The Filipino language is respectful and courteous as it is in our culture. Out of respect and fear of confrontation, we tend to use words that downplay or minimize the effect of what we intend to say. On one hand, it is polite to omit hurtful words and mysterious to leave the room open for the imagination of more positive meanings. On the other hand, it is also ambiguous to leave the meaning hanging.
Frankly speaking, it really is a skill to read between the lines especially when the mouth says one thing but the facial gestures mean another. Call it misguided politeness or plain respectfulness, Filipinos, in general, are really not straightforward so it’s either you adapt to it or you learn to let it be.
To illustrate, here are the common Filipino phrases that mean something else entirely.
“Okey lang ako”
Common usage: To state that one’s physical, mental, or emotional condition is still manageable.
What it actually means: “’DI. AKO. OKAY.”
Common usage: To reassure someone that a certain thing or event is fine.
What it really means: “Actually pangit talaga, ayoko lang maging rude.”
Common usage: To invite someone, whether closely related to you or just a passerby, to eat with you
What it really means: “Alam mo bang kulang pa ‘to sa’kin? ‘Wag kang lalapit, gutom ako!”
“Busog pa ako”
Common isage: To state that you are still full and don’t want to eat more.
What it really means: “Lord, please, sana alukin niya pa ulit ako for the 2nd time. Hindi pa po ako nagla-lunch at 100 na lang laman ng bank account ko.”
“Papunta na ‘ko”
Common usage: telling someone that you’re on the way to your appointment
What it really means: “Maliligo pa lang ako. Basta hintayin mo na lang ako, wala ka namang choice.”
Common usage: To tell someone that you’ll make an effort to do something.
What it really means: “Hindi ko talaga feel so di ko gagawin. Sana mawala ‘to sa isip mo para ‘di mo na ako kulitin.”
Common usage: To ask a person if he’s hurt.
What it really means: “’Wala akong ibang alam na consoling words, pero puwede na ‘to. Buti nga may pake pa ako sa’yo eh.”
Common usage: Assuring someone that what has happened was no big deal and shouldn’t be worried about
What it really means: “’Wag ka muna umalis, please. Samahan mo muna ako rito. It’s not you, it’s me.”
Are you guilty of saying one of these malabo phrases? Maybe it’s time you start meaning them for real? Tell us what you think!