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Novelties of a Filipino Home

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by Samantha Nicole Alarilla

How can you tell that a house is Filipino owned? Is it the smell of Sinigang or Kare-Kare wafting out from the kitchen? Is it the warm welcome with which the nanay or tatay receives you with? Or is it some of the things strewn about the house that are the true hallmarks of a Filipino home? What are some of the things that no Filipino home can do without? Here are a few that I’m sure you’ll recognize:

COLLECTION OF PLASTIC BAGS AND TUPPERWARE
– We all know that nanay doesn’t throw away the plastic bags from the grocery shop and you’ll find tons of them stuffed away in some cabinet, and in the cupboard there’s a whole shelf dedicated to all the tupperware from takeouts. We often recycle plastic bags as trash bags and the containers for baon.

TABO (dipper)
– A tabo is a small pail with a handle most Filipinos use to take a bath, to wash themselves after going to the bathroom, to water the plants, and to wash their cars.

BALDE (pail)
– A balde is a larger bucket to collect water for baths or for cleaning.

TSINELAS (slippers)
– Tsinelas are rubber slippers that Filipinos often use indoors because shoes are typically not allowed in the house. While it is footwear, it’s also used for children’s street games like tumbang preso or even a substitute for the stone in piko, and it’s also sometimes used as a pamalo for when someone’s misbehaving.

PAINTING OF THE LAST SUPPER
– Again, this is usually hanging on a wall in the dining room (probably on the wall opposite to the one with the huge wooden spoon and fork décor) and this goes back to our deep Catholic roots established when the Spaniards colonized our country hundreds of years ago.

WOODEN SPOON AND FORK WALL DÉCOR
– We don’t actually know why we have them; but I guess, it had just become a standard decor either in the kitchen or in the dining area.

CANDLES AND MATCHES
– For when there are power outages during the rainy season and for when the stove needs a little help lighting up!

ALTAR
– Most Filipino homes have altars dedicated to Mama Mary, Jesus, the Holy Family, and revered saints. You may also find other religious images, dried palaspas from last year’s Palm Sunday, rosaries, sampaguita garlands, candles, prayer books, and holy water.

SUYOD (lice comb)
– A fine toothed comb used to remove lice from hair. Young school-age kids would often have them and grandma would be the only one patient enough to remove them. Well, even if nobody’s got lice you’re sure to find one or two somewhere.

WALIS TING-TING AND WALIS TAMBO (soft whisk broom)
– Two Filipino cleaning staples! These native brooms are used for cleaning. The Walis Ting-ting, made of stiff, thin midribs of palm leaves, is used for outdoor cleaning. The Walis Tambo, on the other hand, is used indoors for smooth floors.

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