McDonald’s Advertising in Tagalish (Tagalog + English)

I picked up a Philippine Newspaper (U.S. published) and saw this full-page ad from McDonald’s.   The ad features a hamburger, then 4 lines of text containing Filipino (Tagalog) and English words….Tagalish?

It is safe to say that almost all Filipinos speak English.  It is taught in school and is part of the language spoken in government, the media, the arts, etc.

Having been a colony of the United States after the Spanish-American War, American English is permanently embedded in the culture and language.

What is interesting to me in this ad is combining the two languages…is this done in other markets?

I understand ads in a specific language to target the demographic, but a combination in English?

When you see an ad for McDonalds, say in Spanish, do they just use Spanish text, or a sort of Spanglish like in this ad?

Perhaps this is how the Filipino language is now morphing or  spoken in the U.S.— this sort of Tagalish, or how the next generation is speaking Tagalog.

Is the ad saying LOOK, WE SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE (well actually, it is saying, we speak some of it and sort of).   After all, they do spend loads of money researching this stuff prior to doing ad campaigns right?

Here is the rest of the ad.  Curious on how they decided which words to use in English (buns, pure beef patties, everlasting joy).  Let me know what you think…

(Click here for a new post on this topic)

No more blood donations for me…but how about you?

Did you know, only 38% of Americans are eligible to donate blood, and of those only 8% do (that amounts to only about 3 of 100 people) Source: American Red Cross

The first time I donated blood was at the US Air Force Technical School in Biloxi, Mississippi.  Students waiting for classes to start were assigned tasks (mostly menial) to keep them busy.  In my case, sweeping stairwells of barracks and painting handrails — –what fun!

USAF, 1980 (they must have better hats now)

So when there was an announcement that blood donors were needed, and those donating blood would get a day off, well…off I went to donate.

A day off to do whatever I wanted?  Yes Sir!  I’m there, I’m in, no second thoughts.

It was not at all a bad experience — and I became a regular blood donor.

After the Air Force, there were always easy ways to donate blood.  The places I worked had blood drives, or campaigns with mobile buses.  For a few years,  we lived near a blood bank facility — it is super easy to give blood when you drive by the place to go home!

Blood Donaiton Bus

Blood donation bus image via Wikipedia Commons

Since moving to the central coast however, I have not been a regular donor.  So when I saw a blood donation bus parked by our local Costco, I took the opportunity to get with the program, and climbed the bus steps to donate again.

I was new to this program and filled out what seemed like pages upon pages (more than I remembered from before) of forms.  One of the questions was about military service, where, and time period.

During the interview, the nurse asked more specific information, and because I was in Germany during the mid 1980’s, she informed me that I can no longer donate blood, as in EVER AGAIN. What!  Really???

Turns out the current guidelines from the Red Cross on blood donations prohibit donations from those who lived in the United Kingdom or France for more than 3 months between 1980 and 1996.

But wait, I did not live in the UK or France….and she replied no, but the issue is BEEF, and commissaries at bases in Germany sold beef that came from the UK.

Beef at commissaries?

According to the US  Department of Health and Human Services CDC (Center for Disease Control and prevention), “there is now strong scientific evidence that the agent responsible for the outbreak of prion disease in cows, BSE (Mad Cow Disease), is the same agent responsible for the outbreak of a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) in humans”.  It states further that the risk is low (oh good!) after eating contaminated products, but there is a risk nonetheless.

So, because of the possibility that beef from the UK — if we had purchased and eaten any while in Germany —-could have been contaminated, I am no longer eligible to donate blood.  And no, I don’t remember exactly what we ate during those years…but I do remember we did eat beef.

Beyond the fact that I cannot give blood, that information was disturbing.

Sadly, I’m off the blood donation bus — forever 🙁 …but if YOU are in good health and can donate, please make a difference and do so.

Added on January 8, 2015: story on the NPR Radio Program “All Things Considered” on Why The U.S. Still Bans Blood Donations From Some U.K. Travelers – click here to listen to the program.

