Tag Archives: Tagalog Vocabulary

College Friends

Kaibigan is the Tagalog word for friend.

Magkaibigan tayo.  (We are friends.)

The root word is ibig meaning like, or fond.

Ibig kong lumangoy.  (I like to swim.)

One of my very good friends got married this weekend.  Our little tight-knit group, now scattered all over the globe, has decided to celebrate this special occasion by gathering for a buddymoon (or honeymoon with friends).

Our friendship started back in college. For four years, we encouraged each other to have fun and be successful in school. We learned very early when to study and study hard (!) and when to kick back and party.

After graduation, we went our separate ways—some left the country, others pursued further education, one went to law school, and one pursued her passion for cooking.

Now a couple of decades later, during the very rare occasions that we are in the same time zone, we still recount and embellish stories from long ago  —my favorite ones are about crashing a blind date, being clipped by a tricycle while crossing Katipunan, and getting a wall clock and electric fan from a paramour for Christmas!

We try to meet up in Manila whenever we can, but that is easier said than done. Between work and family, it is next to impossible to coordinate everyone’s schedule.

CIMG0766My wedding entourage

We regularly email each other to share milestones.  Smartphone allows us now to chat in real time too.  And thanks to WhatsApp, we even know what our inaanak (godchild) is having for lunch.

IMG_0238Sunrise in Sydney (Photo by ILDM)

I could not agree more with what we learned from St. Thomas Aquinas in one of our Philosophy classes:   There is nothing in this world to be prized than true friendship.

 Now if we can only agree on where to meet up for this buddymoon.

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.

Bistec Tagalog

I always looked forward to visiting my lolas (grandmother) on Sundays. My lola and her sisters lived in Lipa, and we would visit them almost every weekend.  They would always have treats waiting for us when we came.

My favorites were:  Sundot Saging (skewered bananas fried in brown sugar), Pilipit (steamed ground sweet sticky rice, fried and then dipped in caramelized sugar), and Pastillas (sweet pastilles made with cow’s milk and rolled in white sugar).

Although I loved the sweet treats, I enjoyed the special savory dishes more.

For Sunday breakfast, Tita Nena would cook Bistec and serve it with pandesal (bread roll) or fried rice rice and sunny side up.

My lola’s Bistec is topped with raw Vidalia onion rings.  I love onions, but I don’t like them raw.  So, I tweaked the recipe and cooked the onions.

This is one of the few dishes that my children  don’t mind eating with brown rice.

Bistec Tagalog

1 pound of thinly sliced sukiyaki beef

1-2 onions cut into rings

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 lemon

pepper to taste

olive oil

Cook garlic with olive oil until golden brown.  Set aside.  In the same pan, add olive oil and caramelize the onions  (around 4-5 minutes).  Set aside.  Still using the same pan, add a little more olive oil, and cook the beef.  Sear the beef in batches to ensure that pan is always hot.  Once all the beef slices are cooked, put the garlic and caramelized onions back in the pan.  Add soy, water, sugar, pepper, and lemon.  Let simmer for 2 minutes.  Serve with rice.

     

Learning Language

At the beginning of summer, I had a goal: to encourage my children to speak Tagalog. Now that summer is beginning to wind down with me going back to work today, and the children going back to school in a couple of days, the teacher in me can’t help but evaluate if I was able to achieve my objective.

I am grading myself on two things:  the number of new Tagalog vocabulary words that my children know, and my children’s ability to form coherent Tagalog sentences.

My daughter started the summer knowing just a few words.  She can easily translate Tagalog words to English, but was challenged with finding the right Tagalog term for many English words.

She has a notebook where she writes new Tagalog words. In her notebook, she wrote:  Parts of the House, and Parts of the Body.  When she started this activity, she only knew at most, two words for each category.  After a whole summer, she has filled the the pages with at least 10 Tagalog words.  Progress, don’t you agree?

            

Before the summer, my children would only speak in complete Tagalog sentences when prompted.  I would like to think that with my determination (a.k.a. kakulitan), now they are able speak Tagalog  with greater fluency and frequency.  Obviously, knowing more vocabulary words helped.

In the last couple of weeks, they would ask, “Nanay, pwede pahingi ng mainit na (gatas na) tsokolate?”  (Mom, may I have hot chocolate milk?) Not bad.

Last Friday, we were in a Filipino restaurant and ordered Halo-halo ( a dessert with shaved ice and an assortment of candied or fresh fruits and sweet beans, and doused with  milk).  We also ordered the restaurant’s special dessert, Bobo Chacha, a tall glass of vanilla ice cream, coconut milk, cubed sweet potatoes, topped with pinipig.

After sampling a little of both, my son said, “Mas gusto ko ang Halo-halo (kaysa) sa Bobo Chacha.”  (I like Halo-halo more that Bobo Chacha.)

I think my biggest achievement is not that they are speaking Tagalog more, but that they are more receptive in learning Tagalog.  It is a huge victory when they no longer ask me why I keep on talking to them in Tagalog.

Co-Sleep

This is how my daughter’s bed looks like in the morning.  If you think that it looks like it hasn’t been slept on, you are absolutely right.  She only sleeps on it for a few hours at night, and then leaves it before dawn for our warm Cal-King bed.

Co-sleeping works for my family, but I am sure that it does not work for all.

Before my husband and I decided to co-sleep with our firstborn, we researched on the pros and cons.  I certainly loved the many advantages; not having to walk to the crib for feeding is at the top of the list.

