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Knotty Filipinos

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Knotty?  Bob, don’t you mean naughty?

No, indeed I mean knotty.  Filipinos are knotty, and it bothers me! 🙂

How to Move to the Philippines Manual

What am I talking about?  Filipinos like to tie knots in everything.  You go to the grocery store and buy some groceries, when you get home every single bag is tied into a knot on the top!  Filipinos love to tie knots.  I hate them.  The knots, not the Filipinos.

I’ve been dealing with Filipinos and their knots for more than 20 years now, and it’s getting old.  Ever since I’ve known her, Feyma has been tying things into knots.  It angers me.  I almost lose control and go crazy.  So far, I’ve been able to hold the anger in, but it is close to bursting!

Why does it make me so angry?  I’ll admit, I am jealous.  You see, when we come home with groceries and the bags are tied into knots, I will try and try and I can’t get the knot untied!  Finally I give up, and I watch as Feyma comes over and does something, and within less than a split second the bag is opened!  It’s not torn open or cut open, no.  The knot is untied.  It all happens so fast, a quick flick of her fingers on the bag and it is opened.

Oh, you are thinking that I should ask her to show me how to untie those secret Filipino knots, right?  Well, believe me, I have asked her many times over the years.  I’m not complaining about Feyma (although I do sometimes!), she shows me how to do it.  But, even if she demonstrates very slowly and clearly, I still can’t figure out how to untie those knots!  No, if Feyma is not around, I admit, I just pull it apart with brute force!  If I can’t tear it apart, I’ll use scissors.  I can never untie it though!

I got thinking about this today, because Feyma bought some Ube Mamon at Red Ribbon, and I wanted to have one for a snack.  Of course, when I picked up the bag, it had a ribbon (a Red one, can you imagine, Red Ribbon Bake Shop is so tricky!) that tied the bag closed with one of those tricky Filipino knots.  I was so mad that I lost my appetite.  Well, when Feyma saw me struggling with it, though, she came and instantly untied the ribbon and gave me a Mamon, though.  My appetite came back after that!  😉

Yeah, over the years these Filipino knots have bothered me and worn on me.  Knotty Filipinos!

Now that I think of it, I can only think of one other habit that Filipinos have that makes me angrier.  Want to know what it is?  Just give a Filipino a roll of scotch tape, step back and watch what happens.  They love using tape, and are very liberal in their use of tape!  In fact, during Christmas I loaned Feyma my tape dispenser from my desk, something that I rarely will do.  Know what?  Next time I sat down at my desk and needed a piece of scotch tape, I looked up and the roll was empty.  Sus!  Grabe. Where is my scotch tape?  Oh, yeah… I loaned it to Feyma.  Between scotch tape and knots, it could destroy our marriage!

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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Dan
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Dan

Ah heck Bob….just use the scissors or get one of those baby box cutters and carry around in your pocket and cut knot out fast if you can not untie….and I quess you are going to have to break down and buy Feyma Her very own tape dispenser ! Save on the stress level there..LOL

MindanaoBob
Guest

Give Feyma her own tape dispenser? You think she doesn’t have one? Ha ha… she has a tape dispenser that holds a roll of tape 3 times the size of mine! But, she still likes to use my tape! Ha ha…. 😉

Randy W.
Guest
Randy W.

Bob

At least you don’t have to ever worry about anything falling out of the bags hahaha. You know its just one of the quirks that makes the Philippines a different and wonderful place to live and you wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Interesting article!

MindanaoBob
Guest

Indeed, Randy, a wonderful place to live!

Richard D
Guest
Richard D

I don’t really have any problem with the knots. I either untie them or rip them open. Usually they have a bow that when pulled on opens the knot. Scotch tape I don’t use here and when I do, I borrow my asawa’s. She seems to have the smallest rolls in existance. Filipinos have small hands so my big Kano hands give me problems with a lot of things here. Solution – let them do it, but that is tough on my Kano ego. I am used to being the handy man. Have patience, don’t let the small things get… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Nah, it doesn’t affect my blood pressure… maybe you didn’t pick up on it, but this article was more of a joke…. just based on reality, though! 😆

Boss
Guest
Boss

Hahaha knots! one of those little quirky things that makes life interesting in the Philippines. One thing is for sure, the shop assistants make sure nothing ever falls out or they make sure nothing ever gets back in again. Lol.
The Gordian knot should be renamed the Pinay Knot. That’s where a pair of Swiss Army knifed come in handy.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Truth is, Boss, I have a little tiny pair of very sharp scissors that I keep right next to my easy chair to take care of those knots! I think I do need that Swiss Army Knife to keep in my pocket!

