Ramon Bautista’s ‘hipon’ joke: Davao women should lighten up

What I am really curious about is what possessed comedian Ramon Bautista to insinuate that Davao women are “hipon”, slang for (I am told) women who have a nice body but a not-so-nice face. “Hipon” is Tagalog for “shrimp”. So, yeah, shrimp is the word because the head of a shrimp is discarded after the body is eaten. Get it?

So I ask:

Did Bautista really mean to insult?

Honestly, this is the first time I’ve heard such a slur. And I gotta admit, it’s a clever one. But then, well, I suppose not too many Davaoenas found it funny even coming from a comedian doing a comedy act.

Not your average 'hipon': A Mutya ng Dabaw contestant(Photo courtesy Life Funtastique)
Not your average ‘hipon’: A Mutya ng Dabaw contestant
(Photo courtesy Life Funtastique)
Would Bautista purposely single out Davao ladies as being shrimp-like? I don’t think so. The use of the term and the context with which it was used, did not seem meant to offend, only to entertain. It seems the humour was simply lost in people who evidently had a raw nerve with regard to the appearance of their women.

Vice Mayor Pulong Duterte said in his Facebook post where he issued the resolution declaring Bautista persona non grata that “it is not for me to decide”. But, really, the decision was his to finalise the ruling. It seems to me that he was doing a Pontius Pilate-style thing. I am not responsible.

Vice Mayor Duterte further elaborated in a subsequent comment…

Do not blame me or the councilors for taking a strong stand against the issue. We are bound by our oath to protect and preserve the welfare and honor of the very same people who placed us in this position.

I dunno. Sounds like bullshit to me. So one can issue such a ruling but, at the same time, nobody is responsible for it? Talk about wanker. This is coming from a family that takes pride in their popular vigilante-style approach to rough justice.

Well, the only bottomline I see here is that Davao folk lack a modern sense of humor. When one is so quick to take offense from what is so obviously a statement meant to be funny and so obviously lacking any clear basis, all the more it makes one curious. And as I said, earlier, that is my main takeaway from this circus:

Was the joke half-meant?

Personally I don’t think so. What I do think is that the reaction of Davao people was the one that was half-meant. Indeed, there is much to be read into in this hysterical reaction Davao had thrown. Is it a hint of some kind of underlying insecurity? Perhaps. There is that Tagalog saying, bato-bato sa langit tamaan wag magalit. Roughly translated in English, the saying goes “bird in the sky don’t get mad if you are hit.”

I know, bad translation. But the meaning there is that lots of words are being fielded everyday. Some, if not a lot, of them can be construed as insults. But, really, an insult is in the ear of the beholder. If you truly believe you are not ugly, no number of people telling you that you are will matter. And, yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps to be able to truly “move on” Davao needs to focus more on those who behold the beauty of their women rather than on how some individuals among them are so quick to find insult in innocent humor.

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Post Author: Kate Natividad

Frustrated artist doing geek for a living.

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59 Comments on "Ramon Bautista’s ‘hipon’ joke: Davao women should lighten up"

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juice colored
Guest
It’s ironic that someone like you, a woman, had the audacity to write something like this. Did you thoroughly read Davao City’s existing Women’s Development Code? Or Did you even know that it exist? How about the anti-discrimination ordinance? And please, save your self from further embarrassment and only publish articles that are well-researched. That woman in bikini would never be a Mutya Ng Dabaw contestant. Wearing such outfit is PROHIBITED in the city that’s why Bikini Open pageants are held in the neighboring city, Samal Island. It’s funny that most of the people who criticize Davao’s government are the… Read more »
domo
Guest

Obvious asshurt is indeed obvious. Your place has an iron fist and yet you people are onion-skinned at the same time. Are you dumb flips really THAT low? pinoy nga naman oo ginagamit palagi ang puso hindi ang utak.

jili
Guest

Wow. And you’re so great for generalizing ‘pinoys’ ha.
“Your place has an iron fist and yet you people are onion-skinned at the same time.”

