Travel Phrases: Hiligaynon To Help You Get By in the Philippines (Iloilo, Guimaras & Negros Occidental)
Philippines is a country of many different languages. Although Tagalog, the official language, is taught everywhere throughout the country, the local languages are what's really being spoken on the streets, in stores, at the market, while commuting, and in homes. If you really want to connect with the locals, the best way is to speak to them in their local languages.
If you are traveling through Western Visayas, chances are you will be surrounded by a language called Hiligaynon, alternatively referred to as Ilonggo.
As the dominant language on the islands of Panay and Guimaras, as well as in the province of Negros Occidental, there are approximately 8.2 million native speakers of the language.
Singaporean Dumpling Ladies [SOURCE]
In order to truly understand a culture, you need to taste their food. A country's cuisine has always been an important part of cultural identity, and Singapore is no exception.
Although Singaporean culture geographically originates in Malaysia, the ethnic diversity and historical cultural interactions found within the borders of this country is also reflected in it's cuisine, making it both vibrant and unique.
Recently, I wrote an article for Matador Network where I shared examples on how to speak Hawaii Creole English, colloquially known as Pidgin, Da Kine or Local.
In order to put that post together, I asked all of my friends in Hawaii to throw together suggestions on great Pidgin phrases to share. I received so many responses that it was too much for me to use for my article.
On a recent Facebook Page post I asked the travel question: Would you rather...be fluent in every language OR master all the instruments in the world? It sparked off a series of interesting replies from both sides of the coin, and even one that was like a whole other coin in itself. Here are some of the replies and reasons given.
I'm an English teacher, but I have a confession to make. I don't speak English. Okay, okay..I do speak English, but contrary to what most people think, it's not exactly my first language. Okay, okay...so strictly speaking, "English" sort of is my first language, that is of course, if you consider what linguistics refer to as Hawaiian Creole English as being English, then yes, I speak English as my mother tongue.
Legally speaking, the official languages of Hawai'i are English and 'Olelo Hawai'i (Native Hawaiian.) However, 'Olelo Hawai'i as a native language is only spoken by about 24,000 people. As for English, although 74% of residents in Hawaii reportedly speak English at home, the form of English being spoken is debatable.
PLEASE NOTE: On NOvember 8, 2013, Guiuan Town was the first area where Typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda made landfall, thereby sustaining the maximum amount of winds in the country. This beautiful town was 90% destroyed, leaving many dead and the survivors homeless and with no source of income. We lost all contact with my friends there once the storm made landfall. After 5 days of distressful thoughts, I finally managed to get word about my friends, and now we are in full contact again. They have all made it out safely, and are now relocated in an area hundreds of kilometers away in the northwestern part of Samar Island. Their lives are changed forever, but at least they are alive. Please remember the victims of Typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda, and continue to help them in whatever way you can.
Why is it that torrential downpours always bring out the journal-bug in me? It's 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon, and I'm at home under the shelter of a tin-roof shack in Guiuan, Philippines doing my laundry. This has turned out to be a long, drawn out process, as it's all done by hand, and can take hours to complete.
Although the first step of scrubbing the laundry is done, I now have to sit and let the clothes soak in the soap suds. But as I sit here, waiting for the right time to move on to the next step, it starts to rain.
I'm leaving for the Philippines in a week. I'll be there for fifteen days, on the island of Samar, in Eastern Visayas. This will be interesting since I don't even speak Tagalog!
I realize that this simple fact may come as a surprise to some of you, as I am more or less half-Filipino on my dad's side, but to be honest, it has taken me a long time to really understand the Filipino half of me.
For those who are drifters at heart, the word "expat" conjures up many vivid images of adventure and excitement. But what is the REALITY of living abroad? In this weeks post, we will discuss 2 of the reasons why you should consider becoming an expat, and 1 of the most difficult things that may stop you in doing this.
The first time I heard the word 'expat' I wasn't sure what it meant. I wasn't much of a seasoned traveler back then. I had only been to a few places, but it was nothing extensive or life changing. Someone I met while traveling introduced themselves to me as an expat, and although I found myself curious, I was too embarrassed to ask what it meant. It wasn't until I looked into it more on my own that I realized the word expat is short for expatriate, or someone who is living in a country not their own.