AussieLee
Guest
AussieLee

Morning Bob!
Stop chewing your fingernails, mate! Or are your fingers just too big & clumsy? I noticed the penchant over there for tying and taping. What annoyed me the most was how slow they were in doing all this unneccessary packing when you just wnated to get out of the place. It is as if they were packaging for a move overseas or something rather than just a taxi ride home. Have a good day, Bob.

MindanaoBob
Guest

I am not sure what it is, Lee, but I can never open those knots! Feyma, though… just a quick pull and it’s open! Yeah, I hate standing there at the checkout while they tie all of those little knots! Wait, wait, wait… it annoys me! 😉

Cathy
Guest

HI Bob! That was hilarious. I didn’t realize Filipinos were that knotty! Grocery store baggers have two kinds of knots: one that can be untied by just pulling one end, some sort of incomplete ribbon. The other one is a complete knot where you have to pry them loose and sometimes it’s too tight I just get the scissors too.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Cathy – Maayong buntag! Yes, Filipinos are very knotty! See there.. you say there is one knot that “can be untied by just pulling one end” – but I can never untie it! I think you have to be a Filipino to know the secret! 😆 The scissors do come in handy!

Paul Thompson
Member

Bob;
That natural ability to tie knots must be the reason Filipinos make good seaman!
And being a retired seaman, I have no trouble with the knots they tie in those plastic bags. Try this, carry the bags in from the car, go back to the car and gather some more, stall around until your wife has them all untied. Puff up your chest and loudly declare; “Whew. that was hard!”
After that is when I grab a beer and assume that “I’ve earned it look on my face.”
I’m retired I don’t do knots anymore.

MindanaoBob
Guest

There is an easy way out, Paul? Not you tell me! After 20+ years of having a hard time on those knots, and I could have been kicking back with a beer the whole time! Wow! 😉

Paul Thompson
Member

Bob; On the subject of beer, for years I’ve watched friends and neighbors here, open beer bottles with another beer bottle. I was perplexed as to how to do it, and wondered; “How do they open the 24th beer?” Then I saw them use their teeth. Not to be outdone I was going to show how as a kid we’d open beer bottles using the chrome bumper of car, all I found was plastic bumpers now. But I carry a “church key” on my key chain now, after being embarrassed when my 10 year old niece had to open a… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Paul – That opening one bottle with a second one is a real art, my friend! I’ve never been around to see the last one opened, because there was always another case on standby!

Gary Wigle
Guest
Gary Wigle

Wow Bob you really hit the nail on the head. I too was never taught how to tie a GOOD knot. I have yet to see someone here that couldn’t. Meriam can untie them and I have to rip or cut them apart. Life is good here in the PH.

Gary

MindanaoBob
Guest

Ha ha… like you, Gary, I can’t tie a good knot either. I was a Boy Scout, and I remember learning about knots, but that information has long since evaporated from my limited brain matter. Like you say, though, I think that everybody here can tie one!

Tom N
Guest

I was a Boy Scout and I was in the Navy. Sadly, don’t ask me to tie anything more than my shoes! I wasn’t good at it then and I have not improved with age.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Tom – I think that only two things improve with age… wine and cheese! Ha ha

JIm Hannah
Guest
JIm Hannah

And only good wine and cheese at that!

Paul Thompson
Member

Bob;
You forgot to mention, us!

MindanaoBob
Guest

True enough, my friend… I was thinking of saving that for a follow up article! 😉

Ray
Guest

I am Knot sure what to make of this story? 😀

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Ray – You are a naughty man! Just thinking about this topic had me tied up in knots!

Jeff Wiegand
Guest

Keen observation as always. Now it is stuck with me. I must have been ignoring it. 🙂

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Jeff – Ha ha…. you were probably repressing it out of embarrassment! Not being able to untie one of those knots can feel demeaning! 😉 Just kidding…

Bill R.
Guest

Bob – Now I understand the whole knot thing, so it just isn’t my better half!

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Bill – Nah, it’s a secret Filipino thing… I think they learn it in school! 😉

AJ Martin
Member

Actually dad, we don’t learn those knots, either that or I wasn’t listening.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Since you are half American, son, I think the Filipinos are keeping it secret from you! 😉

sugar
Guest
sugar

Ha ha, Bob, I think Boys Scout are thought how to tie a knot.. a perfect knot. A good knot.. not grocery type knot. 🙂

MindanaoBob
Guest

Yeah, they teach lots of knots… but I’m too old, I already forgot that!

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