“Ayy nako, you’re so FAT NA!”

I’m headed to the mothership, err, -land next May for two weeks and I have yet to get excited. Sure, I’ll be seeing family members I haven’t seen since I was seven years old. And it’s great that I’ll get a chance to soak up the sun at a resort in Boracay (rumor has it that Brangelina is vacationing there this season… maybe they’ll adopt me). But honestly, I don’t think I’m allowing myself to get excited about this Philippines trip for one main reason… and that’s hearing this phrase over and over and over again:

Ayy nakoooo, you’re so FAT NA!

Filipino kids that point at laugh at fat turistas (such as yours truly). Photo courtesy of @gregPhil07 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/21743267@N04/

And I’ll have all you readers know, this comes in many variations, my second favorite being ”Bakit tumaba ka?“ (why are you fat?). Why? WHY? WHY? Which of the fat glittering fairies from freaking Sleeping Beauty gave you the magical gift of saying whatever the eff you want? It’s not cool kids – no matter what country you’re from. I understand language and cultural barriers, but tact is universal. Discover it. Embrace it. Make it yours.

Whenever I vent to people who were actually born there, they roll their eyes and chuckle these amused little chuckles (as if to say, what a dear- she’s so Americana) before replying, "Hwag ka mg ganyan (don’t be like that), Jeel,  it’s a compliment, really. It just means your rich enough to eat a lot.

Fo real?!

Maybe I understand that, barely. But maybe it has nothing to do with the amount of food I eat (okay it totally has everything to do with the amount of food I eat). But I said maybe. Also- perhaps my delightfully plumpness is due to the type of food I eat, not just the quantity. OR my metabolism. OR genetics… err, perhaps that wouldn’t fly with my cousins.

In all honesty, I wonder how they would react if I replied with something like, “Oh, it’s because I don’t make enough money to be in the class of rich girls that actually throw up their food,” or “Because everything’s bigger in Texas, G-D don’t you know anything?” Or better yet, what if I were to stretch my face out super wide and break out into a series of bawls and then run away screaming “IT’S! BECAUSE! I! EAT! MY! FEELINGS!!”

I would expect their reactions to be something similar to this:

"ANONG SINABE MO?"

And honestly, I don’t mean to hate, and I totally get the whole "When in Rome” thing, but seriously. I wouldn’t repeat something I thought was harmless (that is assuming they sincerely think calling someone from America fat is harmless) to someone visiting me from abroad. I expect the same treatment from my own family.

And I’m telling my mother all this the other night, and she goes- “OK, and don’t forget you need some cash to bring them as regalo.”

*de ja vu – Fo real?!

Sure, Mother, I’ll be happy to give them the regalo they expect, though expecting a gift kind of makes it lose that je ne sais quoi that makes receiving gifts exciting in the first place. However, be so kind to pass this little tidbit over to the kind little brood over in the P.I. who simply can’t wait to break down my self esteem- Jillian Ashley Fortin has busted her butt over the past year and has succeeded in making this fatty bumbum a little less fatty. Ergo, she’d appreciate it if you BACK OFF, watch your tongues and be careful not to slobber on my rear as I cordially ask you to KISS IT.

ktnxbai. Or shall I say, SIGE NA!