Elder AdvantageMay 26, 2008
Contrary to Tagalog popular belief, Cebuanos do offer respect for their elders.
Not saying po or opo does not mean that Cebuanos are rebellious. In fact, Cebuanos or at least those who grew up in more rural areas* are taught how to respect their elders. They greet any old person they meet on the street with “Good Morning” or a “Good Evening”. They even do this by touching a hand to the chest while bowing the head**. Furthermore, they are alike with the majority of the Filipino population in that they also touch their elders’ relatives hands to their foreheads when presenting themselves to these elders***.
Yet there is another glaring example of the benefits elder Cebuanos enjoy. They can also call any male younger than them dong, which is literally translated as “boy”, regardless of the age of the younger male. Thus, a 70-year-old man can call a 40-year-old man dong without any offense to the younger man. Also, an elder is not required to know the names of his or her grandchildren. The boys get to be called dong, and the girls day.
The word elder, however, does not only apply to the old. Someone who is at least 10 years older than another person can enjoy the benefits of being an elder to the younger person.
Thus, when I couldn’t open a bottle of Coke I told the serving boy:
Dong, paki-abre beh.
Boy, will you open this?
And he promptly did without taking any offense. Then I asked myself, “Why didn’t I think of this before? I could get used to this.”
*Myself not included. HAHAHAHA.
**Haven’t done this, EVER!
***I only do this with the mother’s side. Father’s side is more liberal. Btw, we don’t do this at home.