Rebecca, see that jeepney is going to Baclaran. That means “place of baklas”, doesn’t it?

The taxi driver snickers…

“It does not, and you know very well that it does not!!!”

“OK… Well, why did they call it Baklaran, then?”

“Baclaran means “Place where things are made”, and I’ve told you that before… You are just trying to tease me!”

“I’m not teasing… just… being… curious… That’s all.”

“No, you are picking on me!”

“You aren’t bakla…”


followed by…

<<more silence>>

Usher in tampo…

Tampo Time
Tampo Time

Stirring the pot once in a while keeps life interesting. Sometimes, I think I’m in perpetual tampo. I was once told by an  old boss, “Gee, it must be magic being married to you… After I told him about making the toilet seat explode when one of my exes sat on it.”

What women don’t seem to understand is that us guys don’t mind tampo once in a while… I hide upstairs in my office, do some work, play video games, and download crappy old American TV shows for a couple of nights. It can be fun. Tampo is a break… No responsibility. No female stuff. My son will join me upstairs and he and I have a guy’s night. I can drink beer without anyone counting (He gets juice).

Well, I’m moping. Tampo is long over, but I’ve been exiled to my office every night at 9:00 PM for the last week. See, Rebecca’s brother and his girlfriend have been staying here with us for a couple of months. They really are what I would call “perfect” houseguests… No bother at all, even the tiniest little bit.

So, as being the only kano in the house, it was quietly brought up that, “You know, when you travel, we get to watch all our telenovelas!” Followed by a ^wink…

Oh… Well, I’ll watch them with you!

Well, that option was not taken very favorably.


It seems, under what pretenses I’ll never know or even be able to hazard a guess, that I have been accused of having a habit of being a real smartass on occasion.

So, what caused my exile?

The last telenovela that I watched, it seems that I was wrongly accused of playing with the volume control on the TV. So, seeing a glowing blue girl on the screen and actors with no voices, I made up my own dialogue, a la Mystery Science Theatre 3,000, or Rocky Horror.

Unfortunately, the others in the house did not find the humor in it. It backs up my assertion that all Filipino dramas are essentially the same… Just different actors and the script shifted around a bit. A bit of crying, someone dies, more crying, someone goes to jail, more crying, love triangle, more crying, some blue or green or red complexion girl gets lost, followed by a healthy dose of more tears (Wait, people actually get paid to write this stuff?) Here’s my dialogue, until I was so rudely interrupted:

“Oh, Juan, I would go anywhere with you, but Rosalie put a curse on me that grew a giant hemmorrhoid!”

“Never mind, Maria, I will love you forever!” “Too bad I was born without testicles, or we could marry…”

“Oh!!! Oh!!! Swoon! Swoon!!!”

“I don’t care about you testiclelessness… I still love you!”

<<cue sappy music>>

“I visited the doctor today… My ass has……………..CANCER!!!!”

“No, Maria!”

“Yes, Juan!!!! I’m a goner!”

“Well, let’s just do it in the pool one more time!”

“Oh, Juan!”

“Oh, Maria!”

Rosalie enters, interrupts them, and turns into an aswang.

“You Biatch!!!!” “Wait! I’m changing!!!!” “AAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!”


Maria pushes her into the pool…and she expires.

“Take that you biatch!”

The police arrive and arrest Maria since they don’t believe that Rosalie was an aswang.

The End!

Simple. Just shift the words around and change the names. Anyway, since they got interested in following the current drama when I went away, and my color commentary is not really appreciated, I’m in exile. I’m outnumbered. It’s like tampo, but with no tampo.

Hogan’s Heroes reruns, I guess…

Truth is, it’s a little frightening. Not certain what to expect now. Has the moon turned red? Is the sky falling?

Only time will tell.

In any event, for the guys reading this, try it out with your asawa… MST3K was a great show, and even “Attack of the 50 ft. Woman” (I used to really like when they dis the Gamera movies… Nothing like Tokyo getting squished by a giant turtle) was better than most telenovelas. Fun and educational, besides. Worst that can happen is one or two day tampo!

