When I was having my practicum in Cebu, I was assigned in the housekeeping department of a prestigious 5-star hotel for two (2) weeks. There, each trainee was paired with one housekeeper and together, we cleaned the resort’s cabanas.
I already forgot my partner’s name but he was some guy who was kind. And yeah, he was responsible for one of my funniest albeit most embarrassing moments during that practicum.
Housekeeper: (addressing me in their vernacular which is Cebuano) ‘day, can you get the BARLESS?
Me: I’m sorry, Kuya? BARLESS?
Housekeeper: (still in their vernacular) Yes, ‘day. BARLESS. Just five (5) pieces.
I honestly did not know what a BARLESS was but then there were too many things that I did not know of. I was a student having her practicum and I was there to learn things. Maybe BARLESS was one of them.
So from the cabana, I walked to the Housekeeping Department.
I’m a bubbly girl and I am told to exude a vibrant energy anywhere so the moment I walked in the room, I charmingly said in my perkiest of voices:
Me: Ate, can I ask for some BARLESSES? I need five (5) for Kuya.
The department’s par stocker looked at me as if I suddenly sported horns.
Ate: What BARLESSES?
Me: I don’t know, Ate. Kuya just told me to get the BARLESS. He said he needs five (5) so I made it plural. BARLESS, singular. BARLESSES, plural.
Ate: Oh. Okay. BARLESS. Here.
Then she handed me five (5) sheets of paper. I looked at it and I could have died right then and there as I read the heading.
It read: BAR LIST. And it detailed the liquors and drinks that the hotel’s mini-bar held.
Oh my God. BAR LIST as against BARLESS? I even tried to be grammatically correct, for heaven’s sake! Since he said he needed 5 of them, the grammar police in me came up with the word’s plural form. Aaaaargh!