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How to Spot a Filipina

Advisory: This post contains sweeping generalizations.

A co-worker stopped me today and said, “Are you a model? Because you walk like one,” to which I immediately responded: “I’m a model of good behavior.”

That’s a flashing FILIPINA sign right there, dear readers. We're well behaved, like prancing fawn on a paradise island.


Anyway, please adjust your posture as I share my hard-won wisdom about how to identify humans born within the same political boundaries as me, or those whose ancestry matches mine. If you are of another tribe, this list will save you from eagerly asking folks from Cambodia/Indonesia/Malaysia/Vietnam if they’re from the Philippines. May I present…

A Fragrant Guide to Spotting Filipinas 
  1. The Nose: Look for nostrils that fan out sideways, much like the branches of a chestnut tree. Exceptions: chinitas, who have East Asian features, and mestizas, who look white. 
  2. The Eyes: Brown, unless wearing contacts. 
  3. The Lips: Will be quick to flash a smile or laugh. 
  4. The Accent: Listen for “f” sounds becoming “p,” rolling r’s, hard k’s, and a knack for emphasizing the wrong syllable when spokening the English. 
  5. The Appetite: Can usually be found around areas where food was last seen. 
  6. The Violence: Will hit if provoked. 
  7. The Singing: Needs no excuse to launch into song. Has genetically inherited knowledge of full lyrics to all cheesy songs ever written. 
  8. The Work Ethic: Often the movers and shakers of households per matricentric society (see this piece by UP’s Dean Michael Tan if you’re unfamiliar with the term). 
  9. The Resilience: Can bounce back quickly from tragedy, probably due to fact that home islands regularly subjected to natural disasters and political ineptitude/corruption. 
  10. The Best!: According to the latest Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum, the Philippines is the top country in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of gender equality. We’re number five in the world! Woo woo woo woo woo! 
Reader, you are now better equipped to identify a specific group outside of its natural environment. Perhaps someone will take the next step of listing Filipina characteristics by subgroup, like Ilokanas and their love of deep frying and salt. Because the world can never have enough sweeping generalizations.

Remember: everyone is different except me.

This post brought to you by Peet’s coffee. Peet’s coffee: when you need a literal kick in the mouth to wake up.

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