Author Archives: dmallari

A Filipino Pun

Context:Context: The informant (NA) is a freshman at USC. He lives in a Filipino household and experiences all of the traditions that a family in the Philippines would have. He heard this joke from both his peers and his family. The piece was performed on an online conference through a Zoom meeting with the interviewer (DM). 

Main piece: 

NA: “Why do Filipinos not like salt”

DM: “Why?”

NA: “Because it’s asin”

This is similar to a pun and the main point of this joke is saying that salt which is asin in Tagalog, is a sin, like doing something wrong.

Thoughts: Personally I am a huge fan of puns and wordplay like this. The joke ties English in with Tagalog and it reflects the focus on religion that many people in the Philippines have. It also could reference the preference of taste with Filipino with the lack of salt which has some truth to it since Filipino dishes use fish sauce as their main source of saltiness. It ties in a common habit in cuisine and cleverly merges it with a play on words and with the stereotype of the religious Filipino community

Filipino Customs with Death

Main Piece: When you bury a person it is custom to put in their hands a broken rosary. It’s because Filipinos believe that cutting the rosary breaks the cycle of death in the family, so no one else in the family dies. I also heard that they do this so that the ghost of the deceased rests easy and doesn’t visit the family.  

Context: The informant lived the majority of her life in the Philippines. She then immigrated to the United States when she was 24. She learned about this tradition from her family.

Thoughts: I have never heard of this before but it seems to show superstition and fear of the dead in the Filipino Community. Religion is strong in the Filipino community and plays a big role in their beliefs. The emphasis on religion is shown by the rosary, which is a religious item in Christianity. The circular nature of the rosary also reflects the life cycle, which is why the informant believed that breaking the cycle would change the outcome. I find it interesting how religion affects common beliefs and values which is emphasized with this tradition.

A Gamer’s Language to Duel

“1v1 me Rust” is a popular saying amongst gamers, primarily ones who play fps (first-person shooter) games. It’s like telling someone to fight you but in a video game. This came from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 when they released a map called Rust. This map was extremely small and was often used for duels and 1v1s which is just like one of those cowboy shootouts. It’s easy to use cheap tricks in shooters like these and people would normally get upset or trash talk. The way to settle the dispute would be a 1v1 on Rust. It makes it clear who the better player is and now the saying is used in other shooter games as well.

Context: The informant identifies as a gamer and has been playing various video games since they were in grade school. He first found out about the saying when he first played the game in its release in 2009. He has also seen the term with popular professional gamers and streamers.

Thoughts: I really like the comparison from the duel to that of an American western shootout. It shows the competitiveness of the gaming community and how certain influencers of the community shape the outcome of a game entirely. It makes sense to have competition such as this to see who is the better player. One on one games have been apparent in almost every competitive setting and it is interesting to see how certain aspects of the game create a whole new saying.

Livermore’s Rockboy

Main Piece: There’s a place near where I live called Livermore. There’s an old highway which is closed now. Apparently there was a boy who sat on the overpass of the tunnel of the highway. He sat there and threw rocks at cars but one day some guy got mad at the kid and murdered him. Now his ghost haunts that overpass called Rockboy. It takes a lot to go to that place. You have to go through many alleys and stuff to get through and to hear Rockboy. What you have to do to see him you have to first go and turn off all electronic devices like your phone, car and anything like that, normally people go with a group cause it’s pretty scary. So once everything is off, everyone who is there has to be connected in some way and then someone has to say something along the lines of “Rockboy we come in peace.” when my friends and I did that I swear that I heard rocks being thrown.

Context: The informant moved to San Ramon in 2007 and heard about the myth from upperclassmen at his highschool. When learning about this ritual, he and a group of friends decided to try it.

Thoughts: This legend seems to be one that reflects the fear and eeriness of the overpass that’s abandoned. With abandoned sites like this, there seems to be a story behind it for why it was abandoned in the first place so that people can have a sense of thrill and excitement in a completely normal place, whether it is real or not.

The Legend of the Tawalis

Main piece: The story was about a naughty boy, named Tawi, who was crossing a lake. He was being chased by something, I can’t remember exactly and the people nearby saw him getting chased so they shouted: “Tawi bilis” which means “Tawi faster.” The boy disappeared and at the same time, a new fish was present in the lake. They then named that new fish after the boy who had to swim faster, Tawilis. This lake was Taal lake and the Tawalis is only found in that lake.

Context: The informant lived the majority of her life in the Philippines. She then immigrated to the United States when she was 24. She learned about the legend of the tawalis from her father who told her the story numerous times.

Thoughts: I find this story pretty interesting. It attributes a certain event to the naming of a fish which shows how superstitious Filipinos could be. It seems as though this could be a scary story when given the right context. It could be used as a scare tactic for kids who are naughty. The naughty element in Tawi could be a possible reason why he was being chased in something but since my informant didn’t know, it is up for speculation.

