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Ramon Bautista’s Hipon Joke and Kris Aquino’s Hilarious Slip

You have got to be not from hereabouts if you have not heard that comedian Ramon Bautista ran afoul of Davao City’s officialdom after his less than tasteful hipon joke during the Kadayawan Festival.

In a nutshell, Bautista was supposed to have said, “Maraming hipon sa Davao!” Obviously, it was intended as a joke. However, city officials had taken offence and declared Bautista persona non grata.

This despite the fact that he had gone back onstage to apologise to the crowd and that he did so again via social media.

First things first: the supposedly offensive hipon joke. The poor shrimp never would have guessed that its name would become contemporary slang for something it does not deserve at all.

Everything boils down to perspective after all. Even my own Mom used to say that the head was the tastiest part of the shrimp.
When I say contemporary, I mean very contemporary. In fact, I had to ask one of the younger men that I play football with what it means just a few months back. In other words, as Tagalog slang, it is definitely not my generation; else I would know all about it.

The web site Urban Dictionary defines hipon in contemporary terms as “a person who has a sexy body but a really ugly face.”

If I am being honest, the Urban Dictionary definition comes across as rather lame. At street level, the definition goes something like this, ‘Masarap ang katawan, tapon ulo.’

Thus, hipon as contemporary slang appears to be one used in a very sexual context. In my generation, a similar if not exact slang was ‘People’s Journal.’ One bought a copy of the tabloid to cover the face with.

All these may sound chauvinist but the truth of the matter is that the derogatory slang is gender neutral. In other words, it can as easily apply to men as to women.

Back to Bautista, as a comedian I consider him only moderately funny; and certainly nowhere near the league of, say, Vice Ganda. From what little I have seen of his shows, his genre appears to be more black humour than wholesome fun.

Therefore, the hipon joke – if at all it was – was exactly the sort to expect from him. Why invite him then and be onion-skinned about that which he was invited for?

Had I been among the organisers, since I would be the one paying him, I would have given him a briefing on what was and what was not acceptable long before his script was written. That is, if I hired him at all because as I said, I do not even find him particularly funny.

This is not to condone the hipon joke though, which falls very much under the category of tasteless jokes. Black humour or not, Bautista really should have known better than to insult his gracious hosts.

But persona non grata? Much ado about nothing.

I do not believe that a lot of people in the live show would have taken offence. I have been to Davao several times and there are as many people blessed with good looks as there are those who are not.

It is the same in every city. God is fair; and not that physical looks are all that even matter.

At any rate, on to the Aquino and Abunda show on ABS-CBN last Wednesday when Kris Aquino had Judy Ann Santos as her guest but – of all things – preferred to initially talk about Bautista and the hipon fiasco.

Kris took a different view with the definition of hipon in contemporary terms; and to be fair, she had a point. Still, she definitely has the propensity for saying NOT the right things; but in this case her choice of words turned out hilarious without her even intending them to be so.

“Just to clarify ang ibig sabihin ng hipon ay ‘yung sexy ang katawan, not so desirable (she gestured with her hands to mean the face). Pero in a way that’s wrong ha! Kasi most Pinoys love the head. ‘Dî ba sinisipsip talaga ang ulo?”

And all the while, Juday was ready to fall from off her high stool in laughter. Those who watch Aquino and Abunda know that Kris does not think twice about asking guests point blank questions about sex.

It was hilarious, therefore, that she was the last in the studio to realise that her choice of words could definitely be interpreted in very sexual terms. Still tickled, Juday waved a finger at her and laughingly uttered, “ng hipon!”

Was it a Freudian slip, Kristina? Wink.

Everyone else in the studio must have been doubled over in laughter because Kris admonished them, “Kayo lang marurumi ang isip... I’m referring to hipon and that's what it means, right?”

This was a very pleasant episode of Aquino and Abunda. For one thing, it made me smile to know that the beautiful Judy Ann Santos, who is frequently prim and proper on cam, could be so bawdy. She was on to the hilarity of Kris’ choice of words long before the latter was.

Also, that Kris Aquino, who belongs to one of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful families, does what common people do with the shrimp head and knows how to suck on it. In describing what to do with the shrimp head, she was probably also wondering out loud why the city officials of Davao had taken offence.

Everything boils down to perspective after all. Even my own Mom used to say that the head was the tastiest part of the shrimp.

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