Mukha ng Pinoy

Evelyn Miranda Feliciano

Mukha (face)- Number 2 in a series of articles on Tagalog Words and everything Tagalog.

The mukha (face) is targeted by the trillion-dollar cosmetics industry. They pour a big percentage of their marketing strategies into selling facial formula to men and women who desire smoother, finer, fairer skin, and wish for well-arched eyebrows, inviting eyes, taller nose, younger lips and glossy, healthy hair.

In Filipino culture pagmumukha, or the "impact of the face" demands more than cosmetic application. Such impact may be light and pleasant (magaan), refreshing (maaliwalas), and smiling or happy (masaya) which more than compensate for the lack of beauty with or without cosmetics. The opposite impact of course, even in a beautiful face, may be heavy (mabigat), sour (maasim), and problematic (problemado).

Listed below are other common uses of "mukha" in the vernacular.

  1. Parang suplada ang mukha, Face has that snotty look [perceived as a snob]
  2. Mukha lang ‘yan, It’s just a face 
    [you don't really get anything from what you are seeing])
  3. Mukhang tigre o leon, Looks like a tiger or a lion [comparing an angry face to fierce animals]
  4. Mukhang inahing tilaok nang tilaok, Like a cackling rooster [a nagging wife]
  5. Mukhang anghel, Like an angel [perceived as sweet and obedient]
  6. Mukhang demonyo, Like the devil (perceived as a very bad person).
  7. Mukhang Bella Flores, Like Bella Flores [perennial antagonist, the late Bella Flores was a character actor who had set a benchmark for her anti-hero roles in local cinema.]
  8. Walang mukhang ihaharap, No face to show [having lost face, facing others is embarrassing]
  9. Mukhang kawawa, Looking pitiful [a miserable countenance] 
  10. Makapal ang mukha, Thick-faced or shameless [someone who is all air and no substance. On the other hand this expression also conveys daring and faith when one takes on an impossible task]
  11. Ipamumukha ko sa kanila! I’ll show them! [an expression of an intention to get back at the enemy at its own game]
  12. Sampal sa mukha, a slap on the face [an insult]
  13. Mukhang tapos na, More or less finished [polite culture sometimes don't give definite answers, but "more-or-less" answers]
  14. Manghihiram ng mukha sa aso, Will have to borrow the face of a dog [face will be so mangled and broken that a dog's face is better in comparison, often used as a threat]
  15. Kamukhang-kamukha, Identical 

Mukha yatang dapat kitang makilala. Anong pangalan mo?
(It seems as if I need to know you. What's your name?)
Iba pang mukha ng Pinoy? See Sama-sama Kasama.