The Wais Pinoy… Bow!

By Aby Yap


On the nth day, God said, “Let there be a shower of resourcefulness.” And all Pinoys rushed outdoors, eager to grab the freebie from heaven. Many brought out containers—wine bottles, tabos, timbas, palangganitas, palangganas, steel drums, and what have you—to save some for the rainy, er, dreary days.

Consequently, some have become more amusingly or annoyingly wais than others.

Long Live the Lumens (and Lola Obangs)

Recession or not, truly wais Pinoys know how to make tipid all they can! So aside from going to the mall and enjoying free A/C (and free water c/o the fast food, free taste c/o the grocery, free reading c/o the bookstore, free sightseeing c/o the shops), we wait for the magic word that’s “Sale!” Three-day, midnight, factory, bazaar (where “tawad” and “wholesale” are the secret codes) sale: these are the times we look forward to every year of our lives to shop for what we need (or don’t) at half the cost, which is the minimum requirement.

With the wais Pinoy, nothing ever goes to waste, too. We find even the cow’s bone marrow, the pig’s intestines, the chicken’s feet, the fish’s eyes, uh, appetizing, don’t we? Never mind aesthetics, anything edible is precious. Oh, and lest we forget, another amazing recycling feat, remember the teabag—that which serves us until its last trace of flavor, giving color to several cups of hot water. And we still refuse to toss it aside without putting it on swelling eye bags!

Indeed, recycling works wonders. So we bring home plastic utensils and Styrofoam cups from fast food chains, along with ketchup sachets, to form part of our “For Kiddie Parties” tableware collection. For our stay-in house guests, any hotel’s complimentary kit (mini shampoo bottles/bath soap/shower caps/toothbrushes/toothpaste tubes/matches) and flight “giveaways” (salt/pepper/sugar/butter/jam packets or sleep mask/ear plugs/blankets/magazines)—which we keep for souvenir’s sake, so we say—come in handy.


Wais the Matter with These Pinoys

Sure, getting as many ninongs and ninangs—preferably CEOs or mayors—to secure your child’s future as one way of being wais is acceptable (a little cheap, though). And the clever methods of cheating, can be quite entertaining when you go nostalgic over your ancient high school years. But when waisdom goes out of hand, it’s definitely no laughing matter. Especially so when it becomes a serious offense.

For those whose “Oy, cheatmate, share your blessings!” line didn’t succeed in school, the “deans” of the Recto University are their wais idols. Why, they can produce the most authentic-looking certificates from NSO and DFA, give you a passbook that boasts of a million savings, or proclaim you a graduate of the most sosyal-sounding school with matching Transcript of Records—all uno grades, of course—for a few hundred pesos.

Then there are professional borrowers and beggars, most of them adept at their respective careers. There’s the borrower’s classic piece called “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. The grandma died last month, the dad got kidnapped last week, the niece fell into the manhole yesterday—all of these people are related to only one wretched individual, who by the way has lost her fare, surprise surprise! There’s also the street production Beggars: Total Performers, whose characters you often see at night running down the road engaged in a shouting bout with motorists.

You’ll even be sorrier when you chance upon the most wais of the pickpocket gangs, so be on the lookout…always! When riding a bus or jeepney, stay away from guys whose jackets conceal their hands (particularly during summer—honestly, why would you bring a jacket when the sun is at its peak?) or whose backpacks are positioned in front of them (they’re not called backpacks for nothing. Getting scared of these villains now? Well, don’t be. It’s just part of the crazy albeit exciting Pinas (mis)adventures that would put your innately Pinoy wais skills to the ultimate test. No cheating, please!  



What makes the Pinoy tick? Aby Yap’s long-running column “Onli in Da Pilipins” often answers that question. She talks about the familiar Pinoy life, turning it into something fun and extraordinary. With a talent for finding every Juan’s funny bone, Aby’s wit and obvious affection makes the Filipino a whole lot more lovable.


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