Deconstructing Bisayan Dry Humor – ‘Itlog mu, noy – orange’

Hello, there my dear readers!

This post came out of my pre-sleep routine watching vlogs of foreigners who came adventuring the Philippines. To be honest, I find some of them annoying and amazing sometimes seeing how they enjoy/dislike navigating Filipino culture and documenting it on their vlogs (and exploiting the gullibility of C-D segments of Pinoy social media netizens to amass subscribers. Well, you may disagree on me on this one but that’s just how I see it, it is my opinion.)

Anyway, If I’m still into ethnography research right now, these vlogs are actually a wealthy source of qualitative information coming from the etic observers outside of Filipino culture. But since I'm so out of school already, it's a suggestion to those who are planning and or still are in the early stage of their research.

Anyway, this post isn’t about that but about a certain clip I saw on Kyle “Kulas” Jennermann of Becoming Filipino vlog, here’s the link; ... (Kulas, if you happen to read this, you're the exception of the above. I can feel your sincerity hence, this what prodded me to write this.)

At 12:07 in this video, Kyle a.k.a Kulas talked about Bisayan dry humor, ‘itlog mu, noy – orange’ to his friend Mike Corey. 

Here’s the thing, jokes and other anecdotes can only be amusing or comical if both parties engaging in such exchange understand the context of the narrative. 

The way I look at it, Kyle wasn’t able to explain or deliver precisely the point behind that humor to Mike, hence, Mike’s confused or impassive response to the anecdote. ‘Wa jud sya kasabot unsay gi-ingon ni Kulas and I completely understand him not understanding it given that this street humor runs deep in Pinoy culture.

So let me try to elucidate this vanishing dry humor of the Bisaya.

Back in the heyday when people were traveling by bus between cities to cities and towns to towns in the Visayas and Mindanao islands, the only bus available was non-airconditioned ones. When the bus stopped at the city or town terminals, viajeros would see or encounter vendors selling snacks by the bus window wrap in small pieces of cellophane – there are hard-boiled eggs, peanuts, bibingka, chicharon, soda, and or other snack stuff depending on the food specialty of the certain city or town where the bus stopped.

Itlog mu, noy – orange’ is a common yell phrase of vendors to catch the passenger’s attention riding the bus to sell off their goods. The term ‘Itlog mu, noy – orange’ is actually a short verbalization of ‘Itlog mu diha, Manoy o di ba kaha Orange.’

Itlog is a widely accepted term for egg in the Philippines. I said widely because the Philippines has hundreds of dialects spoken. The ‘mu diha’ is a Bisayan term that refers to a collective expression of inclusion. ‘Manoy’ on the other hand is an honorific term referring to older males in Filipino culture and its short term in this case is ‘noy’. The ‘orange’ refers to the Tru-Orange brand of soda in the 90’s. Vendors sell it by pouring the contents in cellophane and insert a plastic straw on it. 

Now, when vendors are in the rush hoping to get a sale in bus terminals they tend to shorten that phrase and came up with a yell … ‘Itlog mu, noy – orange’! Now imagine 10 to 15 people on your non-aircon window bus yelling that. Batang 90’s who love to travel then surely can relate to this.

Eventually, people thought it to be hilarious when vendors yell it like they intend it to address an older male’s balls which are the eggs (itlog) to be colored orange.

Sadly, this practice isn’t as rampant as they were before - now that bus companies have upgraded their units from non-aircon to mostly airconditioned busses with no stops in between travels. Some even have comfort rooms on it already so there's no need for a toilet break.

Today, this street culture is vanishing slowly and can only be heard at random talks of the locals from time to time. And the same goes for Kulas’ random morning exchange with his friend, Mike.

Change is inevitable and we just have to embrace it. Would appreciate it if you can share your story relating to this.

Thanks for dropping by! 

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