9 Chabacano Words You Didn't Know Were From Hiligaynon (Ilonggo)

Most people think that the Chabacano in Zamboanga is Spanish mixed with Cebuano (Bisaya) and the Chavacano in Cavite is Spanish mixed with Tagalog. However, I have recently discovered that there are some Chabacano de Zamboanga words that actually came from Hiligaynon (Ilonggo).

The first word that I discovered was of Hiligaynon origin is amon. When I learned that this word which we use a countless number of times in daily speech is of Hiligaynon origin, I immediately set out to find other words in Chabacano which are from that language. I just couldn’t believe that only a single Hiligaynon word can creep into Chabacano and a pronoun at that!

Here are ten Chabacano words that you may not know were from the Hiligaynon language.

1. Subay (Ant)

Chabacano: Tiene subay na tuyo detras.
Hiligaynon: May subay sa likod mo.
English: There are ants on your back.

2. Hutik (Whisper)

Chabacano: Tiene yo cosa man hutik contigo.
Hiligaynon: May hutik ko sa imo.
English: I have something to whisper to you.

3. Anay (Adverb of time which is equivalent to the Tagalog muna but doesn’t have any direct translation in English)

Chabacano: Espera anay yo con ele.
Hiligaynon: Hulaton ko siya anay.
English: I'll just wait for him/her, I'll wait for him/her first.

4. Himus (To arrange things, a synonym is arregla)

Chabacano: Man himus ya yo coneste.
Hiligaynon: Himuson ko na ni.
English: I'll be tidying this place up.

5. Buli (Buttocks)

Chabacano: Grande tuyo buli.
Hiligaynon: Dako buli mo.
English: Your butt is big.

6. Tiku (Curved/ Crooked)

This word is spelled as tiko in Hiligaynon but it is pronounced as tiku in both languages. Some Chabacano dictionaries spell this word as tikuh.

Chabacano: Tiku el linea na tuyo papel.
Hiligaynon:Tiko imo linya sa papel.
English: The line on your paper is crooked (not straight).

7. Basi (Maybe)

Chabacano: Pone tu sunblock na tuyo cara kay basi queda tu negro.
Hiligaynon: Magbutang ka sang sun block sa guya basi mag itom ka.
English: Put (some) sunblock on your face because you (skin) might darken.

8. Amo (Correct)

The word amo can mean two different things. In the first sentence, amo means correct while in the second sentence, it is used as a discourse particle to emphasize the subject. The Chabacano amo is used in the same manner as its Hiligaynon counterpart.

Chabacano: Amo gayod.
Hiligaynon: Amo guid.
English: That's right.

Chabacano: El Señor man amo el primero quien ya anuncia acerca de este salvacion. Y aquellos quien ya oi con ele, ya manda tamen sabe canaton que todo el di suyo maga palabra verdad.
Hiligaynon: Ang Ginoo mismo amo ang una nga nagbantala sang sini nga kaluwasan, kag ginpamatud-an ini sa aton sang mga tawo nga nakabati sa iya.
English: This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.

9. Bika (Straddle)

Chabacano: No tanto man bika.
Hiligaynon: Gamaya Lang pag bika.
English: Don't spread your legs too much.

There are other words in the Chabacano language assumed to be from Cebuano (Bisaya) but may also come from Hiligaynon (Ilonggo). Unfortunately, because these words exist in both Cebuano and Hiligaynon, there is no way to tell for sure. Some examples are balus (balos), buling, anad, angay, and labut (labot). There may have been a great number of migrants from Iloilo in Zamboanga city in the past who spoke Chabacano as a second language and this may explain the manifestation of many Hiligaynon words in the Chabacano language.

Please note that I don't speak Hiligaynon and all of the Hiligaynon sentences (except the last one) presented above are courtesy of good friends of mine who do speak the language. The last set of sentences came from the bible. Sources: www.bible.com, www.biblegateway.com


  1. I disagree.
    Cebuano has influenced Chavacano far more than Hiligaynon.

  2. yes there are lot of cebuano words in chavacano de zamboanga

  3. what cebuano words are used in chavacano and which have no chavacano counterpart?

  4. ill enumerate them for you some other time in another post.

  5. If i may just ask, you used the word hulaton in one of your examples for both chabacano and hiligaynon. does that mean that hulaton is also of hiligaynon origin? and isn't there another word for wait in chabacano(i think it's espera/spera), so why not use that? Just curious.

  6. Hi Ramon. Thanks for pointing that out. That sentence was actually written in Ilonggo, I failed to change it to Chabacano.

  7. can you please give an example of the word kalayat with its english translation. thank you.

  8. Kalayat el casa: The house is in disarray.

  9. You are correct, Jerome.
    I've been telling this too to the other people but to my dismay, they always deny this assessment. I've also done the same before that most Austronesian words came from Hiligaynon such as: amon, kanato, aton, et.al. for the word Kita/Kame we cannot surely say that it came from Hiligaynon or Cebuano alone because these words are present in most Visayan Languages Family.

  10. What ever
    Came ya se quidao si cosa came quiere usa palabra si ya sale ba na otro planeta el un palabra so what???

    1. Thanks for your comment. The purpose of the article is simply to spread awareness among Chabacano speakers about how different Philippine languages influenced Chabacano. :)

  11. Quien ba ya purpia??

  12. Quien ba ya purpia??