Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

My UnFilipino Ways

Manila is my home. I feel like I belong here, and I’ve incorporated Filipino culture into my life.

Having said that, I still do things that are very unFilipino. Here are a few of them:

*I live alone. This is rare in a culture that puts such high value on family and companionship (not to mention frugality). Students are usually puzzled when I tell them I live by myself, and ask this question: “Nakakalungot yun, diba? (Isn’t it depressing)?”

It would be sad if I spent all of my time by myself, but I don’t. I normally spend all day talking with people, so I don’t mind having a little time alone. And quite honestly, I’ve kind of outgrown the whole roommate thing. I want my next “roommate” to be a beautiful woman with my last name.

*Unless I’m in Tagaytay or Baguio, I never use the word “ginaw” (cold). I just don’t get cold in Manila. The only exception is the occasional movie theater with super-charged air conditioning.

*I don’t mind walking through the rain. Most Filipinos think walking in the rain is a surefire way to get sick. Not me—I figure I’ll just dry off once I reach shelter. I think I’m influencing some of my Filipino friends in this regard. Some of my teammates will now walk fearlessly by my side during a light rain. I jokingly tell them they are becoming American.

*I walk straight from the gym to my apartment after my workouts—without showering first. My foreign readers may wonder why this is a big deal. Well, Filipinos are meticulous about personal hygiene (something I greatly appreciate). Most of them would never leave the gym without showering first. Not me—I spread my noxious, foreign fumes all the way back to my place. Maybe I’ll change this practice if the elevator girls at my apartment building start passing out.

*I generally think morenas (brown-skinned women) are much more attractive than mestizas (fair-skinned women). I’ve written about this before.

*I’ve never eaten balut. Half of my Filipino friends think it’s kind of gross, so I don’t feel obligated to try it. I’m afraid my gag reflex would kick in and the little duck embryo would be launched back to daylight before it ever reached my stomach.

*Speaking of eating, I can go a whole day without rice and not feel deprived.

*I don’t watch telenovelas (soap operas). In fact, I just don’t get the way Filipinos do dramatic television. One minute you’re watching a dramatic dialogue, the next minute an alien, witch, or mermaid appears. I get my dose of telenovelas whenever I ride the bus—that’s quite enough for me.

*I don’t like reading Tagalog. I’m fluent in the language, but I never have liked reading it—weird, huh? Don’t get me wrong—you guys are welcome to comment or email in Tagalog. But I rarely read books, blogs, or articles that aren’t written in English.

*I don’t like “textolog. I get confused when vowels disappear and numbers take their place. This seems to be second nature to my friends, but not for me. I can usually decipher these cryptic messages, but I normally ask people to repeat the text using whole words.

So there you have it. After six years here, I’m still not fully Filipino. Maybe some of these things will change after another six years. Maybe I’ll even try balut.



  1. Funny.

    My foreign friends can’t stand balut, am not a big fan of it, i just have it once a!

    But you know, this is the first time i’ve heard of “textolog” lol..made me laugh when i read it.

  2. una. sana makamit mo na ang pinapangarap mo na makapag-asawa.

    pangalawa. talagang mainit dito sa manila.

    pangatlo. gustong kong maglakad sa ulan ng walang payong…masarap yun eh…never pa akong nagkasakit sa paglalakad sa ulan.

    pang-apat. ito ay 100% true. at madalas maligo ang pinoy.

    lastly, sana pagtiyagaan mong basahin ang komentong ito.


  3. Nabasa ko ang lahat–walang txtolog kasi 🙂

  4. ngayon ko lang nalaman yung term na txtolog. lol.

    salute for admitting not taking shower before leaving the gym. but you’re american, so i doubt if people would even care.

    natuwa naman ako sa post mo.

  5. I think I invented the “txtolog” term 🙂

  6. opo…ikaw ang nag-imbento ng “textolog” na termino.
    pede nyo na pong ipauso yan….haha!

  7. I think I’ll make another post about it tomorrow 🙂

  8. masarap ang balut

    favorite kong kainin dun yung yellow part (di ko alam tawag dun eh) bukod sa paghigop ng sabaw nun

    when i was younger, binibigay ko sa ate ko or sa papa ko yung sisiw but then after some time i learned how to eat the bird na rin. masarap pala!

    better try it kuya kevin (n_n)

  9. Kuya,

    Bakit gusto niyo po ang nag-iisa? Curious lang po. I read somewhere that this is becoming a much preferred “trend” today. Living alone. The author said something like this: in doing so (living by yourself), one is advocating a lifestyle that tends to care for self only, or it is sad to see the potential “good species” of a christian come to nothing (or something like that).

    Is that correct? I mean, what if the reason for my singlehood is that God really hasn’t sent any good guy my way yet?

    salamat po sa inyong understanding. 🙂


  10. Perlas,

    I just haven’t met anyone that I wanted to marry. I don’t necessarily want to be single, but I don’t want to marry someone just for the sake of marrying.

    About the author’s point: I would agree that “protracted singleness” (extended singleness) is generally not a good thing. But I get concerned when authors condemn singles.

    I’m not sure that God “sends our spouse” without any effort on our part. My suggestion for you is to expand your social network and do your best to meet new people (see my article entitled Is it OK to Search for Love?)

  11. you’re right when you said that half of filipinos DON’T eat balut. i belong to the other half. i LOVE balut. hope you try it someday.

    living alone has perks. andami. some people can’t imagine what those are, but i do. for one, you can spend time with God easily just by closing your door. no time limit pa. if your neighbor is noisy, that’s another story.

    morenas ARE prettier than mestizas. and i’m filipino!

  12. i’m a recent subscriber and decided to create my google account (finally) now so I could post my comments.

    just wanted to say that I admire what you’re doing here in my country, and what you stand for…thank you very much. You certainly are storing up much rich treasure for yourself in heaven!

    Jesus bless you with your heart’s desires always.

  13. Thanks, Cristina–the Filipinos have greatly blessed me and my time here.

  14. Hi kuya kevin…

    It’s me Aaron from AMAIIT where you made a simenar with the subject “TRUE LOVE WAITS”.. That was the most informative seminar i ever attended… tnx

    I just want to ask you a question.. are you contented with life today? hope you don’t mind kuya… tnx… and wait.. i add some more.. can you make some suggestion about how to become a contented person?

    A million thanks kuya…

  15. Philippians 4:12-13
    12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

  16. Nagmukha akong turista sa Seattle kamakailan. Gumamit ako ng payong!

  17. “nakakalungkot…” pls put “k” between g and o (end of 3rd sentence)

    Dito rin sa L.A. nagpayong ako, kasi it was drizzling, and then I closed
    my umbrella when I noticed that everybody was walking in the rain. Kahiya talaga ako 🙂 So promdi

    Thanks, Kuya Kevin, for appreciating the Pinoy culture.

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