10 Filipino Words that are Actually Chinese

10 Filipino Words that are Actually Chinese

When in Manila, you’ll notice that there are quite a few Chinese people living here. The Filipinos and Chinese have long lived together in harmony. In fact, one of my university professors once said that it is possible for every Filipino person to have at least 1% of Chinese ancestry in their blood. This could be true; after all, the Chinese has been around even before the Spanish colonization; and Chinese and Filipinos have been trading goods, culture, food, and language even before 1521. I am happy that, the government has finally recognized the Chinese New Year as an official Philippine Holiday since 2012! It is with that in mind that I bring to you the…

10 Filipino words that are actually Chinese*:

*Chinese is Fukien (Fujian) Chinese, which is the province where majority of the Filipino-Chinese people are from.

1.  Bimpo: It is actually read as bin-po. Bin as in face, Po as in fabric.

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2.  Hikaw: Hee means ear and kaw means hook.

3.  Susi: It is supposed to be pronounced as So-see, which means lock-key.  


4.  Bihon: It literally translates to rice flour, because it is noodle made of Bi as in rice, Hoon as in flour. 

5.  Pansit: It is originally read as Pien-sit. Literally translates to Pien meaning convenient and Sit meaning food. I guess because noodles are so easy to cook, it has turned into what it means now.


6.  Misua: Read with a nasal sound on the Sua, you can do this by pressing your nose while saying it. Misua literally means “noodle thread”.

7.  Pechay: Pe-tsai is simply white vegetable.  


8.  Lumpia: Originally pronounced as Lun-pia; Lun to describe the texture of the material which is rubbery or makunat and Pia (press your nose too while saying it) is pie.  Now don’t ask me where Lumpiang Shanghai came from, you certainly can’t find it in Shanghai! lol

9.  Toyo: is originally tao-iyoo. Tao means beans or soy and iyoo literally meaning oil, but means sauce. Soy Sauce!

2 10.  Vetsin: This actually came from the Chinese term bi-tjieng, bi meaning flavor and tjieng means powdered form!

It is obvious that the relationship did not only stop at being business partners, though. It developed into love and intercultural marriages; but most importantly, sharing of culture and food. I hope you found this trivia interesting and I hope it makes you think the next time you use these words. As for now: that’s it, pansit! Kong Hei Fat Choi (Cantonese); Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin); Kiong Hee Huat Tzai (Fukien) to you! Happy Chinese New Year When in Manila! If you still don’t know where to celebrate tonight, then we highly recommend the yee sang dinner at Makati Shang Hotel: https://www.wheninmanila.com/shang-palace-celebrate-chinese-new-year-the-fun-way-at-makati-shang/ 🙂



10 Filipino Words that are Actually Chinese


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