Chabacano language

From Academic Kids

Chavacano, (also Chabacano or Zamboangueño), is a Spanish creole spoken in the Philippines.

Chavacano is concentrated mostly in the provinces of Zamboanga, Cotabato with some speakers found in Ternate in Cavite. According to a 1990 census, there are 292,630 speakers. Speakers are also said to be found in one village in Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia. Some varieties based on the nearby regions are Davaeño spoken in Davao and Cotabateño spoken in Cotabato. There are three known varieties of Chabacano which have Tagalog as their substrate language are: Caviteño, Ternateño, and Ermitaño (extinct). The other varieties have Cebuano as their substrate language. Zamboangueño is the variety with the most number of speakers, being the main language of Zamboanga City.

The vocabulary is predominantly derived from the Spanish language, while the grammar is mostly based on indigenous structures. It is used in primary education, television and radio.


Historical development (Zamboangueño)

In June 23, 1635, Zamboanga became a permanent foothold of the Spanish government known as San José Fort. Bombardment of Muslim attackers, harassments of Muslim pirates and the determination to spread Christianity forced friars to request Spanish reinforcements. Zamboanga or San José Fort was also a crucial strategic location.

The military authorities decided to import labor from Luzon and the Visayas. Thus, the construction work force eventually consisted of Spanish soldiers, masons from Cavite-who comprised the majority, sacadas from Cebu and Iloilo, and those from the various local tribes of Zamboanga like the Samals and Subanons.

Differences in dialect and culture made it difficult for one tribe to communicate with another. Add to this, work instructions were issued in Spanish. Majority of the workers were unschooled and therefore did not understand Spanish but needed to communicate with each other and the Spaniards. A lingua franca developed and became a full-pledged language still in use today, mainly in Zamboangga City.

From then on, constant Spanish military reinforcements as well as increased presence of Spanish religious institutions and educational institutions have fostered the Spanish creole.


The Merdicas were a tribe of Malays of Ternate in the Moluccas which was a small Spanish colony. And before this it was a Portugese colony. In 1574, the merdicas volunteered to come to Cavite to support the Spanish against the threat of invasion of the Chinese pirate, Limahong. The invasion did not occur but the community of Merdicas settled in a place called Barra de maragondon at a sandbar at the mouth of the Maragondon River. Today, the place is called Ternate and the community of Merdicas continued to use broken Spanish which came to be called Ternateño or Ternateño Chavacano.


Donde andas?.
( ‘Where are you going?’)
Ya mirá yo cun José.
( ‘I saw José.’)
Nisós ya pidí pabor cun su papang.
(‘We have already asked your father for a favor.’)
Ele ya empesá buscá que buscá con el sal.
(‘He/She began to search everywhere for the salt.’)
Ele ya andá na escuela.
(‘He/She went to school.’)
Mario ya dormí na casa.
(‘Mario slept in the house.’)
El ombre, QUE ya man encontra tu, mi hermano.
(The man [whom] you met is my brother.)
El persona, CON QUIEN ta conversa tu, bien bueno gayot.
(The person you are talking to is very nice indeed.)

The 'Lord's Prayer' in the Chabacano of Zamboanga


Tata diamon talli na cielo, bendito el di Uste nombre.
Ace el di Uste voluntad aqui na tierra, igual como alli na cielo.

Dale kanamon el pan para cada dia. Perdona el diamon maga culpa,
como ta perdona kame con aquellos tiene culpa kanamon.
No deja que ay cae kame na tentacion Y libra kanamon del mal.

Second Sample of Chabacano of Zamboanga

Trenta’y cuatro kilometro desde na pueblo de Zamboanga, Bunguiao un diutay barrio, estaba como un desierto. No hay gente quien ta queda. Abundante en particular de maga animal como puerco, gatorgalla, venao y otro pa. Maga pajariador lang ta puede visita con este lugar.

'Bunguiao, a small village, thirty four kilometers from the city of Zamboanga, was once a wilderness. No people lived here. The place abounded with wild animals like pigs, wildcats, deer, and still others. The place was visited only by (bird) hunters.'

Sample of Chabacano of Cavite

Puede nisos habla: que grande nga pala el sacrificio del mga heroe para niso independencia. Debe nga pala no niso ulvida con ilos. Ansina ya ba numa? Debe haci niso mga cosa para dale sabi que ta aprecia niso con el mga heroeque preparao din niso haci sacrificio para el pueblo. Que laya? Escribi mga novela como Jose Rizal?

'We can say what great sacrifices our heroes made to achieve our independence. We should therefore not forget them. Is it like this? We should do things to let it be known that we appreciate the heroes; that we are prepared to make sacrifices for our people. How? [should we] write novels like José Rizal?'

False Friends: Spanish words that changed in meaning

'Ya' denotes past tense. (Spanish: ya-already)

Siguro means 'Maybe'. (Spanish: seguro-sure, secure, stable)

Syempre means 'Of course'. (Spanish: siempre-always)

Pirmi means 'Always'. (Spanish: firme-firm, steady)

Basta - as long as (Spanish: basta enough)

maske - even (Spanish: mas que - more than)

See also


SIL code: CBK
ISO 639-2: crp


External link



Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools