The “Americanization” of the Two Lola’s

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I don’t like people that butt in line. Regular readers of “Philippines Plus” might recall past rants involving my issues with Filipinos,  well-known for “Filipino Time,” who are nonetheless in a hurry and push ahead of others in a queue. I’ve been living in the Philippines for close to six years now, and while the vast majority of Pinoys and Pinays are polite, respectful and friendly, there are those that believe it is alright to practice “line jumping.” So when  a middle-aged Filipina butted in front of two senior ladies the other day at Robinsons Supermarket Package Counter, this incident sparked the “Americanization” of the two Lola’s (Grandmothers.)

No, first of all, no offense is meant by calling seniors in the Philippines, Lola or Lolo (Grandfather.) It is a term of endearment and respect such as using “Ate,” older sister, or in Tagalog, “po,” a sign of respect for both genders.

My asawa and I had spent a sweltering hot day in nearby Iloilo City buying new floor tiles and soffits for our new home that we are having built in Guimaras, the island province we call roof philippines

A look at our new home in the Philippines

We met the lead man for our ceiling installation, Elly, at A. M. Builder’s Depot, located at Lopez Jaena corner West Avenue, Tanza in Iloilo City. My asawa had told our installer we would meet him at 10 or 10:30 am. I suppressed a smug smile when I heard of the meeting time. I’ve been married to my lovely Filipina spouse for over 15 years now and knew that Bruce Jenner had a better chance of getting a date with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson than of us being at the meeting by ten.

At 11 am we rolled off the jeepney and bolted across the heavy Iloilo traffic where Elly too, was just now headed for the front door. We were delayed by a side trip first to SM Delgado.

My asawa and our lead installer huddled with the employee responsible for soffits. There was a brief discussion. My wife turns to me, fat butt perched on a heavy duty plastic bench in front of a huge, industrial fan, and asked:

“Dear, how much material do we need? 100 meters?”

“How the hell do I know?” I replied in amazement. “I thought that’s why we brought Elly along. He didn’t measure what we needed beforehand?” 

My wife wisely decides to call “Boy” our foreman on sight and ask him. At least Boy, whose crew will be doing the installation of the floor tiles, had the foresight to measure each of our rooms separately and provided us with a detailed list of what size tile and how many would be needed for each room.

About 15 minutes later our foreman sent a text message to my spouse. 93 meters would be needed. At least the 100 meter estimate wasn’t far off. But A.M. Builder’s didn’t have that much material for the soffits in stock; we would have to wait until 1:30 pm until their supplier came in and let them know how much local stock was available.

So we sent Elly on his way and began the process of ordering our floor tiles. Our tiles would be delivered next week in Guimaras but 100 containers of needed adhesive tile were not in stock and would arrive in three days, in time for the tile shipment.

It was only noon,  so upon my wife’s suggestion we decided to go to Robinsons for lunch. After being told by one jeepney operator that they did not make a stop at Robinsons, an older Filipino gentleman at the rear of a jeepeney loaded with supplies from A.M.,  told us to hop on and that the driver would drop us off at the popular mall.Waiting at Robinsons in Iloilo City

We thanked the man for the ride and he asked what nationality I was.

“American, “ I answered. “Illinois, near Chicago, where Michael Jordan played with the Bulls.” (We actually lived in Central Illinois, about 3 1/2 hours from The Windy City  but many Filipinos love basketball and understand the Jordan reference.)

Robinsons Mall was busier than free Egg McMuffin Day at McDonald’s. All the eateries were busy but after a trip to the CR, Comfort Room, Pizza Hut had cleared a few tables so we had our lunch there

(By the way, Pizza Hut, has a new lunch feast menu and for 299 pesos, two people, including me, can be well fed. I’m thrilled that they are now allowing substitutions for each menu item. We substituted a bacon cheeseburger regular pizza for a Hawaiian Pineapple Pizza, and this particular feast came with two orders of American french fries and two orders of mushroom soup. My asawa couldn’t eat all of her fries, and I, happily, polished them off for her.)The Mormon Guys Hanging Out at Shakey's Pizza in Iloilo

Yeah, even our local Mormon guys love to chow down on pizza

After lunch and some shopping, it was now 2 pm. Still no word from the supplier at A.M. Builder’s so we decided to go home and check on the soffits later. My wife stopped by the Dunkin’ Donut stand to pick up some treats for home and I went to the Package Counter at the supermarket to claim our three bags from SM Delgado that we had deposited.

There was a long line at the Package Counter. Anyone that has ever been at Robinsons Package Counter in the afternoon, will know that the longer the day wears on, the longer the package counter line will usually be.

The two senior citizens noted at the beginning of this post were just ahead of me, waiting to plunk down their plastic claim ticket number so the two young Filipinos scurrying behind the counter could retrieve their packages. As we were waiting, a Filipino lady edged of front of them and slapped her ticket on the counter and her package was promptly given to her.

I said nothing to the woman who had butted in line. I was hot, tired and just wanted to get home. But I did remark to the two Lola’s:

“You Filipinos are much more patient than I am. You let that woman jump in front of you in line and you said nothing. I’m afraid I would have said something to her if it was me.”

