Iring is Bisaya for cat, iring-iring is…


Something else. I’ve been trying to find its English equivalent but failed. It’s close to flirting but without the sexual connotation. It shares shades of meaning with courting but is less formal and doesn’t mean that the person wants to go steady with the object of the iring-iring.

My kumpare and colleague Myke Obenieta says there isn’t an equivalent English word for iring-iring. Myke will launch his book “Iring-iring sa tingbitay sa iro” on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in Kahayag Cafe.

Now, tingbitay sa iro is a curious phrase. It literally means “the time to hang dogs.” It means hard times. Cebuanos now just say “tingbitay” to describe hard times. I suspect, and Myke says this is the case, that Cebuanos of old slaughtered their dogs for food during hard times. Maybe they hang the dogs to kill them or to prepare the meat for cooking, I don’t know.

“Iring-iring sa tingbitay sa iro,” means love but not quite love or flirting without the sexual connotation during hard times.

Former colleague and cubicle mate in Sun.Star Cebu Januar Yap will also be launching his book, Ang Aktibistang Gi-syphilis. The two books are published under the new authors series of the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts.

(Updated) For those e-mailing about details of the books, you can buy it at the launch in Kahayag cafe. The price of the books is P80 each. For more on where you can buy it, you can leave a message at Myke Obenieta’s blog.

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  1. Ooh! Beautiful. A cat is traditionally both affectionate and non-demonstrative (except at feeding time at my house). Then iring-iring would be a closeness-with-reserve. Or a kittenish relationship, interdependent and giving without a likelihood of deeper exchange.


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