In honor of my mom obtaining her dual-citizenship. It turns out that my dad can't, since he was nationalized as a child (his parents were Chinese citizens when he was born in Manila, and the Philippines doesn't do jus soli.)

After repeated (failed) attempts at getting my parents to use our new, perfectly functional dishwasher as something other than a dish rack, I'm accepting that I'm Filipino. See #35. (Also, for reference, "Tagalog" is pronounced "tah-GAH-log," with the stress on the second syllable; it is not stressed on the first syllable, as that makes it sound like you are playing a children's running game with large chunks of tree.)

Bolded items are the ones I don't quite do.


  1. Your middle name is your mother's maiden name. (Lim.)
  2. Your parents call each other "Mommy" and "Daddy." (Occasionally "Mom" and "Dad.")
  3. You have uncles and aunts named "Boy," "Girlie," or "Baby." (Yep. Auntie Baby.)
  4. You have relatives whose nicknames consist of repeated syllables like "Jun-Jun," "Ling-Ling," and "Mon-Mon." (Nono, Num-num, and Tin-tin are all sisters, too.)
  5. You call the parents of your friends and your own parents' friends "Tito" and "Tita." (Well, the Filipino ones, yes.)
  6. You have four or five names. (I think I actually escaped this one; I have a first, middle, and last name. And a nickname. And a confirmation name. And then- wait. Never mind.)
  7. Family and friends

  8. You're related to everyone. (Even when I went to Manila last January at age 21, I was still meeting relatives I'd never seen before... and I'd already met what seemed to be the entire population of the Philippines by that point.)
  9. You consider your close friends your cousins. (Kind of? I consider friends to be like family, I suppose... I dunno about this one.)
  10. You greet your elders by touching their hands to your forehead. (I only mano po to Filipino relatives, but sure.)
  11. You always kiss your relatives on the cheek whenever you enter or leave the room. (Old relatives, yes.)
  12. You follow your parents' house rules even if you are over 18. (Well... I'm supposed to. We have issues with this one.)
  13. You live with your parents until and at times even after you're married. (Emphatically not doing this one.)
  14. You make your children sing and dance to amuse your friends and relatives. (I have no children. However, I put on piano performances for visitors when I was little. It was not my favorite thing to do.)
  15. You bring food to your uncles or aunties or whoever anytime you cook food.
  16. Your grandma wears those long dresses w/different designs at home. (My grandma tries to get me to wear dresses instead.)
  17. You bring mangoes (or other produce) with you as a gift when you visit peoples homes. (Not necessarily mangoes or produce; cookies work too, and tea.)
  18. Your parents never go to the movies. (They do watch bootlegged Chinese DVDs with awful subtitles.)
  19. Your mom and all of her MJ friends always complain about how bad each of their children are. (Oh, yes.)
  20. Home

  21. Your house has a distinctive aroma. (I don't think so, but I usually have a cold.)
  22. You decorate your living room wall with your family's framed diplomas and plaques. (They're displayed in the basement, actually.)
  23. You decorate your dining room wall with a picture of the "Last Supper." (No, but I know a lot of people who do!)
  24. You keep your furniture wrapped in plastic or covered with blankets. (True when I was younger. No longer true.)
  25. You have carpet runners in your house. (I don't think we ever did this. We certainly didn't after all the floors were replaced with hardwood.)
  26. You always leave your shoes or slippers outside the doorstep.
  27. You have a Sto. Nino shrine in your living room. (Yep. Funny story behind that one, too.)
  28. You keep a fly swatter in your kitchen. (Formerly. No longer.)
  29. Your kitchen table has a vinyl tablecloth. (Formerly. No longer.)
  30. You recycle shopping bags as garbage bags. (Wait, doesn't everyone?)
  31. You have a drawer full of old pens, most of which don't write anymore. (I'm trying to throw these out...)
  32. You have a piano that no one plays. (Hey, I play it. When I'm not visiting my parents, though...)
  33. You hang your clothes out to dry in a laundry line. (We live in Chicago. The weather is not amenable to this.)
  34. You keep a tabo in your bathroom. (No, but I think it's actually a good idea.)
  35. You own a barrel man from Baguio. (What?)
  36. You have some kind of garden in your backyard. (Stones.)
  37. You use the dishwasher as a dish rack. (Yes.)
  38. You have never used your dishwasher. (I think we may have used it once or twice while I was visiting.)
  39. Consumption