The two polite ladies nodded but said nothing.

By this time, the ladies had dropped their claim tickets on the counter and the young men behind the counter were searching for their packages.

Suddenly, a middle-aged Pinay jumped in front of the seniors, and tried to drop her claim ticket.

The Lola’s pointed to the back of the line.

“The line start there.” they informed the line jumper.

The woman looked shocked but sheepishly went back to the end of the line.

I gave both Lola’s a high five!

“Good for you!” I exclaimed to them.

I then plunked down my claim ticket and collected my packages. Just another day in paradise.

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

16 thoughts on “The “Americanization” of the Two Lola’s

  1. I to don’t have a problem with speaking up to line jumpers which is usually followed by my asawa giving me a pinch or poke and word quiet . LOL…
    but I still remind her just because thats common practice doesn’t make it right…..

  2. Right on Dave, I also do not hesitate to politely but firmly call out line jumpers. Almost exclusively they are women in their 50’s – 60’s. Occasionally they are nuns, who certainly should have better manners. Ever so often one will say they are in a hurry, to which my canned reply is “Why is your time more important than mine?”. If they apologize at that point I will let them in front of me and ask them to ask permission to cut next time.

    Give a shout if you come back to town, it’s been a long time man 🙂

    1. “Why is your time more important than mine?” Exactly my sentiments, Rease. The majority of the line jumpers I have encountered here are female, also, with a lot of them in the age group you mentioned.

      Melinda just made a trip to the Big City yesterday over at A.M. Builders. I will be staying close to home the next two weeks. Manggahan starts next Monday, May 11, and runs through May 22. I’ll let you know when I make it back to Iloilo.

      1. I could use an excuse for a “roadtrip”. Maybe I could hop on a boat for Jordan sometime if it’s convenient and we could hang out for a few hours?

        1. The next two weeks would be a good time to visit Mango Land, Rease. Live bands every night at Manggahan and plenty of food and beer stands. I’ll be looking up my favorite french fry kiosk that comes in from Bacolod.

  3. hey dave,would you believe I got a hangover from yesterday? Anyway here is my story about line jumpers,all happened in the last month in Iloilo.#1 I was 6 in line at roinson and only had a loaf of bread to buy,a young girl 20ish cuts beside me and walks and stands behind the guy paying, I walk up to her and ask the guy if he knows the cutter and he says no, I ask woman behind cutter the same and get a no, so I loudly tell cutter who the hell do you think you are and escort her to back of line. #2 arrived at bdo bank 15 minutes early before opening to do major transaction from usa bank,i am sitting all alone on the front step of bank door which is 3 feet behind me,at 1 minute to opening a pinoy man walks up and now stands beside me slightly ahead of me 1 foot from door,when door is opened he made side rush and got in front of me so I stuck out my arm abd grabbed the door handle and stopped him in his tracks,he looked at me and I had fire in my eyes and was ready to duke it out right there and he backed down and apologized to me.#3 Was entering robinson mall from the outside and waiting in line just before the door opening and when the line started moving again this young man college age cuts in front of me so fast all I could do was to stick my foot out in front of his like a good soccer move and i tripped him so he fell into the guards podium, yeah I was pleased with that result.

    1. Must have been the Tanduay, Scott B. Yeah, I had some guy at BDO try that move on me about a month ago. Despite my old age, I was able to slide right in front of the dude the split second the guard opened the door. He never said anything.

      I can’t figure out what the big hurry is for the line jumpers. Most of the time, everyone is late for any meeting, Filipino Time rules. Except for my expat friends, I never count on any one being on time and have gotten used to it.

      But the line jumpers? Again, I can’t figure it out. As I said in the article, most Filipinos I meet are friendly, polite and respectful.

  4. Yeah you’re right Dave most Filipinos are friendly and polite but queueing no , it’s seems every time you go
    To the supermarket or bank the line jumpers are there waiting for the chance to get in front of you try
    Getting on a jeep in Manila or the Lrt train its every one for themselves just be firm and give them the stare
    It’s all part of living in the Philippines,Derek in pasig

  5. living on the outskirts of san Francisco in daly city I took the Bart subway to downtown san fran and even when trains were backed up and the waiting platform was over crowded we passengers never fought to get on. What happened was civil and though we were at times crammed in like sardines smelling each others arm pits and some breasts in the face men and womans everyone kept quite.

    1. Nose pickers? Where do you see the bulk of them, Scott B? Haven’t noticed that too much around here but I know you get out more than me. Guys that take a pee outside in broad daylight on the street? All the time, especially in Guimaras. But I’m used to that by now. In fact, wouldn’t be surprised if I take part in that custom during Manggahan, but only at night and not on a brightly lit street.

  6. Knowing your luck Dave you would probably be deported taking a piss in the street,nose pickers
    There’s loads round here lol Derek in pasig .

    1. Yeah, you’re probably right, Derek. I’ve only taken a piss a few times in public the past five+ years here but have been know to water the plants around our current secluded location occasionally. 😎

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