Friday, November 2, 2012

Suntukan Na Lang Tayo!

Today, as I lined up to enter the airport, there was some guard with two nuns in tow and motioning for us to step aside so they could pass. A Tagalog-speaking passenger behind me casually said "eh bakit kung madre sila?". The guard overheard that and on return told the passenger, "respeto lang sa Diyos sir".

Passenger still retorted with a sarcastic "madre ang mga yun, hindi Diyos"! I almost laughed at that remark, but kept my quiet since the guard in an obviously piqued face said "sumbaganay na lang ta, sir". Passenger answered with "wag kang mag-German, di ko naiintidihan”. I don't know why, I interpreted that for him and told him "suntukan na lang daw po kayo, sir"! Hehe, his wife reprimanded him to stop responding. But as that guard walked away, the man said "di lalo akong hindi nakapag-check-in, gago ka pala eh! End of story!

This reminded me of my fascination with Pinoys (and I think many  people in the world are like that too) who are quicker at being physical than reasoning-out. That is why they just say "suntukan na lang tayo" - if and when they still have a little control of themselves by not using firearms or other weapons! Some losers are really like that. I call them losers because they do not know how to reason out effectively. They're probably not trained for that or they did not grow up in an environment where reasoning - even if heatedly - is considered still better than physical violence.

I have a very memorable example on this topic, and that brings me back to my college years of decades ago. Am telling you a story, so read on baby hehehe...

I lived most of my college years inside UP Diliman's Narra Residence Hall. Yep, that old dilapidating building just across the corner entering Old Balara where the NAWASA is. Narra was dilapidating then, so all the more that it should be now. In fact, it’s already been closed. Its just sitting there for the elements to ‘naturally’ tear it down soon - probably! And inside Narra, two corners of that expansive quadrangular building are/were dedicated as study areas. Yep, only 2, since one corner is/was the reception and lobby while the corner diagonally across it is/was the canteen. The corner nearest Balara gate was a bigger study hall.

Anyway, there was a dorm-mate named Edwin. I knew him personally, a bit at least, since our parents were close friends (am not sure if we are/were even consanguineal-ly related). He was on the last stretch of his bar review while I was probably just in my 2nd or 3rd year undergrad. He at times would be reading his jurisprudence books and whathavyas at that corner of the dorm (near Balara) since his room was just nearby. If I had questions about the 'teachings' or assignments of Alex Magno (PoliSci 14), I would usually go to Edwin when Popo or Lean would not be around. Thus, I caught up to disturb him with a question one morning...

But there was that unusual blaring sound system of a religious group preaching in a "to whom it may concern-style" down at the corner where the jeeps stop and pedestrians cross. We could not even talk in our normal voices due to that blaring biblical sermon. They used an olden conical loud speaker, the type that still abound atop churches to this day. Masakit sa tenga! Irritated like many of us in the dorm, Edwin stood up to go and confront them. I followed (to watch the spectacle hehe)! Why not, eh I considered him kuya!

So down at the street-corner of Katipunan and Ma. Regidor, Edwin started with "bakit dito nyo palagi naiisip mag-sermon? Di ba naki-usap na kami last week kung pwede kayo lumipat, naiingayan kami sa dorm eh." The reply from the preacher was "kapatid, dito kami itinadhana ng panginoon, kaya dito kami magsisiwalat ng salita ng Diyos". Edwin was quick to reply with an obviously irritated "wag mo akong tawaging kapatid, hindi iisa magulang natin"!

The preacher re-started with "alam mo sir..." but Edwin was very quick to retort with "wag mo akong tawaging sir, estudyante pa lang ako, hindi guro"! Some people and bystanders who started to mill around gave out some laugh or cheer at that remark. The preacher, obviously piqued said, "eh nang-aasar ka lang yata eh". And Edwin with a straight face said "oo nga, nang-aasar ako, di kayo nakuha sa matinong pakiusap last week, so asaran na lang tayo"! Preacher answered with "alam mo anak..." but Edwin was quick again to intercept saying "wag mo akong tawaging anak, hindi kita magulang"! Yeah yeah, some of the men around (including some of us Narra residents were laughing)! But the preacher this time did not budge and he continued with "baka kami itinalaga ng Diyos dito para pati kayo makarinig ng banal na kasulatan, alam mo pwede kaming pumasok sa dorm nyo para mag-bigay ng magandang balita"!

Half shouting, Edwin firmly cut him with "hindi yan ang ipinunta namin dito, nasa dorm kami para mag-aral ng mga leksyon namin, may mga bibliya kami kung kailangan namin at nagsisimba kami pag linggo. Hindi kami tumira dito sa dorm para dumugo ang mga tenga namin sa ingay ng lumang speaker nyo"! Already red-faced, the preacher then said "suntukan na lang tayo, gusto mo?".

But Edwin (he was a big burly man btw) welcomed the challenge, tossed his book to me and went into a boxing stance, saying "sige ba, pag nadurog ko mukha mo ipangako mong hindi na kayo mag-iingay dito"! Cooler heads prevailed though (that included me!) and the UP Police came to check out what was happening! So, the near-fight was disbanded. The preacher and his cohorts went away after police officers told them something about public disturbance or something like that.

Preacher was still shouting as they rode on a jeep. He had things to say like "wala kayong respeto sa Diyos", "masusunog kayo sa impiyerno", "unahin ang bibliya na isinulat ng panginoon kesa sa libro nyo na gawa ng tao"! And many things like those. They never returned to that corner the rest of my college years, I think!

Now now... let me reflect on that last paragraph of the story! I have observed during my travels around this country that the word "respect" amongst Filipinos has a totally twisted meaning. Respect for many of us (them) means giving-in to things 'religious' - even if our basic human rights are already breached. Examples above are the guard who let the nuns jump a long line and he called it "respeto sa Diyos" and the preacher who readily claimed "wala kayong respeto sa Diyos" because we wanted him away from that corner. Come to think of it, respeto ba talaga sa Diyos yun?

Sadly, many Filipinos (include me and many of you reading this) have a lot of twisted notions about the meaning of "respect". If not of Edwin, what would most everyone have said or done? Nothing! All because, we think we cannot assert our rights over something being cloaked as 'religious act' and that we have to "respect" them! Go think about it folks!

And, I have just made a conclusion that I won't allow to be refuted! That is… if I hear someone saying “suntukan na lang tayo”, I will be already sure he is dumb!

O ano, suntukan na lang tayo?!

Ah the things I hear during my travels!

NB: About that little caricature above?
I grabbed it from
without asking for permission!


  1. A very, very good read! I, being one of those losers who resort to physical violence in a snap, couldn't find any offense with what you wrote because in a reality, that is the truth. When we get irritated, we tend to lose our cool and just fight it out. I enjoyed reading this article because it made me realize how pathetic we look and maybe try to let reasoning do the fighting. Thanks, bro! (Kahit di iisa ang magulang natin, hehe)

  2. Edwin fratwhip ng pa-alps? Yung malaking mama? Patay sila dyan!

    tama hula ko 'no?


  3. I like what you wrote. Very true! Counting really helps before making any retorts when hotter heads prevail in a situation. A very Pinoy trait. =)

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