Onion-skinned about what? Where is the joke there?

s
Guest

You people are overly sensitive to everything that is unimportant. People are fined a huge amount for smoking a cigarette in public. What does that have to do with anything? A man tells a joke you don’t like, so what? Ignore it. But no we will get rid of this guy forever because he said something we don’t like.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. That is unless you come from Davao

jili
Guest
Hi, I’m a fan of the articles here in GRP and I can’t help but give my opinion in this one because I, for one, knows the issue. I’m from Davao del Norte and have lived in Davao for many years. First, I didn’t took those words as a joke because for me, calling a woman ‘hipon’ is a sexist and derogatory insult. If it was meant to be a joke, it was a lame one. I would like to quote the hipon slang description from Urban dictionary, ito yun. “Hipon – refers to a person who has a sexy… Read more »
Dave
Guest
You’ve painted an overly idyllic picture of Davao’s melting pot here. It may be ‘peaceful,’ but as a foreigner I can’t walk down the street without getting a load of ‘hey, Joe’ cat-calls from all ages and made to feel like an alien in their city. I haven’t experienced that level of harassment (however benign, it’s a constant annoyance) in any other country in Asia, not even elsewhere in the Philippines, urban or rural. Foreigners are still something of a novel concept in Davao and they are extremely provincial even when comparing themselves to their countryfolk from Manila and Cebu… Read more »
jili
Guest

If you felt that way, what have you done to stop it?

This ordinance is for people to know that discrimination is not encouraged in the city and anyone, regardless of their race, can live in the city. It also mean that if you ever feel that you are discriminated, in any way, you can do something about it.

Bogo
Guest

But sarah duterte said something very discriminating too, to ramon bautista. Double standards lang? Does she even know how to think?

speranza
Guest

i agree…joe here is kinda right, i mean dave.. LOL! i love davao.. but yeah he has a point… got american friends too and they have eperienced the “hey joe” thing in davao…

speranza
Guest

(sarcastic comment)

hey DAVE, Jili here is right, do something about it, every time some calls you JOE, stop and say “hi, my name is Dave, not Joe. and you shouldn’t call every white people JOE, its offensive in someway”… and go to the city hall so they could come up with the new “ANTI JOE CALLING ORDINANCE”

jili
Guest

You understand and interpret suggestions really well, i must say. The sarcastic comment is also not a bad idea. Maybe Dave should try your suggestion and people might be aware of what they’re doing to Dave.

Thanks for the suggestion speranza. 🙂

jili
Guest

Ops. I forgot to put a (sarcastic comment) line on my reply. 🙂

Average Joe
Guest

But imagine my dismay if everybody yelled ‘hey, Dave’ instead.

Dave
Guest
I do call them up on it every time – the ones who aren’t just speeding past on scooters anyway – and I usually get apologies from teenagers (who there’s still hope for) but generally just a blank stare or gormless smile from adults. The only time I’ve dealt with City Hall was reporting some creep who worked there, who kept calling my girlfriend and her sister early in the morning after getting their numbers from some form they handed in, despite their ‘stop calling me’ texts. The calls did stop after I emailed a superior there, but I don’t… Read more »
Jim DiGriz
Guest

Dave, I’m a long-nose like you. I’ve heard the “hey Joe or hey Mike”(they mispronounce mate) more times than Hotel California. It used to be bad in Manila, but as of the last 10 years I don’t really hear it anymore.

My advise, when someone calls out “hey Joe”, you smile and wave back and say “hey Pedro” or “hey Juan”.

Dave
Guest

I’ve thought about that, I just wasn’t sure which would be the most effectively annoying name for them to hear back.

Any Filipino name would lack the double irritation of Joe/kano being assumed to be American even when they’re (I’m) not, but if I throw back a typical Thai or Indian name to suggest I’m too dumb to know the difference, that would be a little impossibly cryptic for everyone involved!

jarvis
Guest

I think the Persona non-grata was too much but I’m quite surprised you as a woman are not offended by that one. Did you watch the video?, he said on stage “Ang dami palang hipon dito sa Davao..” then proceeded to chant “hipon! hipon!”. I think they have the right to be upset, he made an insult directed to Davaoenos, not to all women but specific to women from that place.