Full Out and Mark

Informant: I’m not sure where it came from but in all hip hop dance classes I’ve ever taken we refer to a “mark” as a run through of choreo that isn’t as full energy, something you use to remember new steps or different aspects of the choreography you want to focus on. A “full out” run is one that is full energy, full facial performance, full movements. That is a run that is going to be most close to what you’d see on stage as if we were performing right in that moment.

Context: The informant is a dancer on an international US dance team called V-Mo. She has been in dance clubs ever since high school. As a dancer who has attended various dance classes, she gets to experience all the nuances that come with the classes.

Thoughts: From what I’ve heard, practice and the actual performance are two very different things. This slang is very similar to athletes who practice as if they were in a game. The two types of run throughs show how dancers are precise with their leaning and are smart when it comes to the conservation of energy, especially since dancing is physically demanding just like any other sport. 

Drinking Alcohol to kill Corona

Main Piece: One myth I heard about coronavirus is that tequila or any hard alcohol kills the virus. This is something I’ve heard not just about the virus but when you’re sick in general. It’s based on the fact that alcohol is normally a sanitizing agent so drinking alcohol would sanitize your body. The joke would be set up when someone is feeling slightly ill. Then when someone else hears about the illness, they sarcastically say that they should go take a shot of tequila.


Context: The informant is a current junior at Cal Poly SLO. She is one of many students that were removed from her school due to the Coronavirus pandemic. She encountered the joke from her classmates and peers.

Thoughts: This joke shows off the stereotypical college experience in which people drink a lot. This joke stems from another folk belief that alcohol sanitizes your system for any disease. I think it’s just another excuse for people to drink alcohol.

Pompyang: A Filipino Children’s Game

Main Piece: Pompyang happens when you want to choose someone to be “it” for a game like tag or when we have to choose someone to do chores. It is a quick and easy game for choosing someone. First, everyone puts their hands in the middle after making a circle. On one person’s signal, everyone lifts their hands and positions their hands either facing palms up or down. The odd ones out are considered safe until you get down to three people then it is repeated. Once there are three people, the odd one out of those three is considered the loser.

Context: The informant lived the majority of her life in the Philippines. She then immigrated to the United States when she was 24. She learned about the game when she was in grade school in the Philippines.

Thoughts: I already knew about this game but I think it’s a really simple way to settle debates. Because it’s so simple, it’s a way to settle disputes for kids or even adults. By only giving two options it makes the game much simpler but the only time when it becomes remotely complicated is when there are an even amount of people and there are an even amount of upward and downward palms.

Simp: A Teen Colloquial Term

Context: The following interview was conducted online between the informant (CG) and I(Me). The informant is a freshman at CSUN. He encountered the term on social media and in-person with his peers and classmates.

CG: Most people think a simp is a kind gentleman who would do anything for women. Just kidding a simp is a boy who obsesses over women and does extreme things to get their attention. It’s like saying you’re a slave to women.

Me: Where did you first hear of the term simp?

CG: I  always described some guys to be like this but never knew about this term until I saw this on Twitter or Instagram. I see it a lot when guys would share their dm’s(direct messages) on their feed and sometimes others would call them a simp.

Me: Does a simp always have to be a guy?

CG: Not necessarily, I see it being used as a term for being sad over someone in general but because guys have more sexual tendencies and want women more, I see it more in men.

Me: Is a simp a bad thing?

CG: I think it is being overused and oversaturated. Generally, it is looked down upon now since it is used too much, but before it used to be something somewhat serious since it meant that someone was really hurting but now it’s more of a meme.

Thoughts: The creation of the word in itself shows the emphasis on mental health that a majority of young adults value. It is interesting how the word has changed to a meme. Its change in meaning shows how we are slowly being desensitized to many modern problems.

Meta: Gamer Slang

Main Piece: A meta is something that is mainstream. When playing competitive multiplayer games, there are always certain parts of the game, like characters, weapons, strategies that are better than the rest. When it comes to a high level of play where people are closer in terms of skill, every advantage you can take counts. Because of that, a bunch of people have coined that term, for things in a game that is trending or popular. These are most of the time made by professional gamers and streamers who are popular within the gaming community. Now whenever something is popular or trending, my friends and I call it meta like saying “Oh this is the new meta” when we do something crazy or out of the box. That could also be off-meta. It’s something we use whenever there’s a recommendation.

Context: The informant identifies as a gamer and has been playing various video games since they were in grade school. He first found out about what a meta is through popular gamers on youtube and twitch.

Thoughts: Although video games are most of the time connotated with leisure and play, there is a side of gaming that is extremely competitive. It tells a lot about the entertainment industry and how it’s shifting towards a more digital era. Athletes are normally seen as big, bulky guys but now with the integration of Esports, the image of the athlete changes. The use of a meta validates how competitive video games are contrary to popular beliefs.