The Filipino Hugot Culture

by Arra Bayan   |  Aug 31, 2016
Image: Viva Films Art: Clare Magno
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There is a sadness that lies deep within each and every one of us—it is a hole that has been bored excessively from the sometimes spontaneous hugot we make out of everyday situations. These hugot (...or hugots?) come from our most ordinary encounters—we compare the gruesome hours of waiting in line for the MRT with waiting for the right person; we liken math equations with situations we make out of love; we reverse the meaning of disappointing times with hoping that someday, we will get the love we deserve. All these and more make up our hugot—something that we pull out from our emotional insides. While it's always entertaining and eyebrow-raising to hear someone blurt it out of nowhere, it's becoming an eminent trend in our society that it already deserves to be regarded as part of the Filipino culture.

Why do we feel so much?

Perhaps it is the countless Filipino movies that starred our favorite hugot lines. From Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin's tandem in Labs Kita…Okay Lang? to hits such as One More Chance, Starting Over Again, and That Thing Called Tadhana, these movies have built up so much of what we now know as the hugot culture. They have accomplished a great deal, mainly by tugging at the Filipino heartstrings and appealing to our emotions. "Digging deep" may be all that it takes to get over heartbreak and bitter romances, and upon hearing Angelica Panganiban mourn over her character's heartbreak, or seeing John Lloyd Cruz portray a sobbing Popoy, we can't help but feel them tie-in with our personal lives.


Social media has become such a great avenue for this interaction, too. Facebook and Twitter have succeeded in carrying over this culture through the memes that pop up on our news feeds and timelines. Sometimes, all we need is to know that there are people out there going through the same letdowns we are, and outlets such as these allow for that reassurance. Some hugot are plucked out from the deepest disappointments, while others carry a certain wit that makes heartbreak seem a little less serious. Whether or not we feel that these lines are intended for us, others do find them comforting and helpful, and that could be the positivity these hugot have to offer.

Sometimes, however, hugot lose their magic, like for when they are delivered at the wrong time, or are just too forced. Often, these lines only work in situations that make attaining love seem impossible, and this can account for the AlDub phenomenon having lost its popularity. When the couple met, it seemed that the hopelessness that was once present vanished. The element of longing and impossibility has been lost, and is not as hugot-worthy as before.

There exists an inner hugot in every Filipino, regardless of whether or not we are conscious of it. Hugot may just be part of the evolution that started with banats and puns that have proven their fame at one time. Although these lines may have a good and bad side to them, it is undeniable that they have been etched deep within our society, even deeper within our respective identities. It's quite unpredictable how far they will go, or even if they will still be used ten years from now. But one thing's for sure, we will always feel the need to express our feelings and emotions, and hugot is just one way of making that happen.

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About the author
Arra Bayan Correspondent
Your free-spirited #hugot animal. I am an adrenaline junkie who is always on the look-out for adventure. I live by the three Fs: Food, fitness, and fun!
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