October 21, 2007

It’s sampiring, not sapiring, not iras.*
If you have no idea what I’m talking about then you must not be Bisaya (Cebuano) or Ilonggo. Sampiring, take not of the the “m”, is my city’s word for the critter above. Sapiring is used by those who live to the South and West of us. We are Cebuanos but dialects can change after 40 km or less. Iras is the Ilonggo equivalent, ’nuff said. Don’t ask me about the Tagalog equivalent. I don’t think I’ve even seen a single caterpillar in my five or so years in Manila!
Whatever you call it, you’d do well to avoid it. What looks like innocent, soft hair on it are actually tiny barbs analogous to bee stings. They’re fluffy if you play with them. Just expect an itchy sting start, one that you’d barely notice. You’d then scratch it reflexively, perhaps even without noticing what you’re doing. 20 minutes later you’d end up with raised, bumpy skin that isn’t anything but ITCHY! What’s worse is that the sites of inflammation follows your itching pattern.
So if you ever suspect that that itch is of sampiring origin, do not give in to your instincts! Fight the itch with your mind, not with your hand. Just be assured that once the inflammation reaches its acme, it can no longer spread. You’re safe. Just wait until the convalescence period ends, which would take about a few hours, and you’ll have the same smooth skin as before the incident.
And I’ve just discovered that it is not the hair, per ce that causes the itch. I merely rubbed the hair lightly on my skin. I threw them away thinking that since that no hair means no itch. The itch that followed revealed my mistake. Microbfibers could have lodged in my skin and caused my immune system to go ballistic.
Good thing there was not a short supply of long hair around. I had the itch whipped with hair as per folk medicine indications. I followed it up with packaging tape to remove as much of the sticking fiber as possible. I no longer itch, but the bumps although diminishing are still there. They would eventually disappear, leaving me only a deeper respect for the sampiring, sapiring, iras, or whatever you may call it.

*Judging from the link, the author apparently visited or have lived or is living in the Philippines. I cannot understand a word of Hiragana, but the enclosed word described the critter as sapiring. How dare that author, Japanese or otherwise, use the word not used in my city! He must have visited the other places…



  1. […] Sampiring Good thing there was not a short supply of long hair around. I had the itch whipped with hair as per folk medicine indications. […]

  2. (Then there was this strange effect that posh places usually bestow: English came out freely in our conversations.* We were still speaking in Cebuano, yet something in the poshness of the place pulled out quite a lot of English words from our stock vocabulary.
    “Do you have WIFI here?” my college schoolmate asked to the barrista.
    “Yes,” she answered.

    Kind sir.. isn’t it not you conversed in english.. and that he/she answered appropriately?

  3. Nahh. They did it first, and I simply followed suit.

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