Tag Archives: tagalog language

Meal Plans

Báon is a Tagalog word that means food, or items packed, specifically for a trip.

Ang báon ko ay tinapay. (I brought bread.)  Nag-báon ako ng maraming libro.  (I packed a lot of books.)

It can also mean monetary allowance for a trip.

Magkano ang báon mo?  (How much money did you bring?)

Báon is also the word used to refer to food packed for school.

Anong gusto mong báon bukas?   (What snack/lunch do you want to bring to school tomorrow?

I pack my children’s snacks and lunches for school.  With the invention of Thermos and ice packs, there is really no reason for me to spend extra on hot lunches or salads at school.

Palagi silang may báon. (They always bring packed food.)

IMG_0127    IMG_0027Adobo wings

Occasionally, I would pre-order lunch for them in school, especially on sushi days.  But regularly, nag ba-báon sila (they bring packed food).

My children know what to expect for their báon.  I post the menu of the week on my refrigerator door for easy reference.

It is not always easy for me to follow through with my weekly menus, but when I do, I feel I am organized and in control.  I have less food waste, I have more time to do other things, and I don’t overspend on food.

Planning our weekly menu is a family activity.  My son would go through the recipe books I have, and then he would choose several dishes.  Usually, I would be able to cook his choices.

IMG_0016Bacon quiche from a recipe book

I would then buy all the ingredients and cook a week’s worth of food for báon and dinner. I would store them in leak-proof tempered glass containers so they can easily go in the microwave or oven.

My daughter would then decide on which days the food would be served. She would help write the menu.

IMG_0113Menu for this week

Something could definitely be said when all you have to do is take a couple of containers from the fridge and dinner is served.  You have more time to spend with the children.

Lost in Translation

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My daughter was playing with plastic eggs left over from Easter when she decided that she wanted the egg that was on the top  shelf.

I was napping when she asked me to get it.

“I am going to get the egg later“, I said.

Like a typical four-year old (this happened last year), she had to have the one egg that was out of reach.  It did not matter that she had 2-dozen other plastic eggs in front of her.

Real eggs that we decorated

She begged.  She cried.  She pleaded.

I was still trying to nap.  I begged!  I cried!  I pleaded!

At this point, my feisty little girl started stomping her feet.  It was now a full-blown tantrum.  She was now screaming and demanding that I get her toy–NOW!

I am a preschool teacher so I am no stranger to  meltdowns and tantrums.  I have been told that I am very patient with my students.  I don’t get annoyed, and I am usually calm and composed.

But, when my own children start to make unreasonable demands —like getting a toy when there are other toys to play with—I go bananas.  More bananas than usual now because a nap, that I seldom take, was interrupted.

So I said, “No!”

She got deliriously mad.  She was now stomping both her feet, screaming at me, and telling me to get up and do what she is asking me to do.

Oh, I did get up!  And I sent her to her room.  But not before I said something that sounded eerily similar to what my mom would have said…

Aba, aba, aba!  Huwag mo akong kakausapin ng ganyan.  Umakyat ka sa taas!

(Very loosely translated to:  Hey, hey, hey!  You do not talk to me in that manner!  Go upstairs!)

My kids know that being sent upstairs is not a punishment.  That part of the house is good for helping them calm down and regroup, though when the words came out of my mouth, being sent upstairs seemed like a punishment.

I called her on her behavior because to me, talking that way was being disrespectful.

Sometimes, when children are caught up with emotions that are spiraling out of control, they need to be taken out of the situation.  The room where I sent her has toys, books, and a soft bed —things that could pacify her during this meltdown.


Reading can always calm her down

Later that night as she was helping me with dinner, and all traces of that ugly argument forgotten (or so I thought), she asked me in her sweetest voice,

“Mom, what does aba, aba, aba, mean?  (She clearly understood the rest of my Tagalog command.)

 It caught me by surprise,  “It means, I don’t like what you are doing.”

“Ohhhhhhh.  Next time just say, I don’t like what you are doing… because I don’t understand what aba, aba, aba means. Okay?”

