August is, of course, the month of the Philippine National Language, in recognition of President Manuel Luis Quezon's efforts in consolidating a Filipino lingua franca based on Tagalog. Tomorrow, August 19, is the birthday of Quezon (and my Mom's, hence her name Maria Luisa) and the zenith of the celebrations of the National Language Month.
As I was flipping through my files, I came across two very interesting pictures of signs I've seen abroad. While among non-Filipino speakers the signs may mean nothing more than what they're intended to mean, a true-blue Flip might get the shock of his life when he sees them.
In Bruges, Belgium, in a bar near the main square, a sign reads "Chimay," a popular Trappist beer among Belgians. For Flips, however, the word means "househelp" in its snootiest and most colloquial form.
Elsewhere, in Pamplona, Spain, a restaurant advertises a special dish called "Katamaran," a salad made of lettuce, endives, corn, pineapple and anchovy. In Filipino, the word means "laziness" but preparing the salad seems anything but being lazy.