Another classic, comic Capampangan story as told by a dear friend at a dinner party last night…

The 80 year-old Capampangan Grandmother was in an upstairs bathroom and — characteristically enough of old people — she slipped.  She cried out:  “Eh-helf!!!  Eh-helf!!!  Eh-helf!!!”  [ FYI, in Capampangan pronunciation, there is an “h” where there is none, and no “h” where there is, “p” is pronounced as “f” and vice-versa, “v” is pronounced as “b” and vice-versa, and so forth and so on…  😛 ] 

Meanwhile, The 55 year-old Capampangan Son, already hard of hearing, was seated at the adjacent upstairs hall, totally absorbed watching the NBA games.

Hours later at nearly midnight, The Son felt the urge to pee so he went inside the adjacent bathroom and found his mother sprawled face down on the floor, seemingly unconscious.  He cried out:  “Mama!!!  Mama!!!  What happened to you???!!!”  as he cradled his mother’s head.  She opened her eyes, grabbed the toilet brush, and repeatedly poked it on her son’s head.  “I’ve been here for hours crying out for help and nobody came to help me so I just went to sleep!!!”  she complained.       

“Well, what were you crying out???”  The Son asked.

I was shouting:  “Eh-helf!!!  Eh-helf!!!  Eh-helf!!!”  The Grandmother replied irascibly.

“Well, why did you have to scream in English???  Why didn’t you just change to the Tagalog / Capampangan ‘Saklolo!!!’ if nobody was responding???  At least it sounds more urgent!!!”  reasoned The Son incredulously.

The Grandmother threw the electric fan at her Son.

Hahahah!!!  Just plain ol’ nostalgia…   😛

The Story becomes more vivid when one is told that it happened in the early 1980s but in a late 1940s mansion by Architect Juan Nakpil in the Santa Mesa Heights development of the Gregorio Araneta family.  The elegant residence was set in a pretty garden of 5,000 m2; the house was decorated by Rosario “Charing” Luz;  the furniture was by Gonzalo Puyat and Sisenando Baluyut; the brass-and-glass chandeliers were from Spain; the household items were from “Aguinaldo’s,” “Oceanic,” “Rustan’s,” “ShoeMart,” and “Sin Kian Heng” along Echague in Quiapo;  and the residents, the household staff, the food, and the “a-t-t-i-t-u-d-e” were totally Capampangan.  There was always a pile of food for Everyone — local and imported fruits in season, cakes, biscuits, cookies, candies, chocolates, Chinese goodies like “hopia,” “ampao,” “pilipit,” “champoy” / “kiamoy,” “Haw” flakes, etc. — on the dining table, the sideboard, the breakfast table, and the kitchen table; the refrigerators and freezers were bursting with food.  And because it was already the early 1980s, The Grandmother was a fan of the soap operas “Dallas,” “Dynasty,” and “Falcon Crest” and was an avid reader of “People” and “National Enquirer” magazines; she always felt as glamorous as “Alexis Carrington-Colby-Dexter” [ played by Joan Collins ] in “Dynasty” and she also insisted that her late “muy guapo” husband looked exactly like “Blake Carrington” [ played by John Forsythe ] when, in fact, he looked like “Pugo” the comedian.  And The Son, although married and with children, was an avid reader of “Playboy,” “Penthouse,” “Hustler,” and “Car & Driver” magazines as well as a drooling fan of “Seka” Triple-XXX pornographic movies for which he bought himself a Sony “Betamax” [ then only for the rich at a princely Php 5,000.00/xx  😛 ].  And The Family’s “Biggest Thing” [ a lingering carryover from the “Martial Law” import-restricted days ] was to go to Angeles and Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga to buy their “PX” goods!!!

Those funny and not-at-all funny days before Ninoy Aquino’s assassination on 21 August 1983 changed Everything…     




  1. zugzwang said,

    July 9, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    According to my brod Chibu Lagman who lived in Mexico (Chiapas for the longest time) it is no accident that there is a “Mexico” in Pampanga. His research strongly suggests that the Kapampangan – Mexican relationship runs deep.

    Without going into the details he said that Tagalog and Kapampangan are replete with Aztec / Nahuatl loan words. The more obvious ones are those of fruits and vegetables: chayotl (sayote), jicama (singkamas), achiote (achuete), etc. “Tatay” and “nanay”

    But closer to Pampanga, the humble (in Juarez and Ixtapa) tamale exists in its Pinoy form in Pampanga.

    Go look them up in Wiki, Palengke is “Palenque” a Mexican place name. Why it stands for “market” I don’t know.

    There are deep ties between Pampanga and Acapulco. Who knows, maybe even the royal blood of house Moctezuma runs in its sons and daughters.

    Fine rag, this. Cheers!!!


  2. juanito said,

    June 29, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Thanks Toto. I sorta figured Indonesian. Consider Metung/tutuki/et all.
    Cuisine? You mean like tocino/burong isda/sisig? I will research Sumatra.

  3. June 15, 2008 at 4:01 pm


    The Kapampangan natives are, according to one theory, descended from migrants from Sumatra, Indonesia who found their way to the area traversed by the “Rio Grande de Pampanga” Pampanga River in Luzon.

    There are too many similarities between the Kapampangan and Sumatran cultures — language and cuisine foremost among them — that lend credence to the longstanding theory.

    Toto Gonzalez

  4. juanito said,

    June 15, 2008 at 8:25 am

    The dialect is unlike any other in the Philippines. Would you know its origin or derivation.?

  5. June 9, 2008 at 8:41 am


    You would think that the present generation has already lost that “Keni” accent!!!

    Although for proponents of the Kapampangan language and speech, that kind of regionalism is very desirable for the cultural identity of the Kapampangan.


    Toto Gonzalez

  6. June 9, 2008 at 8:39 am

    fabulous lawyer:

    Oh yes, “P” for “Pampanga”… ;P

    Toto Gonzalez

  7. zippo said,

    June 8, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    I was in Clark for the weekend and played a couple of rounds of golf at Mimosa. The Capampangan (lady) caddies were charming and had terms like “Sir, 150 yards ‘hap-ill’ (up-hill)” and “Sir, slow putt ‘lep-hinsayd’ (left-inside)” and “uff-hey-aws (half-way house).”

    Z 🙂

  8. fabulous lawyer said,

    June 8, 2008 at 4:48 am

    I guess the family name starts with P.

  9. fabulous lawyer said,

    June 7, 2008 at 5:19 am

    I am a Capampangan but I don’t know which family.More clues pleaz.

  10. June 6, 2008 at 3:40 pm



    You must be a Capampangan to guess that… !!! 😛

    Toto Gonzalez

  11. June 6, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    fabulous lawyer:


    Guess who???

    Toto Gonzalez

  12. zippo said,

    June 6, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Let me guess……..HELP?

    Z 🙂

  13. fabulous lawyer said,

    June 6, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    a judge was chastised by the Supreme Court because according to him, he consults the elves in rendering his decisions. Why? Decisions must be supported by facts and law.

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