It's been about 2 weeks since I started my Mandarin course here in Taiwan. But just getting to that point was a feat in itself. It took me almost 2 months to decide whether or not going to school was the proper route here. After that was decided, than the search for the right campus was on.
I took my time narrowing it down to a few options, things were beginning to come down to the wire. My visitors visa was reaching its 60th day in Taiwan, and I would have to do my run to another country for an extension. But did I want to return as a tourist or as a student?
When arriving at a new place, two of the first hurdles you must overcome are language barriers and jet lag, For the first few days it feels as if your body is thrown off track, what's night is day and what's day is night. And forget about everything you thought you'd learned about Mandarin before you got here, you don't understand a single thing that they're saying!
I wake up in the middle of the night to the sounds of growling coming from the streets below. I rub my eyes, sit up in bed and look out the window, peering eleven floors down, to see a pack of wild dogs roaming the streets, looking for a fight.
Oh, the joys of Kaohsiung, I think to myself.
I contemplate the possibility of throwing something at the snarling pack, but I realize that eleven floors up is a long way down, and who knows where a random object might land, like on the upturned face of one unsuspecting local. The last thing I need is my own pack of angry Taiwanese ganging up on me, the silly waiguo-ren living all the way up on the top floor.
But what am I thinking? The people here in South Taiwan are actually pretty hospitable and laid back. Not to mention the fact that I don't really have anything in my possession I can afford to throw out of a window at 4 am.
In any case, I realize that it is way too early for me to try and process such random thoughts of superficial in-consequence, so I shake my head, lie down, and I fall back asleep to the humming sounds of early-morning mopeds and growling street dogs.
Sometimes it feels like I am in an alternate universe, where the buildings and streets vaguely remind me of Hawaii and the people look like the people back home.
But the words that I hear are foreign to my ears and the words that I see are indecipherable in my mind. All too often I find myself feeling both mute and illiterate.
And yet, through my inability to communicate in ways that I am familiar with, I find myself having to get creative, speaking with my hands and face, or listening intently with my eyes.
I know now that if I can't find it, I can sheepishly motion to the clerk, asking, “Where can I find a toilet bowl plunger? Yes, a toilet plunger.”
Or if I don't feel like eating pig knuckle again, a flap of the arms and a loud 'Bok-BOK!' gets me shredded chicken on a scoop of rice. Of course, the lady over the counter tells me, “Ji.” I stare at her blankly, “Umm, Ji?” And then slowly I get it, “Oh, okay...” I nod enthusiastically, “Yeah... ji!”
Here in Taiwan it's really true that a smile and a laugh goes a long way. It can even get you an extra piece of sausage on your lunch plate, along with your ji.
There's also those times when I realize I shouldn't presuppose. Like when I passed by a street window filled with roast ducklings and crispy roast pork.
As I walked on, I kept that street corner in mind, and when I went home, I pulled out my Mandarin phrasebook and conquered the words for duck and pork, “Ya” and “Ju”.
I smiled to myself, I was finally ready to speak to the natives.
When I went back a few days later, I stepped up to the window and waited for the duck-man to acknowledge me.
But when he nodded in my direction, fear took over, so I just reached around the glass, pointing at my items of choice, and said, “Duck and pork.”
My mouth was watering hungrily and I was too embarrassed to try and make myself understood. But in clearly pronounced English, the man asked me, “You just want duck and pork?" I blinked. "How about rice?” he said.
And what about my sleeping habits now? Well, thankfully the dogs were no longer outside tearing each other to shreds this morning.
But I was still shocked awake by the sound of 'Eye of the Tiger' blasting through loudspeakers.
I lay there in a deep sleep, only to hear through the thick darkness...”DUNH, pause, Dunh dunh DUNH, pause, Dunh dunh DUNH, pause, Dunh dunh DUUUUUUNH!”
I sit up in bed, this time wondering if I'm in a movie running up stairs, or if my mind just decided to start playing a soundtrack to my life.
I rub my eyes and look out the window, peering eleven floors down to the streets below. I get up just in time to see a big covered truck barreling down the street, loud speakers blaring.
But fortunately for itself, the truck plows off into the distance, moving too fast to be hit by any random objects thrown from a top floor apartment window.
I'm JR. I come from a long line of adventurers, some were nomadic explorers of the sea and others wandering cultivators of the earth. Ultimately, this legacy of drifters has deeply affected my view of travel. Read more...