MAKES A TITA?
A lot has been said about the definitive characteristics of what makes one truly tita, so I predict this list will simply be a version of many more updated ones in the future.
But how to tell if one is in the company of a certified tita? I believe it takes more than looking the part. Her values, antics and quirks, behavior, and personal preferences, all of which have been deeply ingrained in her during her youth, should all be taken into consideration.
For me, at the very core, a tita, essentially are the following:
KNOWS A LOT OF SUKIS AND GO-TOS
Warning signs: Say in a bargain or a bazaar, she zeros in on a particular stall or seller, and knows exactly which items to get. She has default answers to “Saan tayo kakain?” and it’s usually in family-friendly cafés with vintage interiors. Green Cross alcohol is her favorite antiseptic brand and she believes Safeguard soap does help keep you bacteria-free.
Raison d'être: Loyalty. When a tita finds something good, she sticks to it—and even recommends it to her friends. As a result, she has a lot of sukis and go-tos, and trust that she will stick to these until the day she dies.
DWELLS AND THRIVES IN HER QUIET SPACE
Warning signs: She often excuses herself to leave in exchange for some me-time in the oddest of situations, and then you’ll catch her sitting pretty and doing nothing... Or so you think—she’s actually taking the time off to calm her nerves, suppress evil thoughts, and imagine beautiful things!
Raison d'être: It’s not that she hates you; it’s just her tita instincts kicking in. Simply put, she has lost all ability to physically and psychologically handle anything that’s too loud or rowdy for her taste. Otherwise, she may get high blood pressure.
PREFERS TO BE CONSTANTLY AROUND NATURE
Warning signs: She seems to be perennially on vacation. That, or the sight of so many plants or a variation of pets (e.g. dogs and cats, lovebirds, a turkey, ducks, a goldfish, to name a few) thriving in her home.
Raison d'être: A tita is both prone to stress and isn’t. For one, she may fret at the little things that the majority would care little about (like the absence of a serving spoon). But at the same time, you won’t find her easily stressed, rattled, or shall I say, "shookt", because that is the essence of her tita demeanor.
As a result, a tita often likes to situate herself nearby calming waters, her garden where oxygen is abundant, or underneath a clear, sunny sky. These are just a few of the natural habitats of a true tita, especially for those residing in the Philippines.
IS A WELLSPRING OF WISDOM AND EXPERIENCE
Warning signs: You’ll find her often in deep thought, listening to music of her years, keeping to herself. Otherwise, she gives unsolicited advice and often talks like she knows everything, but to be honest, she actually does know everything. It may come off as annoying at times, especially to younger people who are unable to hear the truth at face value.
Raison d'être: A tita holds a certain wisdom that she owes to years of experience and inexperience, but remains wide-eyed and curious to what the elders have to say—and swears by it. So don’t be annoyed because it’s not wisdom that’s all hers. It’s because she’s a good listener and a sponge for knowledge, too.
So go have tea with tita and seek her advice!
NURTURES HER SENSE OF FORESIGHT
Warning signs: She’s got the natural inclination to bring baon everywhere—yes, even to the beach! And by baon, I don’t only mean junk food, tea bags, and the like, but also baon topics and jokes for awkward situations, heels for emergency events, petroleum jelly for multiple purposes, et cetera. The good part is, she serves as a wellspring of resources for the rest of the world and is always willing to lend.
Raison d'être: A tita is always ready and likes to plan ahead. Usually she bases her foresight on past experiences, but on a deeper level of titahood, she would probably rely on daily horoscopes, Feng Shui, or Tita Susan, our trusted astrologer. When all else fails, there's always her good ol' tita instinct to rely on—it's been sharpened through the years.
UPDATES HERSELF WITH WHAT'S USO FROM TIME TO TIME
Warning signs: When it’s all about going organic, you’ll see her try it from her food choices, down to her clothes, housewares, use of soil, mind-set, Likes and Follows, and everything else possible. But for other instances like, say, a Starbucks frappe goes on sale, she will definitely stay out of it.
Raison d'être: Simply put, a tita doesn’t get all jumpy and squeal-y at the mainstream things because she regards these as rather a bagets thing. But she will definitely try to update herself in efforts to keep up, so to speak.
HAS SPECIFIC NEEDS THAT SHOULD BE ATTENDED TO, LIKE, ASAP
Warning signs: Going on a two-hour trip to the province, or even just from Quezon City to Alabang, she’ll have to stopover at least two times to empty her bladder. She’s also the type who’s sensitive to external elements, such as perfume fragrances or too much sun or rain.
Raison d'être: Don’t mistake these things as a tita being high-maintenance. It all just comes with the overall package. I promise you, you’ll understand when you’re older.
CHERISHES ADVICE FROM ELDERS
Warning signs: She may be in her late twenties but she still heeds the advice she’s learned from her parents, grandparents or whoever “sabi nila” is pertaining to, and especially “no’ng araw”. So, she never talks with her mouth full and still tries to be home before midnight.
Raison d'être: Do not fall for that facade! If anything, the tita is heeding parental advice only now, as a result of being a notorious rebel in the past, and experiencing its repercussions first-hand today. The good news is, the tita has already tried and tested life for you so you won’t have to go through it all without an ammo of knowledge. Heed her advice.