Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bawal Umihi Dito

"Bawal umihi dito" is signage familiar to any resident of the Philippines. Variations include "Bawal umihi D2" and "Bawal umihi," but they all communicate the same: don't pee on me.

As you drive through Manila you will see this request scrawled on the sides of buildings, in corners, and pretty much anywhere there is an opening between the storefronts and carts that line the streets. If you are a male in the Philippines, the world really is your urinal. Unless, of course, you obey the signs.

At first a Western foreigner (with a basic understanding of Tagalog) might find these signs off putting. One might ask,"Do people just urinate everywhere?" The answer is, probably not, for two reasons: 1) there are designated male urinals provided by the MMDA and 2) considering the city's poverty, Manila is clean. For example, the man in the picture below may not be peeing inside the urinal, but at least he's peeing next to it.

From GMAnews.TV

You may be thinking, "How sexist. Where do women ihi?" Don't worry, earlier this year the MMDA announced that it will soon be placing female urinals in Manila. Since the male urinals are pink, the female urinals will be painted green.

Bawal umihi dito signs bring joy to my early morning and late evening commutes to and from yoga teacher training.  I understand it as a metaphor for life, and seriously, how many times have you wanted to say, "Dude, please don't pee here!"

I am not the first person to find these signs significant. If you Google "Bawal umihi dito," you will find links where you can buy T-shirts and baseball caps sporting the phrase. You too can ask the world to take its urine elsewhere.

1 comment:

  1. Our boys would love Manila, pretty much because they would disregard the signs. Just this week, Benjy had to pee behind the dumpsters at the bus stop.