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Pinoy Trivia
Facts Q&A Fast Facts
First "Filipinos"
The term Filipino originally referred exclusively to Spaniards and Spanish mestizos born in the Philippines. Espanoles-Filipinos -- children of Espana and Filipinas -- was how they specifically called themselves. Later the native upper class of indios ("uncivilized heathens") and Chinese mestizos, believing that education and wealth gave them the cloak of Spanish culture, also began calling themselves Filipinos.

Juan de la Cruz
Contrary to popular notion, the symbolic name "Juan de la Cruz" is not a Filipino invention. R. McCulloch-Dick, a Scottish born journalist, coined the generic tag while working for the Manila Times in the early 1900's after discovering it was the most common name in police blotters and court dockets in and around Manila.

Maria Mania
Why do so many Filipino women (and men) carry "Maria" in their names? A major cause dates back to spanish times when parishes would refuse to baptize a child unless the parents chosen name included the allusion to the Virgin Mary. The practice resists to this day, but on a far less pervasive scale.

The term Pilipinas, as distinguished from Filipinas, made its first public appearance in a stamp issued during the Japanese Occupation of Manila in World War II. Not until 1962 did the Philippine government make a similar change from Filipinas to Pilipinas in officially describing the nation.

Months & Days
Hundreds of Spanish words have Tagalog roots. Examples: acharra (atsara); banguerra (banggera); barrumbado (barumbado); bucayo (bukayo); caua (kawa); cascasero (kaskasero); panciteria (pansiteria); quizame (kisame); salacot (salakot); tampipi (tampipi); tinapa (tinapa); tulisan (tulisan).

Q. Are there more Filipino males than females?
A. Just slightly. The latest count put the ratio at 100.9 males for every 100 females. In Metro Manila, however, the Filipino male is outnumbered: 92.6 to 100.

Q. Where did the terms kuya and ate come from?
A. Most experts  point to Chinese origins. Kuya is said to be a combination of two Chinese words: ko (elder brother) and a (a term of kinship); ate from the same a plus chi (elder sister).

Q. How many Philippine presidents were bar topnotchers?
A. Three: Manuel A. Roxas, Diosdado Macapagal, and Ferdinand Marcos.

Q. All Filipino names for the days are from Spanish, with the sole exception of Linggo (Sunday). why not Domingo?
A. Linggo comes from the Malay Mingu, which is a corruption of the Portuguese Domingo (Sunday). But on its way to the Philippines, Mingu became Linggo.

Q. The Pasyon, subject of the pabasa during Lent, holds what distinction in Philippine publishing history?
A. It's the No. 1 all-time  bestseller in the Philippines.

Q. Ramon Magsaysay named his presidential plane Mt. Pinatubo. Why?
A.Mount Pinatubo in Zambales was Magsaysay's area of operation as a guerilla leader in World War II. He went on to become military governor of the province at war's end.

Q. What's special about the 1926 film Tatlong Hambog?
A. It featured a kissing scene between Elizabeth "Dimples" Cooper and Luis Tuazon -- the first in Philippine cinema

  • Three Filipino babies will be born in the next 60 seconds or so.
  • One hundred thousand hectares -- the size of 375,000 basketball courts -- of Philippine forest are denuded every year.
  • Every day about 250 Filipino babies die of preventable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and measles.
  • The Philippines has not enjoyed complete internal peace for the past 40 years.
  • There is one live chicken for every Filipino.
  • The average Filipino bride is 23 years old; her bridegroom, 25.
Ooops !!!
  • The typical Filipino breakfast is not tapsilog (tapa, sinangag and itlog). It's kankamtuy: kanin, kamatis and tuyo.
  • Chop suey is not a native Chinese dish. It originated in the late 19th century in a California camp where the Chinese cook simply threw together what he had left over and called it 'chop suey', a phonetic transliteration of the Cantonese tsa sui, which means something like "odds and ends".
  • There is no pancit Canton in Canton, and no lumpiang Shanghai in Shanghai.
  • The choice of Gabriel "Flash" Elorde's sobriquet had nothing to do with speed. In fact it was originally "K.R.S. Flash", the initials supposedly for Kintanar Radio Shop (or Station) as Elorde's first manager (Kintanar) was a Cebu radio ham. The "Flash" was taken from the regular radio line "news flash bulletin".
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Reference: Barrameda, Bong. Pinoy Trivia. volume 1. Anvil Publishing Inc., Pasig Metro Manila Philippines, 1993

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Copyright 2000 Ron Velasco