April 24, 2024

(Editors’ note: The Courier is reprinting the columns of the late Atty. Benedicto T. Carantes as a tribute to one of its long-time columnists. This piece was published on Feb.18, 2018.)

In my growing up years, I was called Benny by cousins and friends, and Benedicto by my elementary school teachers.
Later on in high school, classmates referred to me as E-neb, and just plain Carantes by our school masters.
When I sauntered off to Diliman following my graduation from the Saint Louis University Boys High in 1958 (I failed to attend the 60th anniversary and reunion of the SLU Boys and Girls High, a fortnight back coming up with the excuse that I didn’t want to disappoint myself seeing all the girls I had crushes on looking old and wrinkled), I was called brod by my Sigma Rho frat brods until a Sigma Delta coed – Chiqui, her name was – baptized me with the name Igor, or short for Igorot. That name stuck even when I transferred to Padre Faura, Manila.

Anyway, after I passed the Bar a decade and four years later, I was now called attorney by practically all my acquaintances, and when I joined the prosecution service, I was fiscal to all, a moniker that stuck even after I retired and now reverted back to being an attorney.
But that is how it is “onli en da Pilipins.” Just like the Chinese who are named after the businesses they own – “Kilala mo ba si Fancy grocery?” or in the case of Ramon Ang, “Ni 7-11?”
The same is true with us Pinoys. Si attorney, ni engineer, weno ni architect, ni accountant.
Only doctors deserve to be addressed by their professions, being in the healing business.

But doctors are either “doc” or “dac,” an unlicensed physician or pretending to be one is a quack doctor, hence “dac,” from the word duck.
Also, in this part of the Cordillera, a contractor whose only talent is piling a “kabite” but is quick with the SOP, is also an engineer.
Needless to say, teachers are maestro or maestra, or prof for the gents, and profesora for the ladies.
A policeman is either “parak” or “silop,” while a security guard is better known as a parking attendant. Even more pathetic, waiters and waitresses are called “pssst”!

A cockfight cheat is hooted down as a tsupidor, while other cheats are tik-swi or koloks. Not surprisingly, many politicians are called that.
A husband who cheats on wife is matinik, chickboy, or bobo (talaga!) A spouse who sleeps with someone else than her husband is called itol, tog-ots, or in need of money and other material things.
For the love of me, why are priests and nuns called father and mother? That could develop, you know.

A money lender is called 5-6, while one who ignores, neglects, or fails to pay his debt is “he no pay” with his name and picture plastered on the cashier’s desk, “di na mo-ams ti agyadba,” and there are legions along cockfighting row and in the casinos.
A drunk is “ketrabes,” a drug addict is “ba-ngag,” and shabu or crack is “bato” and marijuana is “damo.” To eat is to “bogtsi,” to drink is to “moni,” and rice is “yupaney.”

A storyteller of tall tales is a “bolero” or an “alaskador.”
Kapangpangan women are fondly dubbed “masanting” or “nakakaloka.”
Ifugaos are generally called “Kiangan,” Ilocanos as “Idoco.” Batangueños are “ala eh,” and those from the South are “bisaya” – not Ilonggo, Cebuano, or Waray.
Muslims are admired for their seeming business acumen and able to marry more than once, but strangely other ethnic groups distance themselves from them.

On a more personal note, Domogan is Domogs, not short for Domogan, but an endearment, he bows every time introductions are made.
Mark Go has gone from manager to Cong, Joemol you know, Be-abs is Abe de Castro, and Chongloy is Socrates with the Chinky eyes.
There are still a lot of Filipinos called boy or baby – Boy and Baby Asistio, for one, and Boy Sugargar for another, so called because his hair stands up on end. “In the long of time,” however, his name was sweetened to Boy Sugar.
Jobless persons, pool, and billiard habitués are “estambays” and pretty girls are “nasapnit.” More later.

What goes around comes around, right Mr. and Mrs. PCB? I am happy to know that your boy is doing well and living in the land of milk and honey.
One day he too will do the same thing that Kardo Balajadia did for me as I did with him. How a great life!