Rules governing who can donate blood in the United States have recently changed. But anyone who spent more than three months in the UK between 1980 and 1996 is still prohibited from donating. That rule is in place to minimize the risk of spreading Mad Cow Disease. Robert Siegel speaks with Dr. Lorna Williamson about how the risk is mitigated in the UK.

Blood Donaiton PictogramYou can contact your local Red Cross office to find out about a blood drive campaign near you, or make an appointment to give at — or call your local hospital.  Guidelines for donors are listed on the red cross website.

And according to the Red Cross, THERE IS ALWAYS A NEED.  Adults have 10 pints of blood, and a donation of 1 pint can save 3 lives.

Related post: My Germany & Philippine connection (about the Wittlich Annual Saeubrenner Festival) and hot iron for your undies (a snippet about life in Germany & Oma Adelaide, who took care of my then baby daughter, Dominique)

Sitting In My Box

~~This is a book we added to our Favorites ~~

Recently,  my grandsons played for hours with two giant boxes that came from a delivery.  Lucky, they were the same exact size!  They put pillows and blankets inside, and in the living room watched an entire movie while inside their boxes.

I have heard parents talk about holidays where new gifts or pricey toys were ignored in favor of playing with the huge box that the gift came in — so it is easy to see why the boys enjoyed this book.

Sitting in my Box is by Dee Lillegard, with pictures by Jon Agee (Originally published in 1989 and recently republished by Marshall Cavendish Classics).

The text is fun to read to children, and great for beginning readers.

The story begins with a little boy reading a book inside a box.  Each page follows with animals wanting to be let in the box, starting with a giraffe, then an elephant, baboon….etc. until there is no room to sit.

That is until a flea knocks and bites the animals, causing them all to leave, and ends with the little boy by himself again with his book.

City Dog, Country Frog

I think by now I have read hundreds of books to my grandchildren.  This book is one of my all-time favorites for its pictures. 

The beautiful water colors capture touching expressions from the dog and the frog.

The story ventures into territory not often explored in children’s books — the life cycle, and yes…even the loss of a friend.

The book is about a city dog who goes to the country and finds a frog for a friend.

The story spans all seasons, from Spring to Winter, then Spring again.

It is a story that was understood by the little guys, and still had a happy ending.

The picture of frog holding a leaf over dog during a Summer rain was so precious, as well as in the Fall, of frog telling city dog about  “remember-ing games”

This book does have a sad part, but its message of fun and friendship overall is heartwarming. Families with pets are confronted with the cycle of life at some point, especially when a family pet dies.  This book presents a valuable lesson in that sometimes friendships may end, but you will also find new beginnings —- and new friends.

Some of the page pictures were so beautiful I wanted to frame them!

Words by Mo Willems and pictures by Jon J Muth.  (Hyperion Books for Children-2010)

A Dog Named Tagpi…and how we name our pets

I knew a couple, an American man and a Filipina who adopted an adorable little dog.  He said, “you name him —- but please, name him anything but Spot.”  And so she named him Tagpi.

Great!  Except Tagpi is pretty close to translating the English dog name Spot to Filipino / Tagalog, though its literal translation is more of a word for Patch (as in to patch / cover breaks or tears).

His pronunciation for the name was a funny sounding Tag-Pee.  It is pronounced more like Tug-pee.

It is interesting what people name their pets.  The names of our last 3 dogs are also names of people—is this pet naming practice of people names more common now than say, 25 years ago?

Our dog now is a sweetheart Australian Shepherd (though also on the crazy side like most Aussies) — and his name is Tucker.

Baby Juns with Tucker

Our other dogs (now passed though still remembered often) were Sara, a lovable “little” 100 lb Newfoundland,  and Jake,  a gentle and handsome black lab-mix adopted from the animal shelter.

Gentle Jake and Little Sara

And remembering even further back with the dogs we had during our childhood in the Philippines, we had Angel (a ferociously loyal German Sheppard mix) and her all white puppy, who we named Devil.  We also had dogs named Peso and Dollar.

