'HILAS' is Visayan for obscene. But for those who understand and use the word as we understand it, the word obscene is not enough to describe what 'hilas' illustrates.
To those who are not acquainted nor familiar with 'hilas' and the negative emotion it evokes, it's a level of obscenity that can make the hair on your nape stand on ends.
That most of us know 'hilas' is our advantage over non-Visayan speaking Filipinos, we understand the depth of obscenity 'hilas' means. Much like the 'hilas' we felt upon learning that yes, presidential son and outgoing Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo is nominated to seek a seat in the House under Ang Galing Pinoy party list, and that the party list represents a marginalized sector composed of security guards.
With no turf to speak of because his mother President Gloroa Macapagal-Arroyo wants the Congress seat he is now occupying, Mikey gave way and opted not to run for 'reelection', only to pop up in the party-list race. Hilas.
It's the same teeth-grinding feeling we got when the President announced that she has not had enough of public service and thus was running for Congress in Pampanga.
It's also that funny feeling in the tummy as you watch campaign advertisements on television like corrupt officials demanding explanations for corruption, and politicians and their ilk trying to convince us that they represent change even as they epitomize traditional politics.
It's the same feeling you get upon hearing retired general Jovito Palparan and his partner Pastor Jun Alcover saying we live in a city run by terrorists and allies of rebels as if Dabawenyos still do not know how we want our city to move forward.
Now that you are familiar with the feeling, let us as a city nurture that instinctive reaction to feel 'hilas' because it's what allows us to instinctively know when we are being taken for a ride and who is out there to hoodwink us just to forward their own selfish interests.
Let us hone this sense and develop our distaste of what is obscene so that we will not be tempted by promises for instant gratification that come in the form of cash, rice, noodles, and canned goods.
What we have to keep in mind is that technical and vocational scholarships by the Technical Skills Development Authority, health coverage by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and major public infrastructures are programs of the national government and not by individual politicians, and that giving out of cash, rice, noodles and canned goods to push for a candidate are not allowed by law and are thus resorted to by law-breakers and the corrupt.