Thomas Chiong Sy
Guest

Why so serious? Guys, its a joke. Comedians make a few not so well-thought out jokes all the time. Bautista needs to be more tasteful with his jokes, Davao needs to start living in the 21st century and grow a sense of humor. Pointing fingers on who is more in the wrong will only perpetuate a cycle of butthurt. Move on.

lagalag
Guest

how is a derogatory word funny? i recall that when vice ganda made a joke about jessica soho’s weight, she and and a lot of people reacted because it is derogatory and demeaning. did it mean that she and the people who reacted has no sense of humor? those who find it funny should realize that these kind of jokes are not welcome in the 21st century.

domo
Guest

Nah maybe you mean those kind of jokes are not welcome in the middle ages. You’re watching too much telebasuras you drama queen.

jarvis
Guest

Jokes targeting physical ugliness of a demographic are never funny and are almost never used in the western world (which I think have a more progressive comedy style). You are the one who’s watching too much pinoy comedy bar shows.

domo
Guest

What is your major malfunction again jigs the dakilang mangongontra? Did I insult your dysfunctional pride again? And no I don’t watch those pinoy comedy bar shows because they’re lame.

andi
Guest
This statement is 100% bias, you were not the one that was bullied that is why you think it was just a joke and it was okay to say it. Come to think of it, our leaders are like our city’s parents, and parents get hurt or insulted when there children get bullied. It was a bully not a joke cuz if it was, he should have said it “joke lang po” in the end, and for me a “mean joke”(that we should know) shouldn’t be repeatedly mentioned many times. I know when someone crack a joke at you like… Read more »
Bing
Guest

I wonder how kate natividad would react if in her own party one of her guests would call her HIPON, as part of a joke, in front of all her other guests? Would she be able to still laugh at it? Hmmmmm…

domo
Guest

Typical excuse of an asshurt. It’s like asking “kayo na lang kaya maging presidente?”
Pathetic drama queens.

REY-AN
Guest

we have to admit kahit sino man, kahit saan man, kahit nasa comedy bar o nasa parking lot man, kahit anong lahi, kahit anong pinaniniwalaan, lahat tayo ay napipikon din paminsanminsan… that is what happened to him, he have to face the consequences of his actions, nakapagbitaw siya ng salita in the wrong place and in the wrong time. i’m not from Davao by the way…

brianitus
Guest
Hi, Kate. I think the hipon thing is part of his standard routine. I read that from someone who knows the man. Davao passed the resolution declaring Mr. Bautista persona non grata. They will definitely be “moving on.” Mr. Bautista is moving on, too. He already apologized and accepted Davao’s decision. Good for them. Time heals all wounds, ika nga. I have to agree with REY-AN. It’s hard to be 100% funny. For sure, mayrun talaga mapipikon. Basic rule in humor/comedy: if you have to explain it, it probably isn’t funny. Curious: May natawa ba dun sa hipon joke? I… Read more »
Average Joe
Guest
“Well, the only bottomline I see here is that Davao folk lack a modern sense of humor.” Modern Humor 101 – It is socially acceptable to hate on yourself but considered poor taste (not to mention just plain mean) to hate on somebody else. Therefore, you are allowed to turn derogatory statements into jokes if and only if the jokes are also directed against yourself. If you accept this premise, we are left with three possibilities. One, Ramon Bautista is also a hipon. Two, Ramon Bautista is not a hipon and is joking, but his joke does not reflect a… Read more »
Ronald
Guest
I believe there’s only one sure way to clear this issue.. how ’bout you ask Ramon Bautista whether he really meant it as a “joke”? Or if he really didn’t mean it at all.. You implied it as his joke, but was it really a joke? Did he, in any direct way, say that it was a joke? Anyway, if it really was a joke, how could he not think that it could be offensive to the audience? Do we really deserve comedians who only make people laugh by making fun of other people? You know what I think? Ramon… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest

Have Ramon Bautista explain himself? That’s absurd! Please read Kate’s response above again. Try to understand it.

Jim DiGriz
Guest

I’m offended too Kate.

That supposed bunny in the picture almost looks like a Billy boy to me.

Can please post a clearer, more close up picture so we can clearly identify the lady parts? 😉

Jim DiGriz
Guest

….got so excited that I missed the “you”.

end
Guest

I am from Davao City and I feel bad when you insinuated that we can’t take a joke. Can you not generalize us Davao women like this? We are individuals afterall and thus we don’t share the same sentiments. The Hipon thing was just that – a joke. A joke that is clearly not meant for those with sensitive feelings. And I do think that declaring Ramon Bautista as persona non grata is too much and that those who voted were simply joining the bandwagon.

