Tabi-Udtro: Dictionary

Tabi-Udtro (Please repeat): This page is dedicated to defining new terms and phrases that have worked their way into my messy Peace Corps-CRM-MAO-Pinoy-Bicol-English Vocabulary! Let me know if there are any words you think should be added to this list here!


Adobo (n.): A commonplace seasoning for meat that has a heavy soy sauce base.  “I need to learn how to make chicken adobo!”

Ate (n.): A term usually prefixing the name of a woman who is older than you.  Literally this means older sister, however here it is used more as a term of respect or endearment.  


Balay ko an balay mo!: Bicol for ‘My house is your house!’

Barangay (n.): A barangay is the smallest division of a Province.  It’s equivalent to a neighborhood or small town in the United States. “I live in Barangay Sabang” 

Bicolano/a (n.): Term for someone being from the Bicol region of the Philippines. “Chelsea you’re going to be a bicolana in two years!”


Chichirria (n.): Junk food. “The kids ate too much chichirria and now they don’t feel well”

Chicka-Chicka (n./v.): Gossip.  This term is commonly used as a verb: “Oh, they’re chicka-ing about xyz.”

Chicka Train (n.): This is a batch 275 term used to describe the chain of gossip that forms inside our tiny Peace Corps fishbowl world. “There is no getting off the Chicka Train”


Dispidita (n.): A Filipino going away party! Complete with lots of food, videoke, and good friends. 


Jeepney (n.): Leftover from World War II Jeepneys have been converted into a mode of public transportation.  The back of the truck-like vehicle has two long benches but people have been known to ride of the tops of Jeepneys, and hang off of the back as well.  The Jeepney motto is ‘there’s always room for one more!’

Joke Lang: just a joke! 


Kal-Asos (n.): These are stray dogs that roam the streets in the Philippines.  They are usually mal-nourished, bony and mangy. 

Kuya (n.): A term usually prefixing the name of a man who is older than you, or the same age.  Literally, this means older brother.  However being the male equivalent of Ate, it is more commonly used as a term of respect or endearment.


Lechon (n./adj.): usually used to describe a pig roasted over an open flame, but it can also be used to describe using this cooking process on other types of meat (i.e. Lechon lamb).


Manok (n.): Tagalog for chicken.

MAO (Pn./n.): The MAO refers to the Municipal Agriculture Office, however my supervisor being the Municipal Agriculturist, is often refered to as ‘MAO’. “Hain si MAO? (Where is MAO (the person)?)’

Merienda (n.): Pinoy snack and break time.  This occurs through-out the work day, and during every meeting or gathering.  It is considered rude if a meeting, big or small, is held without merienda.


Nosebleed (n.): Term for using too much English. Usually ‘joke lang’


Pasko na!: Christmas already!

Pinoy (n./adj.): Can be referring to a person from the Philippines or used to describe anything related to the philippines. “Have you tried any pinoy dishes?” (Synonym: Filipino)


Saod (n.): Bicol for the market. 

Sari-Sari (n.): A convenience store window that sells everything from candies and soda to shampoo, house shoes, and phone credit. The sari-sari is usually built into the front of someone’s house or compound and serves as a source of income for the family. 


Tagay Circle (n.): a drinking circle where the alcohol is in the middle and a cup is passed around. Each participant pours their own drink, drinks it, and passes the cup on.

Tsinelas (n.):(pronounced Chee-nel-as) Flip-flops.  In the Philippines there is a clarification made between tsinelas and house tsinelas.  House tsinelas are only worn inside the house.

Tryke (n.): The tryke is a common mode of public transportation.  It’s a motorcycle with a little side car and can have upwards of five people squished into it. EDIT: I’ve seen close to 9 or 10 hanging on to one tryke!