Forever 81

Your problem is you can’t speak England


“I’M BELLE,What’s Yours?” ART BY GCF 2013

We were having a meeting here at home on the Wheelchair Project. Not knowing that Vim Nadera was a therapist, I was surprised to get a pamphlet on suicide from him. (He was nuts enough to volunteer for this project.)

There were five noisy Makiling artists around me, all crazily, hilariously maniacal.  Hardly suicide material.  Ganyan ba ang magpapakamatay?

“What are friends are for?” quipped Don Salubayba.  “Let’s join us!” threw in Gerry Leonardo.  I soon found out that Pinoy grammatical mistakes have even been printed in three little books!  Here’s my own offering. I did it on my own idea.


The Pinoy has ever been bothered by speaking a borrowed tongue. Now, anything the Filipino cannot tackle he spoofs.  I remember, in the early ’30s, how children’s songs and rhymes made fun of the English we were forced to learn.  Here is one that everybody knows.  If you never heard it, you are hopelessly mental colony.

One day, isang araw

I saw, nakakita

One bird, isang ibon

Flying, lumilipad

I shoot, binaril ko

I pick, pinulot ko

I cook, niluto ko

I eat, kinain ko

There is the counting song that goes:

One two, bato

Three four, bapor

Five six, intsik. . . (I forgot the rest)

And the spoof on the American teachers’ “Come dear children,” a morning greeting to the class:

Come dear children kakain

Luto na ang sinaing

Come and run, Come and run

Luto na ang sinigang!

Even the then newly minted national anthem in English was not spared. It became:

Land of the morning

Sampalayok na kanin

Sinong kumain

Si Mariang duling!


I love my own,

My pantalon… etc.

Correct me if I’m wrong but even much earlier, Spanish was made fun of, as well as English, in this kiddie song:

Pen pen de sarapen

De cuchillo de almacen

How? How? da carabao?


And this blasphemous one patterned after the sign of the cross that begins with “Antanda”:

Antanda ng kundot-kundot

Balumbalunan ng manok

Ilaga ma’y hindi lumambot

Nguyain ma’y lumalangutngot.

‘Espanggol’ like ‘kastilaloys’

If we call English-speaking Filipinos “wursh-wursh” or “English spokening,” we made fun of our dads, too, when they spoke Espanggol like kastilaloys.  We imitated them.  “Si, para si, para buto ng sili!”

English was eventually integrated into Pinoy songs, but still with a kick, as in this Ilocano ditty:

Ag lipstick ka nga ag lipstick

Di ka man nagbrush-your-teeth

Ay, ay, salidum-ay, salidum-ay di way

Ag-eyebrow ka nga ag eyebrow

Nagmukha ka namang multo

Ay, ay, salidum-ay, salidum-ay, di way

Ag high heel ka nga ag high heel

Nag dakel nga iyong masel

Ay, ay, salidum-ay, salidum-ay, di way

Ag mini ka nga ag-mini

Binti mo’y parang kamoti

Ay, ay salidum-ay, salidum-ay diway

Pa sexy ka nga pa-sexy

Katawan mo’y kasla bubuli

Ay, ay, salidum-ay

Salidum-ay diway

Yoyoy Villame

But the crown jewel of them all was when Yoyoy Villame, comic and singer, whose English wouldn’t pass Grade IV, came up with this classic:


On March 16, 1521

When Philippines was discovered by Magellan

They were sailing day and night across the big ocean

Until they saw a small Limasawa island

Magellan landed in Limasawa at noon

The people met him very welcome on the shore

They did not understand the speaking they have done

Because Kastila gid at Waray-Waray man

When Magellan landed in Cebu City

Rajah Humabon met him, they were very happy

All people were baptized and built the church of Christ

And that’s the beginning of our Catholic life

When Magellan visited in Mactan

To Christianize them everyone

But Lapu Lapu met him on the shore

And drive Magellan to go back home

Then Magellan got so mad

Ordered his men to camouflage

‘Mactan island we could not grab

‘Cause Lapu Lapu is very hard’

Then the battle began at dawn

Bolos and spears versus cannons and guns

When Magellan was hit on his neck

He stumble down and cried and cried

Oh, mother, mother I am sick

Call the doctor very quick

Doctor, doctor, shall I die?

Tell my mama do not cry

Tell my mama do not cry

Tell my mama do not cry

That’s the end of Magellan

In the island of Mactan long time ago

Ladies and gentlemen

Like a good Pinoy, if someone is browbeating you for your bad English, don’t just do something, stand there!

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  • Jose

    Well said sweetheart……keep them coming…….

  • Ramydur Garcia


  • Rey G. Domingo

    “Come Dear Children”
    “Land of the morning | Sampalayok na kanin”
    “Si, para si, para buto ng sili!”

    I never heard these. So I must be quite a mental colony. Hehehe!

    We must improve the quality of our English teachers. They must know the idioms of the English language. (My Lolo once told me that I will never be conversant in a certain language unless I know the idioms of that language.) These are some of the results:

    Kill/Off the light. (Turn off/Switch off the lamp.)
    Remove your shoes. (Take your shoes off.)
    Return your toys there. (Put your toys back.) — ibalik and isauli are not quite the same
    Eat. (Join us.) — contextual

    Then we have the wrong gender and/or tense.

    Regarding gender, the Tagalog and Ilocano languages have quite a few examples (e.g. Pilipina/Pilipino, pilya/pilyo, bruha/bruho, etc), but many of us have difficulty in automatically using the correct gender when using the English language. Imagine a foreign listener who gets confused by a Filipino speaker who kept switching between he and she in referencing the same person. What about a Filipino relating a story involving several individuals of both sexes and the speaker uses the correct gender half of the time and the wrong gender half of the time?

    The concept of verb tense is also not foreign to us. We have ‘kumain, kumakain, kakain, nanginain (past perfect), manginain (future perfect)’ for example. Yet a lot of people have difficulty making their nouns/pronouns and verbs agree.

    Another problem: linking verbs specially is and are.

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