Counting numbers with the fingers in the Philippines

Came from Julie’s Bakeshop with three still-hot-from-the-oven cheese breads (pan init). This bakeshop is right in the center of Bogo, right in front of one of the two big supermarkets here in Bogo, that’s why it’s loud and crowded all the time. So I said out loud that I wanted three cheese breads while at the same time showing the woman (tindera) three fingers–in order to be sure that there’s no miscommunication. Checking out the bag back home later, I was disappointed big time. Instead of three cheese breads, there were only two in the bag!

Now I know why, because I made the mistake of showing her the number 3 “European style”:

The European finger sign of the number 3

But here in the Philippines, that would be number 2.

If I wanted to express that I wanted 3 pieces, I should have shown her my fingers this way:

The Filipino finger sign for the number 3

So today I learned about counting numbers the Filipino way.