Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Welcome to Dumaguete: "Hey, Joe!"

Marilyn and myself at South Seas Resort in DumagueteEvery Caucasian male who visits Dumaguete City will immediately become synonymous with the the historically significant name "Joe". Of course, I was no exception to this rule as a group of Dumagueteño youths reminded me with an enthusiastic, "Hey, Joe!" I didn't quite know the etiquette for such a situation, but I went with the time-honored smile, followed by a wave.

Fair-skinned foreigners might view this traditional Filipino greeting as being disrespectful or even racist. However, I did not see any evidence of such intentions. The culture in the Philippines is vastly different from what we have in America, especially when looking at the social fabric. White or otherwise light-skinned tourists are sources of great curiosity in the Philippines and the locals are not afraid to drape them in attention. This occurrence may be further amplified in smaller towns such as Dumaguete, which are a bit off the beaten path. By contrast, a Filipino visiting America will most likely be ignored. We Americans are one step above robots when it comes to our treatment of strangers, especially those who we deem to be foreigners. So, in this context, an enthusiastic, "Hey, Joe", seems to be quite amiable after all. In fact, I felt like the guest of honor at times in Dumaguete. I sensed no animosity in their greeting.


By the way, my dad's name really is Joe. He'd feel right at home in the Philippines :)

16 Comments:

Blogger veraLeigh said...

hi corey.

Dumaguete:
i regret not having to visit that coffee shop along the street towards the famed Boulevard.

that trip was both awful and fun.
awful because of 4 straight debates in one day -- yes, Asian Parliamentary format :(
and fun, definitely because i've been hearing about the place (most from literary writers, wonder what's with the place that gives that tinge of 'creative writers' haven), and because we had it at Silliman, and the institution sure is part of Philippines' pride.

the JOE name:
the phrase "hey joe" might as well be the slang for American, European, or any foreigner with relatively yellow or white skin here in the country.

:)

Thursday, July 13, 2006 12:33:00 AM  
Blogger Ed Abbey said...

Hey Corey,

I see you found my blog and some of my Filipino related archives. Hope you find some useful information in there.

Likewise, I am always interested in reading about other people's experience there and will have to read through your blog when I get a chance, perhaps this weekend. I have it bookmarked until then, both of them. Thanks for stopping by and come back again.

Ed

Friday, July 28, 2006 7:15:00 AM  
Blogger Dominique said...

Hey, Corey,

Thanks for visiting my blog. Look me up when you get back here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006 7:57:00 AM  
Blogger echir said...

Good blog about Dumaguete...Hope to link with your blog...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 8:29:00 AM  
Blogger Corey said...

Thanks, Ritche...I left a note on your Tech Hallucinations blog. Pag-ayo-ayo!

Monday, August 21, 2006 6:10:00 PM  
Blogger Allan said...

People calling out Hey Joe is costing the Philippines so much money.
I have lived in the Philippines for the last 2 years and part of my Job is trying to get people to come here and invest only last week I was taking a client to look at a property where he was thinking of starting a factory that would have employed over 400 people.
On getting out of the car a load of men greeted us with Hey Joe, anyway we looked inside and then walked round the outside by time we had walked the perimeter we must have had another 5 shouts of Hey Joe, We then went for a meal on walking the short distance to the restaurant yet another hey Joe.
As we started eating he asked me if you always got these racist shouts all the time and I had to admit it was something you have to live with in the Philippines, he just sat silent for a while and then said he did not want to work in a country where he was being called names all the time and he did not want to employ racists.
Next day he flew to Thailand where he has signed a deal and brought a factory 400 jobs that was lost by per racist idiots them people that thought they were being funny outside that disused factory that sit there all day with no work could have been working.
This is not the first time and it won’t be the last it has happened.
I have spoke to tourist that say they will never come back because of it, Is it racist Filipino’s say no but of cause it is they don’t shout it at each other only at westerners so they shout it because we are a different race that makes it racist.
For god sake stop this it's not funny its costing the Philippines money and Jobs.

Saturday, January 27, 2007 4:04:00 PM  
Blogger Corey said...

Hello Allan...it's too bad people have this completely different perspective of "Hey, Joe". Honestly, I saw no reason to view it as an insult, but rather as a greeting. Why? Because I observed the overall behaviors of Filipinos I came across and found ample hospitality. Sure, there are some who hate Americans, or Westerners in general (or are generally jerks), but I don't think "Hey, Joe" can be compared on any level to the sorts of "greetings" some of our fellow Americans unleash upon one another...and on those from other countries (i.e. non-Western countries). I've read articles on how some Americans view Asians in general, and let's just say "Hey, Joe" is quite amiable by comparison.

