The PinoyLife Guide to Not Being a Kuya

This actually wasn’t a BrownScene article, but an article that appeared on, which was a California-based site that really paved the way for our own online presence.

Sometimes, I wonder if the Editor, Moonie Lantion is still out there doing his thing. Moonie, if you are, holler at us.

Meanwhile, I post this article by Moonie out of nostalgia:

The Pinoylife Guide to Not Being a Kuya
by Moonie Lantion for

Disclaimer: This is not to be taken too seriously. It is not meant to put down Pinays but just to poke fun at the fact that most guys I know have been called Kuya and hated it.

I’ll make this real clear. This article is geared towards men. It is in no way meant to appease any women because it will reveal truths that are unspoken but very well known in the minds of most men. I write this to hopefully educate and enlighten my fellow Pinoy brothers in that they may minimize the amount of times they are called the evil word… KUYA.

Fellas, we’ve all been there. We go nuts over some girl and basically do everything to make her feel good about herself. We do all the sweet things that we could think of. We do stuff that we would NEVER EVER do for other people like cook for them, spend money on them, and dare I say it… take their mom to the market because she doesn’t have a car. Yes men, we’ve done those things and some of us have done even worse. And why? So that they would like us back in the hopes that we would become that special man in their lives.

Granted some of us… okay most of us do it so that we could get some action but hey, I’m just being honest.

But despite all the sweet and good things we do for the girl that we like, somehow… someway we get stuck becoming an entity that we despise. We get BRANDED by a name that will forever mean “I would never sleep with you but I like the shit you do for me”. That’s right men, I’m talking about that evil four letter word … KUYA.

For the non Tagalog speaking folks, kuya means “older brother”. But most young Pinoys see it as the “kiss of death” word. See, women think that it’s some kind of honor for them to call us kuyas. Not so. It SUCKS being a called a kuya from someone that isn’t related to you. We know that it’s just an easier way for a girl to say to us, “I’m flattered by your kindness but you are just too ugly for me to be with.” Why don’t they just tell us the truth. I would much rather hear the truth than to hear that I’ve been relegated to “brother” status.

We shall now examine a few scenarios that can lead to this ill-fated phenomenon known as being called kuya.

Most guys go through the same experience. A guy will meet a Pinay and realize that she is the cutest girl he’s ever met. He will then proceed to try to find a way to either get her phone number, name, and other contact information. If he even gets that far then a relationship begins which consists of phone calls, a letter maybe, some acts of sweetness (i.e. giving flowers, going out to a movie or dinner) and doing anything and everything to make her happy. Sometimes this leads to the guy becoming the boyfriend of the girl he is chasing after. Most of the time… here’s what happens. The girl is overwhelmed because of the fact that a guy is doing all this stuff for her. She then talks to all her freaking friends and is confused because she doesn’t really like the guy but she loves all the cool shit he’s doing for her. So she must find a way to keep him in her life and needs to communicate the fact that she doesn’t like him in that way without hurting his feelings. That’s where that stupid 4 letter word comes in handy. The end result is usually a conversation between the guy and the girl where the guy feels that he can no longer hold in his passion and feelings for the girl and decides to spill his guts. The girl will usually respond with a few sentences which always end in “I think of you as a kuya.” Remember that phrase guys, you have and will hear it alot.

However, there are other scenarios, some of which are even worse. For instance, you have a childhood friend that is a girl. You grow up together and know each other inside out. It is only until you get older that you realize that she is probably the love of your life. After years of denial, you come to terms with the fact that you love this girl like no other woman in the world and you honestly feel that in your heart, no other man could love her more then you. One day, you decide to spill your guts. All the time before your catharsis to this woman, you can’t sleep, you can’t eat, and you can’t think of anything else except for trying to say all the things you can possibly say to make her realize that you are the man for her. You begin to talk to her and your heart is pulsing wildly because you have no idea what will happen. You talk about childhood memories and how you’ve always been there for her and wanted the best for her. Then, when you tell her those three words… she is shocked. She is speechless. But of all the things that she could follow up the dead silence… she tells you something which will probably end in “I think of you as a kuya.” How’s THAT for a dagger in the heart eh?

The one thing that gets me though… we get called kuyas by these girls that we chase after, then they hook up with some ASSHOLE and gripe to us how much they wish someone treated them better.

This needs to stop!

The word kuya should only be used if you are a brother or older male relative. And here are some tips as to how to avoid being called KUYA:

1. As soon as you even hear that word, immediately tell the girl “please don’t call me that…it really sucks”

2. During the chasing phase of your relationship… whatever you do… do not drive her mom to the market. Only do that if your reach boyfriend status.

3. Tell her that you come from a dysfunctional family and that any type of familial references will bring up bad memories. It’s not lying if it’s for the sake of survival.

4. During one of your conversations, bring up the fact that you used to know a girl that would call every guy kuya and that men think that girls that do such things are skanks that just want attention.

