there is more to that phrase now than just Paz's meaning. "Buena mano" has become a good luck charm that is believed to bring good sale from the first transaction till the closing hour of the day. It is believed that if the first sale is good, the rest of the day will be. For good vibes, the first customer that comes upon the store's morning opening should make a good buy. In some communities where people know each other, there are instances when the seller would request somebody known to be a lucky "buena mano" to make the first purchase so that the goods will be sold out (buena mano, ubos!) The money from the first successful transaction is usually being patted on the items for sale in the belief that by doing so, good luck will come. Moreover, any negative happening within the day is usually blamed from a not-so-good first transaction during the opening of the store for that particular day.

There are times when a customer that bought something has to change an item, for whatever reason. From a seller's point of view, it is not a good practice to change that very early when a considerable amount of sale is not yet made. In times like this, the customer is asked to come back later in the day as the store has yet to have its "buena mano." Some other store owners do not buy anything in the morning unless they had made their first sale.

Buena mano is not at all bad nor one-sided. Consumers get to pick the best when buying vegetables that came from the farm in tyangge on market days. It is also a perfect time to do haggling. The seller usually gives the first buyer a good discount believing that the first sale has to be made so that more transactions will follow. In the process,  the customer gets a discount while the seller gets the first sale.

Now, are you thinking of making your next purchase early in the morning? Sure you are, but it has to be made in a public market--- not in the mall!


Friday, June 28, 2013

LOPEZ LINGO: intersection with, and peculiarities from TAYABAS TAGALOG

An excerpt from the paper presented to the 7th ATAGAN: "PANHIK" Tayabas Studies Conference  

 c. 2012 by Maria Gemma A. Suguitan-San Jose

Ay tano?” doesn’t seem Tagalog to many. But in fact, it is!

Tagalog became the basis for the Philippines’ national language called Filipino, understood by most Filipinos all over the world. However, not all Tagalog-speaking provinces have the same words, meaning and usage. Quezon Province for one, has its own uniqueness and twang that is not familiar in Metro Manila, Bulacan, and even in the Southern Tagalog Provinces namely Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, and Rizal. Even within Quezon, there are still differences in words in some towns and cities. This study on Lopez Lingo locally known as Salitang Lopez, discusses the similarities of words used within the province--- the so-called Tayabas Tagalog (Manuel 1971), and its pecularities that is only understood by the townspeople in Lopez, the Lopenzes.

Historically, Lopez (old name Talolong) was merely a sitio of Gumaca. Distance from the town and alarming presence of pirates urged the people to file a petition for it to become independent from its mother town. Several petitions were made by Lopenzes in the late 1700s before it became Visita Talolong. Hardwork of the natives in the field of agriculture and natural endowments to the bountiful land opened an avenue for migration of families from other towns in the province like Mauban, Lucban, Tayabas, etc. One of those who migrated was Don Mateo Lopez, said to be from whom its present name was derived. He had been considered the founder as he was cabeza when Talolong was declared a pueblo according to local history, on 30 April 1856--- until I found out that in 1856 it was Carlos Matriano and in 1857 it was Antonio Olivares, and the town’s foundation was actually 30 June 1857. (Errors in our local history is discussed in another book, though).

Being one of the oldest towns in Quezon is but one of the characteristics that probably contributed to the development of its language, or dialect, if we are to accept that some Tagalog words are considered standard and some are provincial. (But why make it appear lesser of a language just because it is not used in Metro Manila?)  There are other factors. Once called Tiangge Capital of Quezon, people from nearby places come to this town on market (tiangge) day to buy agricultural products that occupied six major streets in the poblacion. Moreover, it has the largest and most advanced hospital in the area, the Magsaysay Memorial District Hospital where patients from nearby towns are brought to be treated. The point is, people from other places often come to Lopez and it may have enriched rather than affected the language negatively. Being geographically far from Metro Manila may also be one of the main reasons why the language had remained untouched, and Lopenzes naturally love Salitang Lopez.

The people of Lopez have high regard for education. Once the students graduate from high school, most parents send them to universities in Manila. In case of these students and other Lopenzes working in Metro Manila or any other place outside Quezon Province, Salitang Lopez may have been set aside when talking with other people as they easily adapt to “eh” and “kasi” of the city but with townmates, native language is usually used wherever they meet.