  40. You eat with your hands.
  41. You eat more than three times a day.
  42. You think a meal is not a meal without rice.
  43. You eat rice for breakfast. (Sometimes.)
  44. You use your fingers to measure the water you need to cook rice. (What else would you use?)
  45. You eat your meal using a spoon and fork. (Of course!)
  46. You cut your meat with a spoon or fork. (Yeah, what else do you use? A knife?)
  47. You feed all your visitors. (How could you not?)
  48. If you don't live at home, when your parents call, they ask if you've eaten, even if it's midnight.
  49. You always cook too much.
  50. You bring baon to work everyday. (Ok, sometimes I'd buy a sandwich across the street.)
  51. You keep your stove covered in aluminum foil when not in use. (Nope.)
  52. You don't own any real tupperware-- only a cupboard full of used but carefully rinsed margarine tubs, takeout containers, and jam jars. (I think I own one tupperware. And then a bunch of re-used tubs, containers, and jars.)
  53. You wash and re-use plastic utensils, styrofoam cups, and aluminum wrappers. (Of course!)
  54. Your pantry is never without Spam, Vienna sausage, corned beef, and sardines. (No, but it's true for my parents' house.)
  55. You love to eat daing or tuyo. (daing na bangus!)
  56. You prop up one knee while eating.
  57. You eat your meal with patis, toyo, suka, banana catsup, or bagoong. (Or all of the above. Mm, Jufran!)
  58. Your tablecloths are stained with toyo circles. (What tablecloth?)
  59. You love sticky desserts and salty snacks.
  60. You eat fried Spam and hot dogs with rice. (What else would you eat them with?)
  61. You love to eat, yet often manage to stay slim. (This has been remarked on by a lot of people.)
  62. You grab a toothpick after every meal.
  63. You wave a pom-pom on a stick around the food to keep the flies away. (I live in New England. The winters are 6 months long. Bugs die here.)
  64. When dining out, you always fight over who will pay for dinner.
  65. When you're in a restaurant, you wipe your plate and utensils before using them. (Sometimes.)
  66. You put hot dogs in your spaghetti. (Yeah!)
  67. Everything you eat is sauted in garlic, onion, and tomatoes. (Not always the tomatoes, but yes.)
  68. You eat every last grain of rice in your bowl, but don't eat the last piece of food on the table. (Wait, other people don't?)
  69. You find dried morsels of rice stuck to your shirt. (Occasionally.)
  70. Religion

  71. You hang a rosary on your car's rear view mirror. (My dad asked me to.)
  72. You play cards or mahjong and drink beer at funeral wakes. (I don't know how to do most of this, and I've only been to one wake.)
  73. You think Christmas season begins in October and ends in January.  (Oh, yes.)
  74. You unwrap Christmas gifts very carefully, so you can save and reuse the wrapping (and especially those bows) next year.
  75. You make the sign of the cross before take-offs and after landings and every time you pass by a church. (I know people who do.)
  76. Travel

  77. Your second piece of luggage is a balikbayan box. (Second piece? Luggage? I travel with a backpack.)
  78. You've mastered the art of packing a suitcase to double capacity. (With presents. Of toothpaste. That my parents ask me to bring to family.)
  79. You are standing next to eight boxes at the airport. (Again, from family.)
  80. You collect items from airlines, hotels, and restaurants as "souvenirs." (Free shampoo!)
  81. You feel obligated to give pasalubong to all your friends and relatives each time you return from a trip. (See: #73, toothpaste.)
  82. You drive a Honda Civic or Integra. (I don't have a car.)
  83. You have those air fresheners that you buy at Filipino stores in your car. (See above.)
  84. You have a trendy perfume bottle and some stuffed animals in your car. (See above.)
  85. You carry a stash of your own food (usually dried) (See above.)
  86. You can squeeze 15 passengers into your five seater car without a second thought. (Oh yeah.)
  87. Shopping