5. Limit the amount of times someone calls you kuya in public. If your name is Joe, you don’t want to be remembered as the guy everyone calls Kuya Joe.

Fellas, we need to end this heinous wrongdoing. Whoever decided that it would be a cool thing to call us kuyas needs to be taken out and shot. It is only if we, as a collective male species, take the steps and work together then we shall be victorious in this battle against kuya-dom. Remember our battle cry:

You may not want me as your lover… but don’t you dare call me your brother.

Let your “kuya stories” be heard. Send email to and tell the PinoyLife readers your worst “Kuya” story.


21 Responses to “The PinoyLife Guide to Not Being a Kuya”

  1. Awww… if it’s any consolation boys…. girls get that too. Not sure how often, but it’s happened to me plenty of times.

    Being called “Ate” or “Ats” totally sucks.

    I think it would be appropriate to post the “Bubble Tease” piece here Len.

  2. jisthebestletter Says:

    Hahaha… sorry for laughing but it’s both true and funny.

    • Entendi seu ponto de viNsi.tasso não posso discordar de você.Tem toda razão.Até porque deus não existe fora das mentes das pessoas, segundo o próprio Saramago. 🙂

    • Wolfpack disse:Galante, naseu ai o casco tear drop?Obrigado pela lição de história.Mas sempre fica aquela questão, se os Alemães tivessem desenvolvido o fusil de assalto antes, se os alemães tivessem desenvolvidos mais aviões a jato, se os alemães tivessem investido em energia nuclear… Nós hoje na melhor das hipóteses estaríamos falando alemão e na pior não existiríamos, pois não existia nada além da Alemanha no horizonte nazista.Ainda bem que Tio Sam e os Russos foram lá e acabaram essa história.

  3. Yeah I’m still out here. Keep up the great work!

  4. How true, how true! Being called a kuya is one of the worst things that can be said to a guy who actually likes a cutey that over time becomes more than a cutey and someone who you really like. thanks for putting this up to remind me of the evil four letter word!

  5. it is SO evil!

  6. It sounds like the guys that end up like that don’t know how to relate to girls.
    It almost seems from what you describe as they start off acting like friends in the first place. Guys need to be up front with the girls right from the start.
    Take her out to dinner at a pace that sells drinks and sit close put your arm around her make some moves brother. If she won’t respond possitively then find somebody else don’t waste your time and money bro.

  7. Len, if you’re still reading this, I reactivated

  8. […] performances and I remember he even reviewed Lolo’s Child. Remember the classic article “The Pinoylife Guide to Not Being a Kuya”? That was Moonie. Moonie was a blogger before it was commonly called a […]

  9. This is probably the Pinay equivalent of putting a guy on the “Friend List.” If you’re romantically attracted to a girl, you never want to make the “Friend List.” This probably happens more often to us Filipino guys since we’re usually too sweet for our own good. [Usually] not as sexually aggressive as our counterparts of other nationalities—and prone to classic idea of romance—we tend to think that by being a gentleman, putting the object of our affection on a pedestal with small gifts, flowers & poetry, doing (unsolicited) favours and all the ‘little things’ that girls like, will eventually get us into their pant(ie)s. Unfortunately for us, until (most) girls get older, they don’t realize that we are perfect mates and think that by getting intimate with us, they would lose our ‘friendship’ and we’d stop doing all the nice things we do naturally… so we end up on the ‘Friend List.’ Once there, attempting to cross the line comes off creepy.

    You know you’ve made the list when you get the “I don’t want to ruin our friendship” line… or, of course, the ‘Kuya’ distinction.

    There is only one solution to getting of this terrible list to nowhere: Do it with one of her friends, and do it good. Pinays, and most women for that matter, are super-competitive with other women—especially their own circle of girlfriends. Once she finds out that your attention is now being lavished on another, her resulting jealousy can (and, usually will) put you in a new light.

    haha!… not joking.

  10. This is very hot info. I’ll share it on Facebook.

  11. i know this is old but this is just so true. its funny because my name is joe and i get called “kuya” a lot too.

  12. i have a filipina wife… call you “kuya” is just as same as calling you “bro”, “brother” in english. you have no chance with the girl. just friendship. it is another way of telling you to get lost. lol.

  13. Pinoy Blogger…

    […]The PinoyLife Guide to Not Being a Kuya « BrownScene – Urban Filipino Cool[…]…

  14. Bitter “friendzoned” beta males.

    Tol, di kayo marunong manligaw o magdate ng babae?

  15. Good day! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community iin the same niche.
    Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

  16. haha..True..! it is.. “frendzone” “frendlis” worst KUYA OR KOY..

  17. 1st time to visit here in your blog too, Hays I really also experience this kinda thing and I hate being called as kuya even I’m not her brother it suck to her and It hurts because actually I’m not that very old. Haha grabi sya

  18. Ghetto_Superstar Says:

    I have a pino wife and all her family call me kuya. and they call her ate

    I dont mind dont let things like that bother me

    but she a lovely lady and I am proud of her

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