Salitang Lopez is a variety of Tagalog that has evolved through time yet mostly preserved and enjoyed even by the youth of today. More than a thousand words circulate from still unknown origin even before Spanish occupation in the country. This is one of the reasons why it was declared winner in a 2010 national competition called “Doon Po Sa Amin.” Like Filipino Language though, it also has a mixture of words coming from the Chinese, Spanish, English, the Bicol Region, Marinduque, Laguna, Batangas, even from Ilocos and the Visayas; and of course, Quezon. There has not been any prior study to examine each of the words closely but in the hope of preservation so that the future generation will still be able to understand the language of their ancestors, Arella-Suguitan Museum with the help of Lopez Heritage Conservation and Historical Society (formerly Lopez Culture, Arts, and Tourism Council) have compiled the Lopez Words since 2004. I began in 2001, continuously doing it until the present time. We cannot wait for authorities to do it for us but we would be very glad to welcome linguistics experts and lexicographers to make us understand better what we need to know about our mother tongue. Most of Salitang Lopez are not found in the Filipino dictionary. Or if the words are included, they have different meanings. There was even a Fil-Am who asked, ‘How can I teach Lopez Lingo to my kids when they don’t find it in the dictionary?’ That is what we are working for right now. Just because it is not part of the standard Tagalog does not mean that it does not exist. I have come up with a local reference but in fear of being called a pseudo-linguist by those who have advanced study about languages, it is humbly entitled, “Katuturan.”      

Today, Lopez is a First Class Municipality that is home to five major learning institutions mostly state universities like Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Lopez, Philippine Normal University (PNU) Quezon Campus, Laguna State Polytechnic College (LSPU) Lopez, Technological University of the Philippines (TUP) Lopez, and Quezon Provincial Training Center of the TESDA. There is an influx of students from all over the neighboring towns, in the Bondoc Peninsula, and even from the nearby municipalities in the Bicol Region. Some graduates from these institutions have married and settled in Lopez. This has become one of the reasons for urgency in the documentation of Lopez Lingo. Deterioration of native language cannot be compromised to the development brought about by the growing population. We cannot be complacent that the language will be preserved without extra effort from its people. There is a need for new settlers to adapt to the local language.   

When internet was created, it seemed like the end for cultural awareness to proliferate. It seemed like everything will be global and diversity will totally be gone. But looking at the things happening right now, the social media undoubtedly encouraged love for country, citizens are picking up the pieces of what still remains of local culture, constantly searching for roots and history, reminiscing what the local places were like before they got busy with work either in the Philippines or overseas. Those who thought that internet would transform the diversity of cultures into one global thing were all wrong. The social media has become an important vehicle for connection and "re-connecting."

I opened a page on Facebook in 2008 where I put pictures and encouraged discussions about our town, including Lopez Lingo. In no time, it has reached the maximum number of friends that it can accommodate. Everybody was happily interacting, communicating, reminiscing the past, using Salitang Lopez which most of the Filipinos abroad have not used nor read for a long time. And it has become their routine to chat and once again, use the words that had been kept in their memories for quite sometime. The World Wide Web has become a friend to local language which used to circulate only within the community. It has become easier to introduce or re-introduce it to the most number of people just with one click of the mouse. The world has gone smaller but the colors have gone brighter! Preservation of the language is one good practice alright, but promotion is another. Through the use of the social media, the language has been promoted and the joys of those involved don’t seem to end.

The book of E. Arsenio Manuel published by Diliman Review “A Lexicographic Study of Tayabas Tagalog of Quezon Province” was the primary basis that I used for delineating which belong to Quezon and which belong to Lopez alone. Since it was published more than forty years ago, changes must have already transpired in time. Nonetheless, PANHIK Tayabas (Quezon) Studies Conference is one of the few instances where Salitang Lopez had taken center stage as we proved our uniqueness as a town and sharing Tayabas Tagalog with the rest of Quezon with which we also share one heritage. A few more words have already found their own space in the Filipino Dictionary. Hence, we have to settle to the research that is done this year, hoping that this initiates a longer and more detailed study on the “other” Tagalog referred to as Lopez Lingo, Lopezspeak, Lopez Words, or simply, Salitang Lopez!

And now, a few examples…Note that the words with asterisk are Tayabas (Quezon) Tagalog. Otherwise, it’s from Lopez:

1.    alab-alab/ bala-bala mean kunwari or to pretend:
Alab-alab ay tayo ay magkababag.
Let us pretend that we are enemies.

2.    alagiag* means di-mapakali or uncomfortable, anxious
Tano at ikaw ay alagiag?
Why are you anxious?

3.    alik-ik* means ipit na tawa or giggle
Nag-aalik-ik sa isang sulok ang kanilang angkin.
Their adopted child is giggling in the corner.

4.    asapmo’y/ isimo’y mean tila, parang, or looks like, acting like
Isimo’y mayaman yung ale.
The woman looks like she's wealthy.

5.    atas* means tanggal or detached, unbound
Hirap namang sulatan nung kuwaderno, atas-atas na.
It’s difficult to write on that notebook, the pages are detached.

6.    balho* means bago or before
Manabo ka muna balho magbaldeyo.
Fetch water first before washing the floor.

7.    bangkiya* means sumama or to tag along 
Huwag ka ng bumangkiya at ika’y may abyarin.
Don’t tag along anymore because you have tasks to attend to.

