Ate – Cebuano and Tagalog word for sister, however this word is used as a term of endearment and you can call “ate” to any older/same aged female, regardless of whether they are your sister or not

Balik balik suki – cebuano phrase for someone who is a returning customer

Bantay Dagat – literally means “guardians of the sea” These are the people that are tasked with protecting their municipal waters from illegal fishing and from foreign fishing vessels (municipal waters = from the coast to 15km out). This can be either a volunteer job or a paid job

Baon – cebuano or tagalog word for packed lunch

Barangays – every municipality is made up of many barangays which are basically just subdivisions of the municipality with their own captains, representatives, fishermen’s organizations, etc.

My island is in Region 8. My municipality is in the province of Leyte. The province is made up of many municipalities (mine’s the one in red) and within each municipality there are a bunch of barangays

Batch – every wave of new peace corps volunteers that comes into a new country is all together considered a batch. The batches are numbered according to how many other groups have come before you. So for whole group that started this journey on July 1st, we are all batch 275

BER months – the months from September to December; called as such because the names of them all end in BER. During the BER months (aka starting in September) people start to prepare for christmas

Buntag – Cebuano word for morning

Coastal Resource Management (CRM)- we work with the local government units (LGU) to do anything from helping to establish marine protected areas to working in schools to teach environmental education to holding information campaigns regarding solid waste management, case in point, it’s a wide broad description and you adapt it according to your LGU’s needs and your skills

Counterpart – when you get assigned your permanent site, you also get assigned a counterpart. This is the person you are supposed to be working with for the next two years of service, however you can always also find other counterparts to work with and just because they are assigned to you doesn’t mean you work with them exclusively

Daghang – the visayan word for “many” or “ a lot”

Energizers – little games played in between presentations at meetings to give the crowd a boost of energy

Fiesta – in the Philippines, there are fiestas regularly in celebration of saints. Fiestas can be held at barangay, municipal or provincial level. For example, my barangay is Santa Cruz and we celebrate Fiesta on May 2nd (along with any other baranagy in the country named Santa Cruz). However, our municipal fiesta is on December 27th.

Gabi-i – Cebuano word for “night”

Hapon – Cebuano and Tagalog word for “afternoon”

Kalamasi – cebuano and tagalog word for “lime”

Kitakits – cebuano and tagalog expression for “sea you later”

Kubo – kupo’s are like little wooden gazebo-like structures, usually build from bamboo, and you can usually find them on the beach. They tend to have benches and this is where the kuyas and ates will go to take their mid day naps, especially when it gets really hot

Picture of a Kubo by the beach

Kuya – Cebuano and Tagalog word for brother, however this word is used as a term of endearment and you can call “kuya” to any older/same aged male, regardless of whether they are your brother or not

Leyte – the name of my island and province

Local Government Unit (LGU) – as the name implies this is part of the government. The LGU has many different offices within it, I specifically work for the fisheries office at the municipal level.

Maayo – the Cebuano word for “good”. When you write it in greetings such as “good morning” you add an -ng to link the word “good” to “morning” so it would be “maayong buntag”

Merienda – besides breakfast, lunch and dinner we get two additional meals. One merienda occurs between breakfast and lunch and the other between lunch and dinner. These tend to be “lighter” snacks than a regular meal

Municipality – look at barangay^

Nanay – Cebuano and Tagalog word for “mom”

Payao – the visayan word for fish aggregating device, which as the name suggests, aggregates fish in one spot and makes it easier for fishermen to catch fish.

Looks something like this but here they make them with palm fronds and buoys

Pinoy – is an informal demonym referring to the Filipino people in the Philippines and their culture as well as to overseas Filipinos in the Filipino diaspora (stole this from Wikipedia)

Red Horse – one of the two big beer brands in the Philippines

Salamat – the visayan and Tagalog word for “thank you”

Sector – each batch is broken up into sectors. What sectors there are vary by country. In the Philippines there are three: children, youth and family (CYF), Education (EDU) and Coastal Resource Management (CRM) (I am in CRM which you probably guessed)

Tacloban – the capital of our province and the city on our island that has the airport; also the best place to find good western food like pizza!

Here’s a map for reference. The red box is Tacloban, I live in Baybay City

Tagalog – the official language of the Philippines

Tatay – cebuano and tagalog word for “dad”

Trike/Tricycle – A tricycle, or trike for short, is one of the modes of public transportation used in basically every part of the country. It consists of a regular motorcycle with a fashioned side car with a roof. One of the cool things is that depending on what part of the country you’re in these side cars will be built differently to accommodate different amounts of people. Also cool is that the drivers get full artistic liberty in how they decorate them on the inside. In my municipality, they are color coded, the color they paint it depends on their regular route, but this isn’t the case in every city.

The white one with a green roof is a trike

Typhoon – basically the same thing as a hurricane except that it happens in the Pacific. Actually, cyclones, typhoons and hurricanes are all the same thing they just get called different names depending on where they occur in the world (hurricane=Atlantic/NE Pacific, typhoon=NW Pacific, cyclone=South Pacific/Indian Ocean)

Udto – cebuano word for “noon”

Videoke – picture karaoke and you’re almost there. Karaoke and videoke are basically the same thing, except that for videoke there are videos playing behind the lyrics on the screen. These videos never really have anything to do with the song and can be anything from girls in bikinis to images of philippino sites to bubbles gurgling in hot mud.

Two of my friends really getting into it! This was taken in September, around this time is when we start singing Christmas songs

Visayan/Cebuano – the local dialect in my town. The formal name for the dialect is “Cebuano” but this term can also be used to refer to people that are from the island of Cebu so a lot of people decide to call it Visayan instead. There’s 80+ dialects in the Philippines but Visayan is the most common. What’s more is that even in Visayan there are local variations from municipality to municipality, so volunteers in other municipalities that are on my same island speak different forms of this dialect, this makes communication a tricky issues. But this is also why people here are usually fluent in at least two languages, their local dialect and Tagalog, and a lot of people also know English

A pictoral representation of the main language/dialect of people in the country

Visayas State University – the university in my municipality. It is said to be one of the best universities in SE Asia for agriculture