Grandson Jun’s teacher talked about antonyms / opposites during my classroom volunteer time yesterday.  Did we think we had to follow an antonym rule upon naming our pets back then?  Maybe that is what got me thinking of this topic…

How about your family’s pet names?  People names or other?

Ricky Cabalza, Photographer

My friend Ricky Cabalza is a photographer in the Monterey Bay Area.  He specializes in artful wedding, portrait, and fashion photography.  Click on the photo below or this link to his website.

~Lola Jane

Artful Photography

Do Froggies Say Ko-Kak or Ribbit-Ribbit?

When my daughter was about 4, she asked me what sounds frogs made, and having grown up in the Philippines, I replied “Ko-Kak, Ko-Kak”.  She then went to her Dad asking the same question, and of course, being an American, he said “Ribbit-Ribbit”.

Frog on Lily Pad

Photo by Rosemary Ratcliff,

What to do when you are a four-year old multi-cultural little girl?  Why, combine the two sounds of course, and she happily hopped around the house saying “Ko-Kak, Ribbit, Ko-Kak, Ribbit, Ko-Kak, Ribbit”.

We always remembered this story, because together her combined froggy sounded, well… so cute.

We have read some fun books on animal sounds that my grandchildren enjoy.

The first is called Mung-Mung, A fold-out book of Animal Sounds.

It is by Linda Sue Park with illustrations by Diane Bigda. (Charlesbridge, 2004).


The second is Everywhere the Cow says Moo!, by Ellen Slusky Weinstein and illustrated by Kenneth Andersson.

(Boyds Mills Press, 2008)


Mung Mung has many animal sounds from English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Italian, Russian, Polish, Hindi, German and Swedish, Arabic and French.

Everywhere the Cow says Moo! is focused only on English, Spanish, French and Japanese.

Both books are about the same number of pages and have great pictures and fun placement of text, which my grandchildren had fun with (works well with their ages 4 and 6).

Let me know if you would like to add other similar books to this post so we can learn more animal sounds from different cultures.

Lola Jane


Taste Like Chicken!

One of the more common sayings we hear about describing food flavor is “This taste like chicken”.  And now I know this starts from an early age.

Four year old Gabriel was eating some shrimp that was in his soup yesterday, and after  biting into it said, “taste like chicken Lola!”  What? How about it taste like shrimp? (We do eat  lot of chicken…)

Taste Like Chicken









Picture from by Carlos Portowe

Philippine Romblon (Pandanus) Plant

The pandan plant is quite interesting and has many uses.  In certain parts of the Visayas region of the Philippines, it is called Romblon …which is also the name of an island / province.

Romblon - Close up of leaves

Pandan is a salt tolerant plant and grows by the seashore in Western Pacific Islands.  There are many varieties that grow in Malaysia, Indonesia and Hawaii.

In the Philippines, there are over 50 varieties, with some types producing leaves softer and more pliable, depending on where it grows.

Pandan leaves are super fragrant and used as a  flavor ingredient and as green food coloring in Filipino Cuisine.

In addition to the Filipino cooks, the Thais, Vietnamese, and Malaysians use pandan leaves in their cuisines.  Though most uses are for desserts such as custards, puddings and gelatin, there are other recipes I would like to try including pandan-wrapped fried chicken (from Thailand-wow!).

Pandan is also an ingredient for teas and other herbal concoctions.

Many cultures weave pandan leaves into useful items like

Weaving Romblon Leaves

  • sleeping mats
  • small bags
  • backpacks and market totes
  • boxes and other containers
  • place mats
  • trays





Below are some pandan /romblon product examples,  produced by Native Leaf.

Romblon Leaf "Bayongs" (Market Tote Bags)











Romblon Mini Bag (and placemats in background)













What a multi-purpose plant indeed!

Here is a picture I took of two friends collecting romblon leaves for their own projects.

Picking Romblon (Pandanus) Leaves

There are small islands in the Philippines whose economy is tied to picking, drying and selling romblon leaves.  More on this topic next time…

In the meantime, let me know if you know of other uses for this interesting plant.

Lola Jane