8.    bunghalit means tawang malakas or to suddenly laugh aloud
Napabunghalit ako nang nakita ko syang bitbit ang mga abubot.
I suddenly laughed aloud as I saw him/her carrying knickknacks.

9.    butbot* means kuwago or owl
Bait, takot ka nga ba tuo sa butbot?
Little child, are you really scared of the owl?

10. butwa* means angatin or lift
Butwain mo ng bahagya para malaman mo kung mabig-at.
Lift it slightly so you will know whether it is heavy.

The examples given here are but a few of the words that have been in use in Quezon and Lopez. Though they may still be known at this point in time, the possibility that it will vanish is always there--- just as the abuhan has been replaced by electic stove or microwave, abaniko has been replaced by electric fan or air conditioner, tambo has been replaced by the vacuum cleaner--- therefore, there is no time to waste now that there is still opportunity to preserve and document everything. The whole Tagalog speaking population has not even known these words yet. Should we lose it or use it? Ay tano’t babayaang mawala?  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

FBFs: How Well Do You Know Them?

Facebook Friend! That's what "FBF" means, (and I checked it out at How many Facebook Friends or FBFs do you have in your friends list? Do you know all of them?

Fulfilling! I did have a very tiresome yet worthwhile afternoon today by checking who are in my list, more than 13 hundreds of them. Not too many, compared to those who have full account which means more than five thousand. I saw family members, relatives, namesakes, former classmates, block mates, schoolmates, town mates, office mates, board mates, dorm mates, friends, acquaintances, mentors, inspirations, and a handful of strangers that I have to check later on. The latter, I have accepted for reasons like too many mutual friends, same hometown, or mere trustworthiness. I wrote all names on a 17-page yellow paper because that would be the most convenient way for me to search them and visit respective pages. I'm not techie enough to have 'captured' the page or downloaded them, (if at all possible). 

Foolishness? Not really. Those I am most familiar with, I really want to get in touch. Those names which are strange, I would want to get to know well. And those which are fictitious, empty or dummy accounts, I wouldn't be guilty to delete on my list, in order to accommodate more interesting people who would want to be friends with me on Facebook. 

Friends are treasures, so goes the saying; and I want to keep them close to my heart. Now, how well do you know your FBFs?


Today, I just had a chat with Rence. I met him at the 1st Laguna Blogging Summit (1LaBS), then I joined his Postal Heritage Tour last December. He asked me if I would want to promote my books at the Royal Postal Heritage Tour that we are going to have on the 21st of July 2013; to which I agreed. Just a few minutes after posting at the events page, I already got orders from people I met in the tour last year.

Also today, I invited some FBFs to like my new page Queen's Gems where samples of the bead jewelry I have been designing are posted... and I saw some angel friends who readily heeded to my call. Oh, I love friends who support my projects! Not just bead-making but even my events and advocacy.

I have this habit of searching my name through Google, another craziness that I share with those people who do it. And I found newspaper articles about some of my activities written by yet other angels on my friends list. 

Getting to know my FBFs better will continue as I document little details here. I am richer today than yesterday as I have found FBFs who are angels in disguise; not to mention the endless joy and excitement  brought to me by my word buddies in Words with Friends, mental challenge and entertainment right where I may be.

How about me, am I also an angel to them? I try my best to return the favors. Human relations are give and take. It's a two-way process.


I love reading comments from friends. I learn a lot from them. It doesn't matter whether they are highly academic or not. Every comment on each thread is meant to be read and even one-liners or just a word can make a difference.

I give comments and like pictures too. There had been a few times when I got bothered with posts which  signal suicidal tendencies that I did my best to let my friend see the better side of life. One friend, a municipal mayor, even joked that my comments are paragraphs--- to which I replied, "that's why I had my blog, my comments cannot be contained in a small box." I find it enriching to exchange ideas about everything under the sun. Some I know some I don't. It also gives me an opportunity to research or just Google once in a while.

Even "likes" inspire us most of the time, especially when the person who clicks the like button is special to us, or rarely does it. Have you had that awkward feeling that no one likes the post that you expected friends to like? Even Facebook usage is a learning experience!


I read posts. Even long ones if I have time. These are opportunities to learn something out of it, and get to know your friend who posted it as well. Quotes that flood may sometimes reflect the person who posted it, though other times they just find it cute and may not have anything to do with them. I have this habit of revising quotes to fit me or my friends. We don't always have to agree on what we see. The keyword is learning and entertainment. Social networking must be fun, it must be light, and it must always revolve on the essence of keeping our FBFs and getting to know them better!


Good news is all around, and so are the bad ones. By checking on the status of our FBFs, we become updated with the goings-on. We even have continuous news feed about them, all it takes is to go online.