To which I retorted,

Aba, aba, aba!  Now you know.  So don’t do it again!



aba: Word: aba!
English Definition: (intj.) an exclamation of surprise, wonder, or disgust; emphatic denial.
Examples: Aba! Bakit ngayon mo lang sinabi? (Hey, how come you only said it now?)


Any wisecracks you’ve heard from kids?  Share them in the comment section, please.

How to set the table

For Filipinos, preparing a meal is a time to gather around the kitchen to help each other cook, and catch up on the day’s events.

This is also the children’s first introduction to cooking. It has been said that when young children participate in food preparation, they will more likely eat and enjoy the home-cooked meal.

My very first job in the kitchen was setting the table. When I was old enough to hold a knife, I graduated to prepping the food. After I’ve learned the secret recipes and the shortcuts from my parents, I became the head chef. By this time I didn’t have to cook a lot, I was only cooking for me, my parents, a couple of siblings, and sometimes, a guest or two.

Preparing a meal requires everyone’s help.

I cook.

My children set the table.

My husband does the dishes.

It is a project in which everyone in the family participates.

Here’s a refresher on how to set the table:

Raising Bilingual Children

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I have been struggling to raise my children to speak Tagalog.  I accept my role in teaching them Tagalog, and accept responsibility for not being consistent.  At times, I find it easier to talk to them in English because it seems less complicated.

I have discovered that despite conveying the same meaning, English sentences use less syllables than Tagalog sentences.  Because of this, I am more partial to using English because my message is just delivered faster, and I get a quicker response.

Doing a chore:

Umakyat ka at kunin mo ang maduming damit.  (14 syllables)

Go upstairs and get your dirty laundry. (10 syllables)

Asking about the temperature:

Mainit o malamig  ( 7 syllables)

Hot or cold (3 syllables)

Talking about school:

Anong ginawa mo sa eskwela? (10 syllables)

What did you do in school? (6 syllables)

Both my children understand Tagalog.  It is a stretch to say that they can express themselves in Tagalog, although they know enough nouns and verbs to be able to eavesdrop in Tagalog conversations.

Researchers say that second language acquisition starts at birth, but I am from the school of thought that it is never too late to start.  I will just have to be more mindful of using Tagalog when I am with them.

My plan this summer is to make my children proficient in Tagalog.  As I always say, “Everything is a skill;  if you do it long enough, you will get better at it.”

Here is my 5-step plan.  I created this plan with the basic knowledge of how infants learn how to talk.  Immersing the children in the language you want them to learn is the basic premise for plan.

  1. Read Tagalog Books –Some bilingual books use what I call, Shakespearean Tagalog, or words that are very poetic.  Great prose, but not necessarily used in daily conversation.  Books like these, I would paraphrase using common Tagalog vocabulary.
  2. Play Games–This will help increase vocabulary words.  Games like Bring Me, I Spy, even Memory Game with pictures labeled in Tagalog would be fun, challenging, and entertaining.
  3. Listen to Music–I used to teach in a school that taught Mandarin.  When the lao sher (Chinese teacher) came for class, I would stay at the back of the room and catch up on writing notes to parents.  Fifteen years later, I can still sing the songs in Chinese, and I wasn’t even paying attention.  Because of the melody, the words are remembered longer.
  4. Have a playgroup or someone to converse with–A toddler who is just learning to talk may say, ball, to mean, “Get the ball”.  The adult will be able to help the child express himself better by repeating the word, adding an adjective to the noun, and doing the action. The conversation may sound like this: Child: ball Adult: The blue ball (while getting).  You want the blue ball? (while giving the child the ball)  A regular conversation like this, will teach the child sentence construction, syntax, as well as, more vocabulary words.
  5. Visiting the Philippines–Being in a country where everyone speaks the language is the best way to learn the language, customs, and culture.


Walking the side street of Lipa City



A photo taken by my daughter of Boracay Beach


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Sesame Street was the very first TV program that I was allowed to watch when I was younger.  Grover’s recurring character as a waiter is one of my favorites.  I loved how Mr. Johnson, the blue puppet who frequents the restaurant, would demand frivolous things from Grover.  The actual teaching happens during the discourse.

This is the inspiration to this video…with a Tagalog twist.

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