Juan Public
Guest
The “HIPON” controversy reminded me of what happened to CLAIRE DANES. In an interview, she said: “Manila smelled of cockroaches, with rats all over, and that there is no sewerage system, and the people do not have anything – no arms, no legs, no eyes.” She was declared “persona non grata” because of that. Filipinos are generally overly sensitive… Not only Davaoenos… Please do not single us out. We Davaoenos also do have our own brand of sense of humor. Maybe not just as shallow or unintelligent as what you have pointed out as modern type of humor… Or maybe… Read more »
RandomCommenter
Guest

“Filipinos are generally overly sensitive… Not only Davaoenos… Please do not single us out.”

I would agree that the Filipino people in general are overly sensitive (there are exceptions, of course). I don’t think Kate meant to single out the Davaoeños. It’s just that this is the more recent issue.

adrein
Guest

perhaps miss kate knows nothing about pride…since it was addressed to a crowd it was meant to be heard and the joke just busted the pride of those dabawenos…it was just like punching someone on the face and say sorry for breaking one’s nose because the punch was meant to be a joke and was never intended to hit the mark…

IAN
Guest

Para malinaw mga Ka-hipon! Ang Ibig-sabihin ng “hipon” ay maganda ang katawan pero panget ang pagmumukha… in-short “panget” diba?! So do you see it proper to address Davaoenos and say “Ang dami palang pangit dito sa Davao?” in the middle of a rave party? And then you move on to chant PANGET… PANGET… PANGET… Ok lang ba yan sa inyo?

domo
Guest

To all the asshurts here:
From So, What’s News?
“Galit kayo sa komedyante dahil offensive ang joke.
Nalungkot kayo dahil nawala ang piniritong manok.
Pero bakit hindi kayo magalit sa mga nagnanakaw sa gobyerno?
Tapos iboboto nyo din sila sa 2016.
Nakakalungkot naman… “

jili
Guest

Pakiexplain kung anong kinalaman ng offensive joke sa mga nagnanakaw sa gobyerno?

“Pero bakit hindi kayo magalit sa mga nagnanakaw sa gobyerno?
Tapos iboboto nyo din sila sa 2016.”

How sure of you na hindi kami galit sa mga nagnanakaw sa gobyerno? So, ano to..laging gobyerno ang pag uusapan at mga usapang ganito, ipagsawalang bahala..gobyerno lang importante ganun?
Klaseng utak meron ka?

jarvis
Guest

@domo ang nakakalungkot lang dito ay ang quote na yan. walang sense, lahat kme na nakabasa nyan nawalan ng brain cells.

Punk Zappa
Guest

Mali ang translation mo ng bato-bato sa langit. Hindi yung bato-bato na ibon kung hindi mga bato na hinagis, at babagsakan ang kung sino man na matatamaan. LOL.

Ethan
Guest

Bunch of idiots, he already apologized, why per sona non grata shit.. I lived in Davao city in 29 years and now im not liking it.

REY-AN
Guest

pag nag apologize na ang nagnakaw sa bahay nyo, killer na pumatay sa magulang mo, o rapist na gumahasa sa kapatid mo,ok na yun sa’yo?

SO wrong bad comparison
Guest
SO wrong bad comparison

Your comparison is so wrong in many levels.

Samsara
Guest

I’m sure REY-AN here doesn’t understand logic. Or has no logical faculties at all. We cannot debate with people who appeal to the emotional side at all.

Narra
Guest
RB apologized afterwards. Pinangatawan niya ang pagiging pogi n’ya and apologized when he learned that the Davaoeños didn’t find his “hipon” joke funny and were rather insulted. And I believe the insulted Davaoeños called him names already that could even bury a person alive out of shame and pure “slur” (‘Pangit!’, ‘ Animal!’ and the like which, truth be told, somehow justifies the “hipon” thing because what goes out of the mouth comes from one’s head/seatofemotion. I mean if it’s about a battle of derogatory words, Ramon Bautista vs. people of Davao, talo na siya. Are Davaoeños proud of proving… Read more »
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