Salonga as Kim in 'Miss Saigon,' 25 years ago
Salonga as Kim in ‘Miss Saigon,’ 25 years ago

Manila, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Yesterday, The Adobo Chronicles reported that Tony Award-winning Filipina actress Lea Salonga used her Facebook account to complain about people calling her ‘tita,’ a Tagalog word meaning ‘aunt’ or ‘auntie.’ She was apparently irate being called the term by peole who are not her “nephews, nieces, godchild or colleague.”

Salonga’s post was considered rude, elitist and diva-esque by many of her own fans who reacted with disgust on the comments section of her Facebook post. Many of the comments pointed out that calling someone ‘tita’ is a revered Filipino custom of showing respect, much like people in Hawaii showing respect by calling women ‘auntie.’

Today, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of ‘Miss Saigon,’ the musical that brought her worldwide prominence, Salonga apologized to her fans.

“If I hurt anyone with my words, please forgive me. But I’d still prefer not to be called ‘tita.’ It makes me feel old,” she said.

So, how then should she be addressed by fans?

“You can call me ‘Aling Lea.’ It sounds better with my name than ‘Tita Lea,’ ” she pointed out.

‘Aling’ is a a contraction of the Tagalog words ‘ale ng’ (miss or mrs. of) and shows respect for a woman who is not necessarily a relative or colleague. It is the male version of ‘Mang’ as in ‘Mang Tomas.’ As in ‘Mang Tomas Lechon.’

To Aling Lea, apology accepted. It does sound better. Aling Lea. Miss Lea. Miss Saigon.

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