Terms of Respect

Many terms of respect depend mostly on culture and language. Some honorific titles and kinship relationships cross those boundaries when there’s some kind of shared history. These are some of my observations concerning their usage in both the United States and the Philippines. Honorific Titles Most people in America are familiar with honorific titles (also … Read more

Insects as Food

Most westerners (like Americans) won’t eat insects unless they don’t know they’re eating insects. In far eastern societies, however, entomophagy (eating insects) is common among humans. I’ve watched enough videos on various platforms to know this is true. It’s big business in places like Thailand. United States Marines, when undergoing jungle environment survival training at … Read more

Sauce for the Goose

I’ve only recently (within the last couple of years) seen a goose up close. In fact, it was a lot of geese. Some people tell me geese look like ducks with long necks. There’s a resemblance, and that’s about all I can say about it. I’ve never eaten one, and I probably wouldn’t, even if … Read more


A dingleberry can mean one of three things, but the real meaning is vaccinium erythrocarpum, a specific cranberry species. It’s also commonly known as the mountain blueberry, the southern mountain cranberry, the bearberry and the arando. The slang meanings can refer to a stupid or foolish person, or fecal and toilet paper fragments adhering to … Read more

Balikbayan Boxes Are Cargo Boxes

Unless you’re a Filipino or have close ties to Filipinos, you may have no idea what I mean when I mention balikbayan boxes. The word “balikbayan” is a Tagalog word that was coined way back in the 1970s. It refers to a Filipino who returns to the Philippines. The word “balik” means “going back” or … Read more

Marriage and Sexual Consent in the Philippines

When my younger son, Jon, was getting ready to get married in the Philippines, I read everything I could find about marriage ages in the Philippines. “The Family Code of the Philippines” was, until recently, too liberal with both sex and marriage. The age of sexual consent used to be the age of 12. Although … Read more

The Aswang of the Philippines

The stories published by the Brothers Grimm in the 1800s may be responsible for a lot of the mythology of the Philippines and, more specifically, the aswang. At least, in a roundabout way. According to Wikipedia, aswang is an umbrella term for various shape-shifting evil creatures in Filipino folklore, such as vampires, ghouls, witches, viscera … Read more

The Coffee Culture

According to history, coffee has been consumed since the 1400s, in one form or another. Today, it’s the most popular hot drink in the world. There are entire cottage industries built around the consumption of it. We have coffee shops and donut shops, both of which sell more than their main attraction. Some of them … Read more

Popular Clothing Items That Should Be Familiar

Most of us take popular clothing items for granted. Some of the items that are popular today didn’t even exist a hundred years ago. Clothing tends to be more casual than it was as recently as the late 1950s and early 1960s. Although there are still people wearing attire that’s more formal, most of them … Read more

American Food That Originates Elsewhere

Americans consume all kinds of food in the United States. Ignoring the American food sold in other countries, the American food sold in the United States sometimes originates elsewhere. Sometimes it’s an Americanized version appropriated from some other culture, and sometimes better than the original. Traditional American Food Anything that can be cooked by itself … Read more