By Aby Yap


Filipino Lessons: BA Filipinology


WARNING: This program isn’t for the unadventurous and/or the humorless.

Are you bold enough to major in BA Filipinology? See what it takes to earn a lifetime degree.

F101: Family Few NOT – Required, 10 Units

Understanding that the family isn’t just the basic unit of society; it is the society—at least for the Filipino family. A typical household consists of yourself and your parents, siblings, grandparents, and yaya who’s probably a distant kin, too.


F102: The Godfather (and the Godmother) – Elective, 2 Units

Discovering child-rearing assistance. Since many Filipino parents believe that the more, the many-er and the money-er, you luckily have a dozen of reluctant ninongs and ninangs.


F103: What’s in a Name – Elective, 2 Units

Identifying yourself. In ‘Pinas, most babies are called Baby and most little boys are nicknamed Boy. A brown dog is Brownie while a black one is — guess what? Blackie!


F104: Actions Speak Louder than Words – Required, 5 Units

Reading into the Filipino’s non-verbal language. You can point direction with your lips, either greet or provoke someone by raising an eyebrow, smile to show you’re happy/embarrassed/shy/clueless/deadma, or not have any facial reaction at all when you’re tampo.

Filipino Lessons: BA Filipinology

F105: Happy Holidays – Required, 10 Units

Listing down the many reasons to be happy and to party. Fiestas every month, Christmas as early as September, summer vacation, no-class days come the rainy season — we have so much to celebrate!


F106: The Road – Required, 5 Units

Exploring the streets of Manila. Be ready to do it at a snail’s pace during rush hour. Want it or not, the city’s roads could be downright horrifying when traffic is real messy and the jeepney you’re riding is a mobile disco.


F107: Our Daily Bread – Required, 5 Units

Debunking this claim because it’s rice that we need to survive. That is, sinangag for breakfast, steamed rice for lunch, lugaw for merienda, arroz valenciana for dinner, and suman for midnight snack.


F108: Yummy! – Prerequisite: F106, 5 Units

Digesting the idea of what’s yummy to the Filipino. Jollibee Chicken Joy brings us gastronomical joys. Lechon and chicharon warm (and kill) our hearts. We love what most people would find yucky: duck embryo, chicken head/neck/butt/feet/intestines, pig ears/blood/intestines, crickets, frogs, dogs… are you hungry yet?


F109: The Latest – Required, 5 Units

Recognizing Filipino Time. Because we’re staunch believers of the saying that “It’s better late than never,” Filipino Time means arriving 30 minutes to 3 hours late. It depends on the traffic/weather/mood or whatever reason we could think of.


F110: Speech Power – Elective, 5 Units

Leveling up your communication skills. It pays to be multilingual. To enter showbiz, talk like Kris Aquino. To pursue a call center career, exaggerate the American accent. To run for public office, declaim in straight Tagalog.


F111: That’s Entertainment – Required, 10 Units

Expanding your interests. There’s no dull moment in the Philippines. Visit your neighbors as soon as you wake up for the hottest news. Come home by lunchtime for your favorite variety show. Do the telenovela marathon from afternoon ‘til night.  


F112: Do the Haggle – Elective, 5 Units

Managing your finances. Remember this: every self-respecting Pinoy can smell the nearest tyangge/ukay-ukay and he/she calls it a done deal only if a tawad has been made — even if it’s just a PHP5 discount.


F113: Reel Beauty – Required, 10 Units

Prettifying the Filipina. Is it Miss Universe, Vicky Belo, or Snow White? Whosoever fault it is, we can no longer stop buying papaya soaps and flat ironing our hair, aargh!


F114: Career Orientation – Required, 10 Units

Climbing the ladder of success. The trick is to do it slowly, strategically, and surely. Here are the options: (1) Join PBB Teens then co-star with JLC in RomCom films. (2) Hire a voice coach and upload your videos on YouTube. (3) Train hard to be a boxer and join international competitions.


F114: Practice Makes Perfect – Required, 50 Units

As it’s been said many times, you learn by experience. So, enjoy your practicum and good luck!

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