Post Author: JohnM (207 Posts)

John Miele is a Citizen of the World, having spent time in many locations around the globe. Currently, he finds himself in Manila, but travels throughout the Philippines. John joined the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine in mid-2008.

49 Ways to Make a Living without a Job


  1. says

    Hi John – I think its time you went off on one of your customer visits. Watching soaps and stirring the pot appears to be the first signs of insanity. Very soon you may be talking to yourself with all this tampo going on, hahaha!!!

  2. Paul Thompson says

    My 12 year old Niece Shay-shay sits in my living room every night and watches her show about Mermaids at 5pm. I walk by and ask her if SM Malls are built under the ocean also? Why Tito do you think that, because I’m wondering where the Mermaid buys all her Tops and Bra’s. She’s at that magical TWEEN age where she is developing “The Look” that will cause Tampo in the coming years. I leave the room quickly.

    • Mike says


      From Wikipedia – Tampo, in Philippine culture, refers to a range of behavior in which a person withdraws his or her affection or cheerfulness from a person who has hurt his or her feelings.[1]
      The term has no precise equivalent in English, though “sulking” or “to sulk” is often considered the closest translation.[2]

      Fortunately, my wife has not shown tampo in the seven years we have been married.

      • RandyL says

        My asawa had it correct but had a hard time explaining it to me but insisted that in over 28 years together, there has been tampo and says ‘Trust me!” Thank goodness it was only of the tempo variety. 😀 I could not locate any reference to it in my two different Tagalog dictionaries (then again, my most recent version is a Websters – 1979 edition). I guess online sources could be a little more trendy accurate….or I could just ask the asawa! 😯

        • Ricardo Sumilang says

          In a relationship between man and woman, it is usually the woman who applies the tampo to her man as a non-verbal expression of her displeasure. There are different levels of tampo, depending on the severity of the offense, or perceived offense, committed by the husband or boyfriend toward his loved one. If the man’s offense is minor, the corresponding tampo is applied moderately by the woman, hence fleeting. This type of tampo can actually be cute and sweet. Shower her with hugs and kisses, and a moment’s time, all will be fine again. On the other extreme, though, tampo can be irreversible and devastating to a man. In the song below, “Inday ng buhay ko” (Inday of my life), the man – an unlucky victim of a severe tampo – laments the disappearance of Inday from his life for what must have been an unforgivable offense committed by the man. Ayos!

    • John Miele says

      Brian: well, I guess that’s why Ice cream comes in flavored besides vanilla, eh? I’ll watch in limited doses, but after an hour or so…

      • ScottF says

        John, I was litterally LOL while reading your article!! I did the same thing once at work. The tv had no volume, so there was only words on the screen. But, instead of sitting there reading the words, I decided to enter in my own dialect to “Lord of the RIngs”. It just happened that it was my friends FAVORITE movie of all time!! So, he was more than a little displeased by my changing of the movie. This went on for about an hour, and I finally stopped when, without know it and without being Filipino, I began to receive tampo!! LOL!! Thanks for the read!!

  3. Mark G. says

    Been there, done that. Agua-somebody or other (Blue water based little girl) on TV. Got ‘the Look’ and so it began…Actually suffered through a bit of it this weekend when my paycheck didn’t arrive soon enough before the local fiesta. Um, yeah, I’m in complete control of that…All is well now I think, but it seems I’m always the last to know.

  4. Toti says

    Hi Mr. John M. Keep on writing. We envy you guys living in the Philippines. My partner is originally from UP Village, QC, still has her family there, hopefully we can meet with you guys for coffee or lunch next time we go home.

  5. Franz Dela Cruz says

    Tampo is exclusively for women they say 😀 but the truth is men are the same so it’s a matter of giving understanding… although men usually gets the pressure 😀 Sorry guys 😀 Lol. Philippine drama is full of drama ahaha… try philippine comedy then 😀

    By the way watch this video from Bogart the Explorer it’s funny.

  6. sugar says

    Hi John – Ha ha .. between soap here and the Kardashians, drama crap here will have more viewers.. both are eww! As for tampo.. it’s one trait of Filipinos.. very sensitive but I think you’re used to it now.

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