Etymology of the Name “Taong Boondocks”

Before I go into why I chose the name, let’s start by breaking it down a little bit.

The first word “Taong” comes from the Filipino/Tagalog root word “Tao” (pronounced Tah-oh), meaning man or person.  It has an “-ng” ligature at the end, which links it to the second word, “Boondocks”, which is an Americanization of the Filipino/Tagalog word “Bundok” which means mountains. American GI’s couldn’t pronounce bundok properly (the ok at the end is pronounced like “oak”) when referring to the backwards, mountainous regions of the Philippines, so they called them the boondocks. As far as I can tell this is the only word that American English has borrowed from Tagalog. Put together Taong Bundok or Taong Boondocks would thus mean “Mountain Man”, which in Tagalog carries some of the same hillbilly/rustic connotations the phrase has in English.

So why did I chose a name like that? Here’s a few reasons:

  • It ties into my two years I spent in the Philippines on a mission for my church. I had originally intended to talk a bit about my time there on my other blog, Selenian Boondocks, but this is a more appropriate forum for such discussions/stories.
  • It also ties into my better-known, space policy blog, Selenian Boondocks (which would roughly mean Lunar Mountains, but with sort of a Lunar Hillbilly connotation).
  • I like the fact that we actually have a word in common usage in America that was borrowed from Tagalog.
  • I plan on using this blog to discuss some topics (religion, politics, etc.) that are typically considered inappropriate for polite conversation.
  • In some ways this blog is also sort of a blog about the person (tao) behind Selenian Boondocks.


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3 Responses to Etymology of the Name “Taong Boondocks”

  1. born01930


    Magandan umaga

    Hope to hear more of your Philippine adventures. I am married to a Pamangan and have a house in Mexico Pamp. Traveled quite a bit through Luzon, been to Cebu, Boracay, and Palawan. The caretakers for our place are from Pangasinan.

    Ingat lagi

  2. Jonathan Goff


    Talaga! I didn’t realize you were married to a Pamangan. Mexico, Pampanga looks like it’s pretty close to Clark Field Base? Our mission boundaries went from about Calasiao/Dagupan in Pangasinan, west to the coast, down through Zambales, all of Bataan, and Pampanga as far as Dinalupihan. But I spent all of my time in the northern half of the mission boundaries. So far haven’t made it back to the Philippines, but am hoping to in the next few years. Beautiful country and people. Fun languages. And everyone says that everyone else’s language sounds like birds. 🙂


  3. born01930


    As the crow flies Clark is not too far, as the Jeepney drives it takes about 30-45 mins. We have an SM and Robinson (JollyBee and Chow King as well of course) close by, they built a pretty big SM in Clark a few years back. I sit on my terrace and look at Mt Arayat, we have about 1/2 HA walled off and built up. It really is nice, surrounded by rice fields. My Father-in-Law had worked at Clark back in the 80’s.

    Go to 15 06′ 30.88″ N 120 42′ 51.69 E on Google Earth there is an image from 3/8/2012 which shows my place (the brown roof) Google maps has an older picture while the place was still under construction.

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