This is a very obscure word that is rarely heard in contemporary Filipino conversations. Standard dictionaries give several meanings for it.

Continue reading “BAYUGO”


A bilao is a flat round-shaped rice winnower, a traditional implement in the Philippines. It is usually made from woven wood.

To winnow is to free grain from the lighter particles of chaff, dirt, small stones, etc., especially by throwing it into the air and perhaps allowing the wind to blow away impurities.

Up until a few decades ago, you would see a bilao hanging in the back of the house by the kitchen. And you’d see women using a bilao to adroitly “turn” (toss) white rice grains on it for the purpose of removing unwanted particles, like small stones.

Suman on Bilao
Suman on Bilao

These days, you’re more likely to see the bilao used as a food container. So now, you’re most likely to see it lined with banana leaves on top of which a lot of food is arranged.

Click here to learn a few related Tagalog words.


Also stylistically spelled as salacot.

Filipino boy wearing native Filipino hat salacot

The boy in the picture is wearing the traditional Filipino wide-brimmed hat salakot, which is usually made of rattan or reeds.

There are a few variations on the salakot, usually involving materials or a slight difference in the slope towards the brim or towards the top center.

Continue reading “SALAKOT”


large flat pot or cooking pan

Continue reading “KAWA”


from the Spanish chinela, meaning ‘slipper’

slippers, flip-flops



When Filipinos say “slippers” in English, half of the time they’re referring to flipflops made of synthetic resin. These are the contemporary tsinelas.

Continue reading “TSINELAS”


Origin: from the Spanish peineta, meaning ‘ornamental comb’

A payneta is an ornamental comb that Filipinas in the old days wore in their hair, sometimes with a veil.
Continue reading “PAYNETA”


Katol is the generic term that Filipinos use to refer to a coil that is burned to kill or repel mosquitoes. It is actually a brand name of a product of Azumi & Co., Ltd. of Osaka, Japan. The company used to export insecticides as far away as Spain in the early 1900s.


mosquito coil

Katol is one of the few Japanese words that have entered Filipino vocabulary, although most do not know of its origin.
Continue reading “KATOL”


from the Spanish ventilador

electric fan

Continue reading “BENTILADOR”