I consulted my pediatrician.  He said that a high percentage of parents who accidentally roll over infants in bed without ever waking up were either obese or alcoholic. Since my husband and I are neither alcoholic nor obese, we thought of giving our plan a try.

Co-sleeping turned out to be the best for us.  My sleep was only interrupted by feedings, which wasn’t so bad because I would fall back to sleep soon after my baby burped. When my son was two, we transferred him to a toddler bed we set up in our room, so my newborn daughter could co-sleep with us.  Only when we moved to a bigger house did the children start to sleep in their own beds.

The transition to sleeping in their own room was fortunately very easy.  I tucked them in their beds,  did the nighttime ritual (reading and praying), and then shut the door. Both slept straight through the night without problems. At that time my daughter still wore pull-ups.

It was only when my daughter was completely potty trained that she started sleeping with us again.  Instead of going back to her bedroom after a trip to the loo at night,  she would head to our bed, snuggle, and stay there until morning.  In Tagalog, we call this lambing, or showing affection.  I don’t find it intrusive.  In fact, I welcome it.

I know that there will come a time when my daughter would no longer sneak in our bedroom.  She would eventually  want her independence and her own space.  When that time comes, my husband and I would have lots of happy memories of cuddling with her. Until then, I look forward to waking up to her unique snore and finding her foot on my face.  And if I am lucky enough, I hope to wake up sweaty to find her little arms wrapped around my neck.

 

Blackout

We were getting ready for dinner last night when the lights went off.  I don’t remember the last time there was power outage in the city.  I waited for ten minutes before gathering all my decorative scented candles to light for dinner.  The children were excited to see the candles play a significant role in our household (other than to make the house smell like vanilla).

Over dinner I shared with the children how it is very common to have blackouts in Manila.  Not because of some accident (after the power went off, we heard emergency vehicles going down the street), but because it was necessary.

My son was baffled that  power in the Philippines could be just switched off without reason. I explained that there was a reason–to conserve the energy of which we have very limited supply.  He listened for a moment as my husband tried to explain to him in simple terms how electricity is powered by oil, and how oil costs money, and how as a natural resource oil’s supply is limited.  I don’t know how much of the information he was able to retain though.

After dinner, my husband and children took out their small tents and set them up in the salas (living room). They pretended to be in the great outdoors and camping. They couldn’t be happier using their light sabers and flashlights in this game.

Then the kids decided to mount a show for us. They re-enacted an episode from the Avatar: The Last Airbender, a cartoon that the whole family avidly watches. When that was over, the kids pretended to be us—the scene was how we (my husband and I) respond to them when they refuse to go to bed.  They role-played me threatening them with cancelling a play date if they didn’t go to bed.  Yup, that’s what I do if they are still giggling an hour after they are supposed to be asleep.

The whole performance set my husband and I back 50 cents.  The kids had so much fun mounting the play in the dark that they thought it would be a good idea to turn off the lights regularly after dinner.

When I was in Manila last December, just as the priest was giving his final blessings during the Christmas Midnight Mass the whole church went dark.  The power was still out when we got home, so we lit my mom’s menorah-like candelabra.  The whole family– siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews gathered around the dining table for noche buena (Christmas Eve dinner) to eat, talk, and reconnect.  And thanks to the glow of 14 candles, we were able tell apart ham from morcon, and tamales from suman. 

Even in darkness, there is always something to be thankful for.

Barbecue

Filipinos have the reputation of preparing excessive food during parties.

They want to have more than enough so when guests come back for seconds, or even thirds, they still have plenty to offer.  For a Filipino host, it would be very embarrassing to say to a guest, “Sorry, I ran out of it”, or in Tagalog, “Ay, naubusan na.”

Hiya is feeling of embarrassment one gets when he perceives himself as socially unacceptable for whatever reason.  It is a Filipino trait with emphasis on fear of losing face. –from Dictionary of Filipino Culture and Values by Tomas D. Andres

Recently, I made a rookie mistake of ordering 60 teriyaki barbecue skewers for a party for 20 people.  I allotted 2 sticks per person, and added a “little extra” for our own future use.

I couldn’t say that I ordered too much dahil baka mapahiya at maubusan (for fear of embarrassment that I may not have enough food); I ordered too much because I simply do not know how much food a person can eat.

Guests would have eaten them all–if not, for the other dishes, and 3 different desserts.  In the end, I still had 50 sticks that I quickly wrapped in foil to send home.  Even then, I still had enough leftover to make Vietnamese spring rolls, Vietnamese pho salad, and quesadilla for a month.

For those trying to figure out what to do with leftover barbecue, here is my recipe for Vietnamese spring roll.  I usually use shrimp or Chinese sausage, but I quickly discovered that barbecue pork and chicken work just as well.  It is the easiest to make because it requires little to no cooking.

Basic stuffing to the spring roll

Rice noodles

Mint leaves

Lettuce

Cucumber

Pickled radish

Carrots

Rice Paper

Choices for protein filling are: cooked shrimps, barbecue pork or chicken, beef slices, even pan fried Chinese sausage.  The beauty of this dish is you can put whatever you want in it–including leftover meat.  Dip rice paper in warm water to soften, and be creative.

Dipping sauce

1/2 cup fish sauce (good quality, unfortunately, Rufina patis does not work well, Thai brands work better)

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp lime juice

1/2 cup water

1 -2 crushed garlic gloves

Thai Chili

Mix well together.