It’s a drag to read or watch anything about the Philippines these days. Almost everything is depressing and upsetting, ie the recent bombings, kidnappings, power grabbing, argh! downright ugly.

And the news about a population boom in the Philippines is all the more disquieting. All the talk against contraceptives to favor natural birth control and family planning are a plain bull. It’s one thing we pride ourselves as Asia’s only Catholic country and it’s another if we still base social policies in Jesus’ times.

Bah! Who am I to rant? All I can possibly do is bring out the best Pinoy in me: being wickedly optimistic.

And how to be optimistic with the influx of Pinoys but to find a kababayan in every nook and cranny of the globe and seeing them getting by pretty well, right? Right!

Jessica Zafra theorized a world domination of sorts of Pinay domestics and nannies soon. I agree, but more! I think we’re out to do what was done to us: Colonization (payback time!). If the Philippines produces 2-3% increase of its brown race and a quarter of the population move out to another country a year, Pinoys might just overtake the Indians and the Chinese in no time!

Now that I am in NY, it’s amazing how easy to spot a Pinoy that not even make up, bleached hair, and cosmetic surgery may mask. First, the high pitched voice in a public space, usually spoken on a mobile phone as if to suggest the person on the other end of the line is either deaf or, maybe, non existent (read: walang kausap). The voice is also accompanied by a brag or two with the pitch reaching its peak when a fellow Pinoy walks by.

Two, the familiar Pinoy twang on the all-pervasive American slang. Once let loose in an unfamiliar space, the adaptive Pinoy imbibes everything — from clothes to culture; lifestyle to language — to blend well in. And so if one is thirsty, buying ‘softdrinks’ (in sari-sari store no less) is strange while popping a ‘soda’ is cool; Friends aren’t pare or ‘tol or even berks anymore, they are now dude or bro (not brad!) with the yo! and wazzup! holler on the sides; Taking a pee doesn’t happen in a CR (comfort room) rather in a toilet or restroom; And ‘yes’ becomes ‘yeah’ or ‘uh-huh’, ‘no’ becomes ‘nope’ or ‘nah’, ‘Ay!‘ becomes ‘Ooops!’, and ‘siguro’ becomes ‘I guess’ or ‘whatever, duh!’ if it warrants sarcasm. Moreso, the perennial use of ‘something’ or ‘like…’ as sentence fillers and the konyo Taglish mix! argh. Few people can pull it off, especially the pretty ones (hehehe) but most are all Kris Aquino-like… dangerously annoying! Making worse things worst, the Tagalog words suddenly sound either like tongue twisters or as encrypted entries in Webster’s English Dictionary (eg “It’s okay for them to search my house but barging in to, like, uhm, make kalkal my stuff, it’s not nice!”).

Three, if you see a Caucasian incessantly looking at his or her watch in a station or anywhere, chances are, he or she is waiting for a Pinoy. Need I say more?

Four, when two or more Pinoys talking dead seriously in a corner and in a deep hush, it is highly probable they are either trading gossips or finding fault/ poking fun (eg appearance, clothing, makeup, hairdo, built) on others within proximity. Laitero (if a word exists) ang mga Pinoy. So it is imperative to look best when with a Pinoy. If only Pinoys will have their way, the 11th Commandment would read: Bawal ang pangit!

Perhaps related to #4, five is when one goes inside a Pinoy joint (be it a restaurant or a grocer’s deli), there appears to have a unspoken tension between Pinoys as to who is better off and who has best assimilated in society when, in truth, they eat the same adobo and/or buy the same chicharon.

Of course there are the givens. The tabo and panghilod in the bathroom; The nonverbal gestures (pointing a direction using one’s lips or shaping a rectangle in the air for a bill); The religious icons and school diplomas enshrined on walls; The baon for school or office lunch or snack; Anything long and beaded on the car’s rearview mirror; The stored used grocery bags for take homes and stock piled rolls of tissue for rainy days, and; A sat dish for TFC cable.

Well it’s not bad to have more Pinoys in the world. Fact is, it’s impossible not to, especially during brown, er, blackouts. It is just unmistakably Pinoy.

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