I was about to re-share a photo posted by When In Manila on Facebook, when a friend of mine here in the US saw it. The image had everything written English, except for one word, which was Epal. I had to explain it and gave the etymology of the word. And I decided to blog about it’s etymology.
What is Epal?
Filipinos have this weird way of turning some words into Filipino slang words by flipping the order of syllables, or flipping the order of sounds, or flipping the order of some letters or all letters. Where that method of creating slang words came from, I don’t know.
Looking at the word epal, this originally started with the Tagalog word for paper, which is papel. When you flip the two vowels, it turns into pepal, and after saying it over and over by various people, for some reason, the first “p” got dropped and turned into epal.
So What if Epal means Paper?
When people are told in the Philippines, that you are pumapapel, or in slang umeepal, with the root words papel and epal respectively means you are tying hard to create a role to show that you are significant. The paper is in reference to roles in movie scripts or play scripts. Like saying you are writing your own lines in your script. This is often said to people that are overly trying hard to point out some role they are playing to gain more popularity or to boost their own ego.
Now that you know the definition, I think everything in the image above will now make more sense. Many people in politics seem to have some Epal factors of varying degrees, and the ones that are blatantly promoting themselves riding on whatever current news, cross-promotion, public project, etc have been turn offs to Filipinos who have been posting online showing various politicians with the Epal actions. And the image above is a compilation type of meme showing several of these Epal post combined.
So Who Are You Really Serving?
Epal is a word thrown out there often from young kids to adults for anyone trying to gain credit or popularity and sometimes in a joking manner and sometimes in a serious irate manner. But when you are in politics and you are tagged being ‘epal’ then this is not a good thing. And people start to question your intentions, are you really serving the people? A great question to even ask ourselves. Who are you working for? What are you working for? As Mike Lopez says:
…true living begins when we stop thinking of ourselves and start thinking of others.
So for people in politics, don’t be epal. Just serve the community. Don’t worry, the good work you do will spread organically and people will recognize you for it anyway.
For people working in the SEO and Social Media industry… doesn’t that sound familiar? Natural links, no blatant promotion in social media. No wonder it works that way, because it works that way also offline.