Manila Vanilla

What it's like to be a U.S. Fulbright scholar, basketball player, journalist, and the whitest man in Metro Manila.

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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

New Yorker by birth, shipped across the globe to the world of malls, shanty-towns, patronage, corruption, basketball and a curious burnt-toast smell that wafts around at dusk

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Great Texts, Vol. 1

It's no secret that text messaging is quite popular in the Philippines. In fact, that may be the understatement of the year. I go through a couple hundred texts a week, and I'm probably somewhere around the median. At one peso per text for most pre-paid deals, that's too expensive for a lot of people, but there are also millions of folks who are constantly working on two or three cell phones. I'm at the point where I rant and curse when somebody who could be texting me calls instead. The numbers on my phone's rubber key pad have all worn off, except for 9 and the pound sign, from what must be approaching 20,000 text messages. As far as texting goes, I've gone native.

I just can't quit you, Nokia.


Every now and then, I receive a great text message. What nominates an SMS for the pantheon? The possibilities are endless, but some common examples might be garbled English, extremely creative Taglish abbreviations, "good morning" texts peppered with rabid Christian dogma and texts that are so crazy that they're indescribable. I intend to record the best of them here.

Text #1: The inaugural great text is a doozy. It comes from a textmate, Weng, who is in her early 20s and lives in Boracay, where she works at a beach resort. Textmates are people who you don't really know well, but you exchange text niceties with them anyway. There is often some romantic subtext to it, and textmates definitely try to flirt, although it's just for fun and it seems rare, although not unheard of, for textmates to become real-life couples. Because I'm a big white guy, I have a disturbingly large rolodex of textmates that spans the country. It's goofy and embarrassing, but if someone wants to send small-talk text messages with me, I usually return the favor.

So here's Weng's text: "Bz! As of nw, we r preparng 4 the chinese nw year. lumipat km ng bhouse. im wd my daughter nicol. she s 3 yr old jst ths jan. surprise!"

Translation: "I've been busy. We're preparing for Chinese New Years. We moved to a different boarding house. I'm with my daughter Nicole. She just turned three years old in January. Surprise!"

That "surprise" had me rolling. Weng has been my textmate for a few months, and I've had to ignore some very awkward texts referring to me as "SWEET LAZY HUNK." I knew a bit about her, but she held onto this special surprise for a while.

The Cockhouse. Anything less would be uncivilized.


Text #2: From Alex, a Korean volunteer in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. We met when I visited Laoag in December and spent a strange evening together at a local watering hole called the "Cockhouse," which was more wholesome than it sounds, although not the kind of place where you'd bring your Bible study group.

The next morning I received this text: "good am. Pleased to see guys. :) this is Alex de korean volunteer, and let's get to be bond again someday. Take care!"

Engrish never gets old. I've gotten to be bond with a lot of great people here in the Philippines, but Alex was special.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Rooster Guy said...

What kind of bonding could go on in a place named Cockhouse? Is it just a bar? Or a cockfight ring?
Hell, you might run into Johnnie Thwacker in such a place, waving a handful of singles, trying to get some action. Yeah, go Johnnie Thwacker, Mormon Man on a Mission.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous The DramaQueen's Agent said...

Hey, how many textmates on the rolodex that live on Borocay?
I bet there's a few gals tucked in there hoping to get their texts
"stamped" & "sealed" by the Bakekang Bad-Man.

1:40 PM  
Blogger PAK MUS said...

saya mengucapkan banyak terimakasih kepada KI HADAK yang telah menolong saya dalam kesulitan,ini tidak pernah terfikirkan dari benak saya kalau nomor yang saya pasang bisa tembus dan ALHAMDULILLAH kini saya sekeluarga sudah bisa melunasi semua hutang2 kami,sebenarnya saya bukan penggemar togel tapi apa boleh buat kondisi yang tidak memunkinkan dan akhirnya saya minta tolong sama KI HADAK dan dengan senang hati beliau mau membantu saya..,ALHAMDULIL LAH nomor yang dikasi KI semuanya bener2 terbukti tembus dan baru kali ini saya menemukan dukun yang jujur,jangan anda takut untuk menhubungiya jika anda ingin mendapatkan nomor yang betul2 tembus seperti saya,silahkan hubungi KI HADAK DI 085=259=457=111 ingat kesempat tidak akan datang untuk yang kedua kalinya dan perlu anda ketahui kalau banyak dukun yang tercantum dalam internet,itu jangan dipercaya kalau bukan nama KI HADAK
BUKA INI DANA GHAIB TOGEL










saya mengucapkan banyak terimakasih kepada KI HADAK yang telah menolong saya dalam kesulitan,ini tidak pernah terfikirkan dari benak saya kalau nomor yang saya pasang bisa tembus dan ALHAMDULILLAH kini saya sekeluarga sudah bisa melunasi semua hutang2 kami,sebenarnya saya bukan penggemar togel tapi apa boleh buat kondisi yang tidak memunkinkan dan akhirnya saya minta tolong sama KI HADAK dan dengan senang hati beliau mau membantu saya..,ALHAMDULIL LAH nomor yang dikasi KI semuanya bener2 terbukti tembus dan baru kali ini saya menemukan dukun yang jujur,jangan anda takut untuk menhubungiya jika anda ingin mendapatkan nomor yang betul2 tembus seperti saya,silahkan hubungi KI HADAK DI 085=259=457=111 ingat kesempat tidak akan datang untuk yang kedua kalinya dan perlu anda ketahui kalau banyak dukun yang tercantum dalam internet,itu jangan dipercaya kalau bukan nama KI HADAK
BUKA INI DANA GHAIB TOGEL

11:11 PM  

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