Gems of History

Sayao and Dapitan

During our research on old names of places in the Philippines mentioned in ancient Chinese records, we encountered a pair of names – 沙瑶 (Sayao) and 呐嗶嘽 (Dapitan). 呐嗶嘽 is easy to locate because Dapitan is pronounced almost exactly like Na-pi-tan in Hokkien or Na Bi Dan in Mandarin. This Zamboanga del Norte city is …

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Pansit and pinsek

This saga all started from the name of a special mami and siopao restaurant along C. M. Recto Avenue near Avenida – Pinsec House. Pinsec sounds Chinese. But what does it mean? What is its Chinese origin? Is it related somehow to pansit, the popular Filipino dish? After consulting with a local-born Tsinoy who is …

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Afraid of mestizos

Who were afraid of the mestizos? Answer: The Spanish colonizers during the 19th century. We are not kidding. Referring again to Alfredo Roces’ Adios Patria Adorada: The Filipino as Ilustrado, the Ilustrado as Filipino, which I cited in the July 4-14, 2017 issue on “The great role of mestizos,” Sinibaldo de Mas in 1842 penned …

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