There are few things that can titillate the Filipino quite like gossip. And when it’s gossip couched in a puzzle, well, you have the makings of one of the finest forms of Filipino pop literature: the blind item.
Equal parts bugtong, Katipunan-era codenames, current events and Tito, Vic and Joey (in unequal parts since Tito is not quite as funny,) blind items take subtle digs at politicians and public figures in the closest thing that we have to satire.
The format is pretty standard. It starts off with a litany of sins or blunders committed by the public figure. Source attribution is lax, with stories generally relying on reports “ayon sa ating bubwit (according to our mole.*)”
The meat of the blind item is in the reveal, where the identity of the target is hinted at through clever clues and wordplay.
Consider this gem that is, bar none, the best blind item ever according to our bubwits. The body of the article is about a senator who allegedly was a bit too touchy-feely with a female reporter, and the reveal:
Clue: Maliban sa pagiging political butterfly, kasing-tulis din ng paru-paro ang matandang senador dahil maraming ‘bulaklak ang sinimsim’, mula sa dating propesyon hanggang sa kauri nito.
Ito’y napakahilig sa mestisahin at merong letrang ‘A’, sa kabuuan ng surname, as in Ang hirap ng buhay habang taga-broadsheet ang lady reporter.–Spy on the Job
First one to guess correctly wins an Internet.
*strictly speaking , a bubwit is a baby mouse and is properly called a pup. But that wouldn’t have conveyed the same meaning.