  88. You can't make a purchase without haggling. (Oh, come on. I've done this.)
  89. You're a fashion victim. (I don't care.)
  90. The condiments in your fridge are either Costco sized or come in plastic packets, which you save/steal every time you get take out or go to McDonalds. (...oh, that's' not normal?)
  91. Ditto paper napkins. (But they're free!)
  92. Your mom asks you to pick up the extra carton of eggs on sale (but limit 1 only) and pay for it at a separate check out counter.
  93. You see corn beef on sale you buy a lot and send it to the Philippines. (This happens more with things like dietary fiber.)
  94. You know someone who can get you a good deal on jewelry or electronics. (The latter.)
  95. Non-verbal Communication

  96. You can convey 30 messages with your facial expression.
  97. You point with your lips.
  98. You greet one another by raising your eyebrows or tossing your head.
  99. You hold your palms together in front of you and say "excuse, excuse" when you pass in between people or in front of the TV.
  100. You scratch your head when you don't know an answer to a question.
  101. You smile all the time for no reason.
  102. You ask for the bill at a restaurant by making a rectangle in the air.
  103. You cover your mouth when you laugh.
  104. Language

  105. You respond to a "Hoy!" or a "Pssst!" in a crowd. (Can't hear consonants.)
  106. You'll answer "Malapit lang!"--no matter the distance--when asked how far away a place is located. (No, but I'll say the English equivalent - everything is very close nearby.)
  107. Goldilocks is more than a fairy tale character to you. (ONE OF THE BEST BAKERIES EVER YAY NOM NOM NOM)
  108. You refer to power interruptions as "brownouts."
  109. You love to use the following acronyms: CR for comfort room, DI for dance instructor, DOM for dirty old man, TNT for tago nang tago, KJ for kill joy, KSP for kulang sa pansin, OA for over-acting, TL for true love, BF for boyfriend and GF for girlfriend. (Only when I've been in Manila for a while.)
  110. You're always late for events and parties. (Filipino time) (I'm working on this.)
  111. You say "rubber shoes" instead of sneakers, "ball pen" instead of pen, "stockings" instead of pantyhose, "pampers" instead of diapers, "ref" or "prijider" instead of refrigerator, "Colgate" instead of toothpaste, "canteen" instead of cafeteria, and "open" or "close" instead of turn on or turn off (as in the lights). (Oh! Okay. It's not a Midwestern thing?)
  112. You order a "soft drink" instead of soda.
  113. Miscellaneous

  114. You've dyed your hair blonde or brown.
  115. You use an umbrella for shade on hot summer days. (My grandmother has tried to make me.)
  116. You prefer sitting in the shade instead of basking in the sun. (I like sun. I live in Massachusetts. We do not get enough.)
  117. You can sing and dance at a drop of a hat.
  118. You love ballroom dancing, bowling, pusoy, mah jong, billiards, and karaoke. (About half of them.)
  119. You majored in something practical like engineering, medicine, accounting or law. (...yeah, about that...)
  120. You have a relative who is a nurse. (I don't think so, actually. Doctor, yes.)
  121. You always ring a doorbell twice, assuming that the first ring was not heard.
  122. You let the phone ring twice before answering, lest you appear overly eager. (Yeah!)
  123. Your parents send money to their relatives in Philippines. (I don't think so - they're all doing pretty well. We bring pasalubong.)
  124. Long distance calls are usually after 11p.m. (given the time-zone difference) (Of course!)
  125. You at least know of the singer "Sharon Cuneta" (Yeah, don't ask me why I do...)