All Things Asian Event Post: 04.03.2012 – A Tiny Snippet of Tagalog

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

All Things Asian Event: April 2-16

Zara’s All Things Asian Event Post:

A Tiny Snippet of Tagalog

The blogs: That Hapa Chick; Live, Laugh, I Love Books; and My Words Ate Me are hosting the All Things Asian Event featuring guest posts about anything and everything about the Asian culture!

My guest post blogging interview will be featured on one of the host blogs on April 13.

But, until then, each and every day, a guest post will be featured until April 16, 2012, so be sure to drop by and visit the hosting blogs! Just click on the All Things Asian button above that links to the host blog.


As for me, I couldn’t pass up the chance to post a few articles as part of the All Things Asian Event on my own blog, alongside this important event because quite simply put: I’m Asian! And I’m especially honoured and driven to share the beauty of Asia with my readers to foster awareness, community, and inclusivity—all things that are especially important to me.


I was born in the early 70’s to two newly-landed Filipino immigrants to Canada, so I was born both to native Canadian soil and to a descendant line of a rich Filipino culture, of which I will always remain somewhat elusive to as a Balikbayan.

A balikbayan refers to Philippine nationals who are permanently residing abroad including their spouses and children, regardless of nationality or country of birth.  It also refers to those of Filipino descent who acquired foreign citizenship and permanent status abroad. (From: Definition of Terms: Philippine Tourism)

And even the type of packaging we, Balikbayans, take with us in travel are named as such. You can always spot a Filipino travelling back to his or her home country at the airport because it is by cultural tradition and obligation that we take with us foreign gifts and souvenirs that we bear to our family, friends, and loved ones in the Philippines. So much so, in necessity and in quantity that they fill up these boxes. And Filipinos never just take one! These Balikbayan Boxes: large, labelled, and hefty boxes are filled with goodies and tokens of love, hope, and even sometimes the affirmation of financial and social success abroad.

Filipino Balikbayan Box
Balikbayan boxes waiting to be picked up at the Manila airport.

Even my parents are born to two different townships and two different dialects, of which there are no less than 175 distinct languages in the Philippines. My mother is Kampangpangan and my father, Pangasinan.

And the difference between the two are more than just the language of dialect, but also a variation of taste and ingredients in food.

The official language of the island of the Philippines is Tagalog and English, of which most people understand, read, write, and speak, but the mother tongue of someone’s dialect is one that predominates and affects its owner’s  understanding of community and cultural practices. Where there is an ideology of the “melting pot” in the United States or the diversity of multiculturalism in Canada, Filipinos’ claim to their dialect is one that identifies them by their place of origin, their region, their community. Where Tagalog may be the official mother language of the country, each dialect is like a variant and distinctive spice to the tongue!

Here’s a great video lesson from an American (with a Filipina wife) who takes the time to teach us a little Tagalog from his perspective. Great video and great accent!


Come back tomorrow, where I will share a little bit more about the Philippines.

For more posted features by The Bibliotaphe’s Closet for the All Things Asian Event, visit the Event Page here.

Until then, mag-ingat ka, ha! (trans. take care, okay!)

Zara Alexis

8 thoughts on “All Things Asian Event Post: 04.03.2012 – A Tiny Snippet of Tagalog”

  1. I love this post! It makes me miss the days of hanging out at the airport waiting for the fam. to come back from their trip. Opening those boxes was like opening a treasure box! You never know what you’re gonna find…A few of the things I would always hope they would bring back were:
    – those toxic straw balloon blower thingys
    – Pulveron
    – knock off shirts!
    What did I always end up with?
    – underwear in a box

    Great post! ❤

    Chapter by Chapter

    1. Thanks Mary Ann for dropping by like you said you would! I know, eh? I love receiving “pasalubong” from back home. For me it’s the canned cheese! And before it was “rims” of Marlboro cigarettes (but I don’t smoke anymore)! And I actually really love the silver jewellery from home and the slipper key chains. Also the “house dresses!” LOL! They’re SO comfy!

      It would be wonderful to return home soon. I miss the authentic food and waking up early to get a batch of fresh pandesal from the stone ovens. Mmm… 😀

      Hope you come back soon., The All Asian Event is running until April 16. Until then, take care.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. I love the Philippines, it is my favourite non-home vacation destination. The people are soooo friendly. In Canada my husband is often mistaken for Filipino and people just walk up to him and start speaking to him and invite him over for dinner. How awesome is that?

    1. Wow! You’ve been there? It’s not a usual vacation spot for tourists unless they’re visiting Australia! As for my husband, he’s from El Salvador and people often mistake him as a Filipino as well. He runs into the same thing where people just start talking to him in Tagalog. So glad you dropped by again. Talk to you soon! 😀

  3. hi. dropping by from Zemanta. 🙂

    it warms the heart to read a post about Filipinos born and have grown abroad or in a foreign country who love and appreciate the things about the Philippines. your post gave a feeling of happiness and pride.

    there is always something about the country that Filipinos working and living abroad would not want to experience without. it is the friendliness and the courteousness and the warm welcome.

    the balikbayan boxes can also be considered symbols of how Filipinos want to reciprocate kindness and love, and to share their blessings.

    i say thank you for this post. 🙂


    1. Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving your comment of support! I so appreciate it. It’s been a while since I’ve been back and look forward to returning again soon. Hopefully, you will do the same for my blog! 😀

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