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Ayo, Ayo

At first you are asking, what is “Ayo.” This is the Filipino version of Hello when you are calling from outside a house or locked up business.

In America, most homes have no fence around the property and if they do they are an open picket fence type. If you go to visit someone, you walk up to the front door and ring the doorbell or just knock on the door.

Here, just as I had seen in some parts of Europe, homes are secured by a masonry or metal wall or fence with a large gate. Many times these are solid and very little visibility to the street.  Some keep them locked all day or some just at night.

If someone is coming to visit, sell something, deliver something or just to beg, they will just stand in front and just call out “Ayo Ayo.”

If I go to a friend’s house, it is not like in America and you let yourself in the gate and go to their door. You just stand there and call out. You just have to hope the TV or Karaoke machine is not so loud where they cannot hear you.

The bad part is in many areas there is no sidewalks and some streets are narrow. Some there is even no room to park and you have to park down the road. Then as your waiting to be let in, you need to watch out for vehicles.

In the home, unless you live in a gated subdivision, many times you have the street vendors calling their wares as they walk down the street. There are also people with bicycle-powered carts buying corrugated boxes and metal or plastic junk for recycling. Many meal times the beggars come around calling for spare food.

With that, and from the beggars in the street, another term you need to learn is “Wala” and” Kwarta.” Wala mean no or none and Kwarta means money. So if a street beggar comes to the gate for food, you just call out to them “Wala” and hopefully they will go on their way. Out on the street a wave of the hand and a “Wala Kwarta” usually will get them to move on. If you are in front of a business or the Mall, and that does not work, catch the eye of a security guard and they will get them to move on.

One other word good to know and will make many Filipinos happy to hear is “Salamat” (Sa lam at) which means “Thank You.” By using a word in their language shows a Filipino you can and respect their language.

19 Responses to “Ayo, Ayo”

  1. Rey says:

    Hi Bruce,
    I must say its easy to drive away beggars in the Philippines by saying two words and a wave of hand. Here in the US, its hard to convince solicitors to leave if I tell them “i don’t have money or i am not interested”. When I walk the streets in San Francisco and a homeless will approach me for a stick of cigarette or a quarter, I tell them I do not give cigarettes to strangers. There are times they get pissed and give me a nasty look in the eye.

    • Bruce says:

      That is true, Panhandlers in America can get aggressive and not leave you alone. But here it is for substance, most in the States, it is their profession.

  2. Steve in Davao says:

    Ayo, Ayo Mr. Bruce!
    Rey, Beggars anywhere can get aggressive, but I not haven’t had any real bad experiences here in Davao. I guess I’m getting a little jaded now. All of the street beggars bothered me at first, but as time goes on I’ve learned to deal with them and it’s not the same heavy burden it once was. First, I learned “Wala Kwarta” and I also took a piece of advice a friend gave me. I don’t give to beggars who approach me on the street. I DO still give to the blind and handicapped, but that is my only exception. I have several other ways of giving, such as recognized charities, but “No beggars” is my general rule.
    Have I become TOO jaded?

    • Bruce says:

      Most will leave you along, there are some, especially kids that will keep poking you and bothering you until you walk away or get a Filipino to get them to move on.

      • rich says:

        you guys need neneng around when this happens. This is the funniest scene every. They see me in the car she comes up and starts grilling them about where their parents are and why they are begging. She actually scolds them and tells them to take her to their mother and they run away lol. It seems that they have grown up seeing that it works and just decide to do it, to get candy or something.
        I am not saying that all are in this situation but more times than not vanessa deals with them.

  3. Evelyn says:

    bruce,the right way to answer AYO AYO is DAYON meaning “come on in”

  4. Tom Martin says:

    With my new gate our place is well hidden. I do not answer the door bell if Cardawe is not here. If there is anyone I need to see they have my cell number and they had better text prior to coming because I will not answer the door bell other wise. This Christmas was the worst since I have lived in Davao. I mean singing I wish you an advanced “merry Christmas” at your gate in late January was just too much.

    • Bruce says:


      You are right about this past Christmas. Last year it was relatively quiet here. I thought it might be because of the law prohibiting beggars/carolers from doing such on main roads. Maybe they realized with no enforcement laws are moot.

  5. alantooth says:

    looks like you’re from solariega subdivision also, it looks like our house, lol i find it funny when someone mention to go away in bisaya, lols aff course “paghawa mo diri” sounds so mean, but its true

  6. alantooth says:

    you always online pal, it’s a cool site, keep posting love reading your blog, next time more on cooking hahaha, hayst!!! why our salmon here don’t taste like norweigan salmon, lols

  7. alantooth says:

    haahaha yup i will.. love baking and cookin for my families,hotels and some events. i dunno if you love asian cuisine or european, mostly we cooked mediterenean, contemporary and some twists

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