Bilat is Trending After Kamala Harris' Visit to the Philippines and Twitter is Blushing

Bilat trending after Kamala Harris visit to Philippines

( Twitter was blushing after a senior U.S. government official used the shorthand for bilateral meeting -- bilat -- to refer to the sit-down between President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and American Vice President Kamala Harris.

See, bilat in diplomat speak is not the same as bilat in Cebuano. It's the kind of lost in translation that makes kids giggle when saying the name of Thor director Taika Waititi out loud. Or when Tagalog speakers hear the Ilocano words kabatiti, utong and poqui-poqui.

Also read: Are Tagalog and Filipino the Same? Fil-Am Actor Nico Santos Got Twitter Curious 

More recently, Drag Race Philippines star Eva Le Queen introduced the nation to Cavite's native fish -- the tampalpuke. We can go on and on.

Bilat vs bilat

Bilat, shorthand for bilateral meeting, happens between high officials of two governments, in this case Marcos Jr. and Harris. Bilat in one of the Philippines' main languages, is reserved for adult talk.


The unintentionally blush-worthy tweet was from Phil Gordon, an assistant to U.S. President Joe Biden and National Security Adviser to Harris. At 6:30 p.m. on November 23, bilat was tweeted 4,500 times.

Harris was in the Philippines to meet with Marcos Jr. and visit Palawan that faces waters claimed by China and where Beijing has built fortresses over reefs that are within Manila's Exclusive Economic Zone or EEZ.

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