I heard the phrase several times, and was not offended, nor did I take it as racist. Also, in my research prior to visiting I had read about this greeting, and knew I'd likely be hearing it at some point. Your client should certainly have known ahead of time about Filipino culture if he was looking to invest there. It isn't for everyone, but I'm sorry he had to react so drastically.

There are much larger factors in the Philippines that are stunting growth in a much more significant manner...Muslim insurgencies and government corruption come to mind.

Saturday, January 27, 2007 4:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello Corey,

One can say I am a native of Dumaguete. Both my parents were born and raised and still lives in Dumaguete. Same with me. And I still live in Dumaguete though I work outside the Philippines. I get to go home 4x a yr.

Things written about what's happening in Dumaguete does affect me. I plan to grow old with my wife and family in Dumaguete (I'm in my early 30's).

I am glad you find our city a good place. Indeed it is.

Anyway, I just wanted to clear something about the "hey Joe" phrase. It actually came from the time when their were a lot of American GI Joe's. Specifically the 2nd World War. And remember, we were under the Americans for 35 yrs. until the start of the war.

And for a long time the only fair skinned/white people coming to the country in general where Americans. And most of them responded to the phrase. The phrase is not derogatory or racist. In fact it is a phrase where one is trying to be friendly. It's what we used to call them GI Joe's. So please don't take them negatively.

Allan, as you said, it is your job to bring people in, THEN YOU should have also made it your job to know the culture of the country. You should not have acted surprised! You should have known. And you should have informed him. I guess you need to know more about Filipinos before anything else.

Corey, sorry for venting out. But the last thing we Filipinos/Dumaguetenos are, are racist.

And I hope and pray you'll have more fun times when you visit the city again.

PS

The following site I'm linking here is a very informative one regarding the Filipino Culture in General. It is managed by a German National who I believe used to live in the Philippines. I hope he doesn't mind my attaching this link, but even me a Filipino find some of his articles here VERY informative. So enjoy!

MABUHAY!

http://home.arcor.de/be/bethge/englischeseite.htm

Saturday, September 01, 2007 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

My take on the "greeting","Hey Joe"....#1,Nowhere in the world is a greeting called to the back of your head.900 times out 0f 1000 this has been the situation for me.
I have lived in the province of Quezon,Polillo Island, going on a year now.I still get this called out after I pass by...along with the occasional "Hey,Man" or "What's up"
#2,most likely the ones calling out "Hey Joe" do not even know the origin of it(which is even more irritating-it's 2009, not 1950.The rest of the world is growing up....we don't have to be ignorant anymore).
I think that it is said in a mean-spirited way.If not, then why isn't "Hey Joe" said to my face?Why is it that when confronted nobody will admit they said it?
"Hey Joe" is not a friendly "greeting"....So if it's not a greeting why say it at all?I think it is a way to be offensive;people here are bored....there is nothing better to do here.
People here on Polillo Island say it because they know I don't like it....How friendly is that?

Monday, January 12, 2009 10:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My take on the "greeting","Hey Joe"....#1,Nowhere in the world is a greeting called to the back of your head.900 times out 0f 1000 this has been the situation for me.
==> I totally agree with you. I've been in the Philippines 4 times now and especially in the province you see a lot of this behaviour, not only 'hey joe' but also using their middlefinger. Many Filipinos I met are ashamed of this. They said to me the people who shout at you like this are illiterate, don't mind about them.
It has to do with not showing respect for foreigners and social discrepancy because the people shouting at you that way are often unemployed or their salary is very very low compared to ours.

Saturday, August 29, 2009 6:14:00 AM  
Blogger RoaringBunny said...

Trying cast a Filino greeting into an equivalent American greeting may not really be possible, especially "hey joe." In all my visits to Manila and Cebu and the smaller provinces in Visayas, every "hey joe" I have ever received came with a smile and often a wave.

Lets face it, to the smaller provinces.. a white guy is like a visiting tourist attraction, something that really stands out as different from the day to day experience.

Sure, self-absorbed, over-sensitive Americans and Europeans would never shout out "hey pinoy!" to a Filipino in our country, but then maybe that's a shortcoming in our countries, not sa Piñas?

