An Uzbek’s Conception of the Philippines

Hazrat-Hizr Mosque, Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Monday, October 20, 2014.

Two Muslim women lean on the wall, most likely contemplating life like Charlie Brown and Linus do, at Hazrat-Hizr Mosque.


Inside the Hazrat-Hizr Mosque — the latest reincarnation of it anyway. The original was built in the 8th century but destroyed by Genghis Khan in the 13th. This version is a 1990s restoration of its mid 19th century reconstruction.

In Kazahkstan, Kyrgystan, and Tashkent (northern Uzbekistan), no one questioned my foreign ethnicity. But in Samarkand, where most people actually speak Tajik over Uzbek, I don’t exactly look like a local. Like in any traveler hub, people assume I am some sort of Asian, and default to Japanese.

“Japanese?” asks one of the two men I encountered at the Hazrat-Hizr Mosque.

“Uh, no, Philiippine,” I answer, too tired to explain I’m actually American by birth.

“Ah, Philippine!” he reacts. He says something to the other man and they are excited to meet a Filipino. They start trying to explain something to me I can’t understand, so they use the body language of moving their two hands together, forming a triangle, or cone. “Philippine?” followed by something something.

“Uh….” I couldn’t comprehend. I thought maybe they were trying to make a volcano with their hands and say, “Yes, Pinatubo.”

But that means nothing to them. Meanwhile, a young boy nearby ignores us as he’s too consumed with his iPhone game or something. The men continue to move their hands together, saying a Tajik word, but then start making rooster sounds. “Coo, ca cooo cooooo!”

The other man joins in, clapping his finger tips as well. “Cooo ca coooo!” Suddenly I feel like I’m in a scene with the Bluths in “Arrested Development.” #arresteddevelopment

And then it hits me: their association with the Philippines is cockfighting, and their asking me if I come from the land of #cockfighting. Hilarious that that’s what they think of the country.

I smile and acknowledge. “Yes! Philippines. Cockadoodledooooo!”

Even the young boy, without looking up from his game, starts making rooster sounds.


View or add comments on the original Instagram posts.
View or add comments on the original Facebook page posts.

Next entry: Promenade of Mausoleums

Previous entry: The Story of Bibi-Khanym

back to top of page


Follow The Global Trip on Twitter
Follow The Global Trip in Instagram
Become a TGT Fan on Facebook
Subscribe to the RSS Feed

This dispatch is one of over 70 travel dispatches from the trip grouped and titled, "The Global Trip: 'Stan By Me." It's an archived compilation of Instagram and Facebook posts which chronicled a trip through three countries in Central Asia: Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

Next entry:
Promenade of Mausoleums

Previous entry:
The Story of Bibi-Khanym


Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.

Spelling or grammar error? A picture not loading properly? Help keep this blog as good as it can be by reporting bugs.

The views and opinions written on The Global Trip blog are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the official views and opinions of the any affiliated publications.
All written and photographic content is copyright 2002-2014 by Erik R. Trinidad (unless otherwise noted). "The Global Trip" and "swirl ball" logos are service marks of Erik R. Trinidad. v.3.7 is powered by Expression Engine v3.5.5.