Origins of the Chabacano Subay, Hutik, and more

The first word that I discovered was of Hiligaynon origin is amon. Amon is a Chabacano pronoun and it is used with de and con. Deamon means ours while conamon means to or with us. 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 Hiligaynon. I however was unsuccessful. I didn’t give up that easily though, I just couldn’t believe that only a single Hiligaynon word can creep into Chabacano and a pronoun at that!

Suddenly, an idea out of nowhere came to me. I thought that there are words in Chabacano which sounds like Cebuano/Bisaya but are not. I googled these words up and found out that these are actually Hiligaynon words: Subay, Hutik, Balus, Anay, Himus, Buling, Kalayat, Buli, Tiku,Amo, Anad, Angay,Labut, Hulum, and Dao.

The meanings of these words in both languages are the same. Here now are some sample sentences in Ilonggo and its equivalent in Chabacano (as well as a rough English translation).

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

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

Balus- Revenge *probably pronounced as balos in Hiligaynon
Chabacano: Manbalus gayod/gayot yo
Hiligaynon: Ma balos gd ko
English: I will have my revenge

Anay- Adverb of time which can mean the Tagalog muna but doesn’t have any direct translation to 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

Himus- To arrange things (a synonym is arregla)
Chabacano: Man himus ya yo coneste
Hiligaynon: Himuson ko na ni
English: I'll be arranging this

Buling- Dirt (a synonym is Chabacano is sucio *pronounced as susho)
Chabacano: Tiene tu buling na tuyo pantalon
Hiligaynon: May buling ka sa pants mo (a better Hiligaynon translation for this sentence is May higko imo pantalon
English: You have dirt on your pants

Buli- buttocks
Chabacano: Grande tuyo buli
Hiligaynon: Dako buli mo
English: Your butt is big

Tiku- Curved/ Crooked *probably pronounced as tiko in Hiligaynon
Chabacano: Tiku el linea na tuyo papel
Hiligaynon:Tiko imo linya sa papel
English: The line on your paper is crooked (not straight)

Anad- To be used to
Chabacano: Yan anad lang tu
Hiligaynon: Na anad ka lang imo ya
English: You're just used to it

Angay- To suit
Chabacano: Angay contigo
Hiligaynon: Angay sa imo
English: It suits you

Labut- Care *probably pronounced as labot in Hiligaynon
Chabacano: Nuay (no hay) yo labut or Nuay yo quever
Hiligaynon: Labot ko
English: I don't care

Daw- As if
Chabacano: Daw tan LBM man yo
Hiligaynon: Daw gina LBM ako ah
English: I think (It's as if) I'm experiencing LBM

Hulum- Soak
Chabacano: Hace hulum conel puerco na vinagre
Hiligaynon: ihulum mo na ang baboy sa langgaw
English: Soak the pork in vinegar

Other interesting Chabacano words which are actually from Hiligaynon are toilet words such as igit and tubul (probably pronounced as tubol in Hiligaynon). Igit is watery (or small) stool and tubul is hard stool.

Please note that I don't speak Hiligaynon and the sentences presented above are courtesy of a good friend of mine who does speak the language. The word amo is also found in Hiligaynon and has several meanings in that language. I found these texts (incomplete sentences) online and asked my friend what it means in these contexts.

Amo ina nga luyag ko nga padumdumon ikaw nga magmapisan ka sa paggamit sang...
Meaning: That (I ain't really sure if ina is the word that means that in this sentence and amo is something which just emphasizes it)

Ang Ginoo mismo amo ang una nga nagbantala sang sini nga kaluwasan, kag ginpamatud-an ini sa aton sang...
Meaning: Ang ginoo here is a subject, mismo means himself, and amo is a word that emphasizes himself.

The word amo in Chabacano is used exactly as it is used in the two sentences above. Here are two Chabacano examples which show how amo is used in Chabacano:

Amo 'se (ese) el hermano de mio amiga

No mas ya nega, el polis mismo, amo el ya coge contigo.
English: Don't deny it anymore, the policeman himself, was the one who caught you

Mio tata, amo el padrino del mio primo.
English: My father, is the godfather of my cousin

Most people think that Chabacano (de Zamboanga) is Spanish mixed with Bisaya and Chavacano (de Cavite) is Spanish mixed with Tagalog. But clearly, Chabacano vocabulary is Spanish mixed with Hiligaynon. So the next time you utter a Chabacano word that doesn't sound Spanish, think to yourself, it must be Hiligaynon.


  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, 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.