People ask my why I love being in the Philippines and my number one reason is always that the people there, even total strangers, smile back if I smile, wave back if I wave, and even when they are incredibly shy, they respond to small talk.

When I get back to the US, and I'm in public, I try a small smile, or even a "hello" to passers by, and it is so frustratingly rare to get a friendly response. Most try to ignore it, and some seem to have suddenly encountered some kind of predator and look like they want to run away as fast as they can.

For the guy complaining about losing business: if you were a better businessman, you would take the time to inform your clients how the culture is different, that they should expect the "hey joe," and that they should really take it as a compliment rather than any kind of insult.

In the end, it's simply a custom there.. perhaps the person calling it out has a negative perception of westerners and you know, maybe we deserve it from the actions of some visitors that don't respect filipino culure and people. Maybe for us, as just visitors there, we can show those with negative experiences that not all westerners are arrogant, and not all are self-important, and in fact most of us are just regular people just like them, with the same concerns and challenges in life.

You have a great blog here Corey, nice to read :)

.. and finally, I have to admit its hard for me not to smile and wave whenever I hear "hey joe," because to me it sounds like its the friendliest country in the world and filled with personal friends.. because like your dad, Corey, I ~Am~ Joe !! :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010 6:25:00 PM  
Blogger Corey said...

Thanks for the message, Joe :) I certainly agree that our culture is terribly stiff and unwelcoming in comparison to Filipino culture. We're not very genuine here either as a whole. I know it is impossible for my wife not to be "infected" by our culture to some extent, though I'm happy to say that after 3 years she has kept much of that Filipina charm that attracted me to her years ago. Thanks again for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 4:16:00 PM  
Blogger Pinoy Boy Journals said...

and for that i say hey joe! i am quite excited to go on a solo trip to dumaguete! looking forward to excellent adventures! cheers!

Thursday, December 09, 2010 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is an older post, but I have a dilemma. My engaged to a women in BUENAVISTA GUIHULNGAN NEGROS ORIENTAL, who I plan to marry in September. I'll be marrying her there, and we'll be going back and forth from US to Buena vista. My concern though is that I've only had one contact with her tatay. It was his birthday and I had given her a computer so that we can stay in touch. I've not met her father in person yet, but it was his birthday and she brought the computer to make a movie. I threw a nice party for him, purchased all the food, and he owns a farm which grows both corn and tobacco. She told me that he'd always wanted to raise chickens, so I purchased 9 chickens and a rooster, now there are over 30 of them. My dilemma is this. The only thing he said to me during the party, on cam, was, "hey Joe", and went on about his business. I found this to be very insulting, but I'm not sure if I should; does he mean it as a greeting? And is that and appropriate way to greet your future son in law for the first time? I'm really confused here and would like some other input. Thank you.

Friday, April 22, 2011 6:40:00 PM  
Blogger mike said...

Ey.. i stumbled upon your article after seeing the picture of you and ate Marilyn, your wife. It's fun reading through the comments in this article because it's made the nature of the issue really obvious. It's all just miscommunication.
I am a Filipino and I happen to just have an American last name because of my great grandfather. I think it'll take years to change the way Filipinos carelessly use the greeting. It must be in school that i first learned about that but under the impression that it can be a good conversation starter. You see, i think 'Joe', 'John Doe', or 'Jane' (for women) were taught to us as representative names for Americans like we call ourselves 'Juan' (for men, by the way, derived possibly from John) and 'Juana' (for women). It's mostly really out of good intention and a way to try to be friendly. I have just been informed today how rude and insulting this is for the American race through your blog. How i wish this could creep into our English modules at school so the present breed of students will not fail the same way most of us did because of miseducation. My sister is a teacher, so i guess i could have her emphasize it at school as a start. I, myself, will begin using the formal "Hi" and "Hellos" as opposed to the casual "Hey, Joe". But for your fellow Americans who know little about our culture, please let them not take offense about the greeting while we do the best we can to change that which we used to know and do growing up.

Send my regards to Ate Marilyn!

Friday, May 02, 2014 12:31:00 AM  
Blogger ZiDD said...

Joe, ... This was used during WW2 here in the Islands. American Joe, G.I. Joe. Sadly, every caucasian visitor are now called Joe.

Never meant to be insulting.

Only none Filipino seems to think this is an insult.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014 10:54:00 PM  

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