Jan 14, 2012

Daily thoughts - The Baluyot Syndrome

For the past 7 years I have worked as a customer service officer in my country and overseas. I always had fun and the most amusing experience eversince I worked as a call center agent. It may be odd to some but I love working for customer service. Of course there are days it would suck but most of the time its actually great. I met a bunch of great people from the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry and it also paved the way for many opportunities for me to even travel abroad. In short it has been such a rewarding career for me regardless of what my doctor friends (my classmates in Medical School)say. It may not be the most glamorous job but it paid for my bills and gave me travel opportunities and most importantly helped me hone my skill in speaking good English. I dont mean to sound arrogant when I say that Im good but it took me many years to sound the way I do now.That is also why I have more confidence to say that Im good. Just the same, Im still Im learning a lot along the way.

I speak well but I honestly dont think I sound better than the average American. I will still have that regional accent that I feel very comfortable about. After all English is still my second language and I will still sound a bit different from a Native English speaker.

The truth is a lot of people say I have a good command of English. More often than not, customers on the phone mistake me for being one of them. An american I mean. Even when I worked in Singapore, some customers thought Im from the States.  But despite the fact that I almost always come across as a native English speaker on the phone, I never lied nor pretended Im American. Even if I become one, I wouldnt deny my ethnicity, ever.

Sadly I have encountered several Pinoys who seem ashamed and worse would blatantly deny their ethnicity. Here is one good example.

I dont remember the first name of the woman I spoke to but I do remember her surname because its very Filipino.

I used to work as a Technical Support Representative for a US high speed internet services company outsourced in the Philippines. Ms Baluyot called in because she forgot her user name and pin to connect to the network. When I saw her details, I excitedly asked her if she was from the Philippines. She vehemently denied it like i asked her if she had STD.

Me: Ms Baluyot, I sincerely apologize for the mistake 

Ms. Baluyot: Im not Filipino. Im Checano, you know, Mexican (in her very heavy Pinoy accent)

(I found that bizarre because I dont remember Mexicans referring to themselves as such. )

Me: Oh ok. I understand that you wish to get your user ID and pin? 

Ms Baluyot: thats right. 

Me: I need to ask you a verification question before I provide you with that information 

Ms Baluyot: What is the question?

Me: Do you mind if i put you on hold for a minute so I can pull up your records? 

Ms Baluyot: Sure! 

(After one minute. )

Me: Thank you for patiently waiting Ms Baluyot. I have the verification question now. Are you ready?

Ms Baluyot: Yes, what is it?? 

Me: Who is your favorite singer? 

Ms Baluyot: (excitedly answered in a very pinoy accent) Sharon Cuneta!!! 

Me: Thats correct! Let me give you now your user ID and pin. 

End of call.

Is it wrong for me to assume that she is Filipino because she sounds like one, has a surname thats very Filipino and is a fan of a Filipino singer? Just saying..

If a fish is found on the shore does that mean its no longer a fish? Or if a dog is in the sea, does it mean its already a fish? I was just wondering. =)

Nope thats not Ms Baluyot but my idol Brandon Vera
 note: Brandon Vera is a UFC fighter who was born and raised in the USA. But he knows how to speak Tagalog and does not deny his roots and is in fact proud of it. Ano say mo Ms Baluyot?


  1. Marge, ever since College you have been so good in the English language!

    Anyway, I still vividly remember this story and how excited you were to tell me this incident. We laughed our hearts out until both our tummies ached! So hilarious!

    Please allow me to share this story to everyone and perhaps, somehow, knock some senses of people who completely forgot their roots.

    Mabuhay ka, Marge! :)

  2. hahaha ey salamat Mare! go share! thank you for the compliments sis! I miss you!


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