The Chabacano future tense and the Chabacano ‘man’

My friend who spoke Chabacano only with her relatives and would mix Tagalog and English with it thought that the future tense in Chabacano is indicated by the word ‘man’. I would hear her say man anda kame na iglesia manana. In this post (which I dedicate to her), I aim to clarify the Chabacano ‘man’, and explain how to form the Chabacano future tense.

In most books about the Chabacano language, it is explained that to form the future tense, one has to put the word ‘ay’ in front of the sentence. For example:

Chabacano: Ay anda yo na tuyo casa.
English: I will go to your house.

However, what most books about the Chabacano language will not tell you is that you can also NOT put the word ay and it will still be the future tense. Thus, in the above sentence, if we remove the word ay, it will still have the same meaning. Note that this word is also spelled as hay.

Chabacano: Anda yo na tuyo casa.
English: I will go to your house.

Here are more examples:

Chabacano: Mira kame cine OR ay mira kame cine
English: We will watch a movie.

Chabacano: Compra yo arroz OR ay compra yo arroz.
English: I will buy rice.

Chabacano: Reza yo para contigo OR ay reza yo para contigo.

English: I will pray for you.

Putting the word ay in front of the sentence is in fact only used as a way of emphasizing that you are speaking in terms of the future. In fact, if you will listen to Chabacano conversations, you will not always encounter the word ‘ay’.

Now let me talk about the word ‘man’. This word is used in front of verbs that are not derived from Spanish (like English or Tagalog). For example:

Man swimming

Man picnic

Man reply

Man ulan

Here are some sentences using the above words:

Chabacano: Cuando kita anda man swimming?
English: When will we go do some swimming?

Chabacano: Man picnic kame mañana.
English: We will have a picnic tomorrow.

Chabacano: Hinde yo man reply na suyo text.
English: I will not reply to his text message.

Chabacano: Segurao yo na man ulan luego.
English: I am sure that it will rain later.

It is important to note that putting the word ‘man’ in front of a non Spanish derived word also happens in the present and the past tense. For example:


Chabacano: Ya man picnic kame ayer.
English: We had a picnic yesterday.


Chabacano: Ta man picnic el dos.
English: The two are having a picnic.

Putting the word man in front of certain English verbs will change its meaning. For example:

Man rubber shoes= to wear rubber shoes

Chabacano: Man rubber shoes tu. (instead of usa rubber shoes.)
English: Wear rubber shoes.

Man nursing= to take up nursing

Chabacano: Man nursing ba tu? (instead of saca ba tu nursing?)
English: Will you take up nursing (college program)

Man Facebook = to go on Facebook

Chabacano: Man Facebook tu luego?
English: Will you be on facebook later?

The word ‘man’ can also appear in front of Spanish derived verbs such as:

Man Compra (which means to go shopping) *compra here is pronounced without a stress at the end since it is a noun

Example sentences:

Chabacano: Man compra kita mañana.
English: We’ll go shopping tomorrow.

Chabacano: Ya man compra kame ayer na mall.
English: We did some shopping yesterday at the mall.

Here are other words that are formed with the word man and a Spanish derived word:

Man Encuentro= to meet

Man Duda= to doubt

Man Cuento = to talk, tell, narrate or converse

Here are some examples on how these are used:

Chabacano: Man encuentro ba kamo dos luego?
English: Are the two of you meeting up later?

Chabacano: Por que ba tu ta man duda?
English: Why are you in doubt?

Chabacano: Mancuento le conaton cosa sila ya hace na Baguio.
English: He will be telling us what they did in Baguio.

Chabacano: Man fuguera kame luego.
English: We’ll be burning trash later.

Note that not all people use the word man encuentro to mean to meet up. Most people say man mirahan.

Fuguera is defined as a bonfire or any blaze produced by burning things heaped together in the Chavacano de Zamboanga Compendio y Diccionario by Rolando Arquiza Santos.

The word man can also be placed in front of words such as lejos, and junto and this will form a verb.

Man Lejos

Man Junto or Man Junto Junto

Chabacano: Puede ba man lejos ya tu conmigo?
English: Can you go far away from me? OR Can you leave me alone?

Chabacano: Man junto kita manana.
English: We will have a gathering tomorrow.

The word man lejos is actually something I heard from a song so i don't think it is used widely. Meanwhile man junto junto is something that I would hear often from the late mayor Maria Clara Lobregat. 

The usages of ‘man’ in Chabacano are very extensive and I can’t possibly cover it all in just one article. As the author of the Chavacano de Zamboanga Compendio y Diccionario by Rolando Arquiza Santos said, mastery of the usage of particles in a language is a strong indicator of native proficiency.

As for my friend who thought that ‘man’ means will, it is most probably my fault. I usually use English verbs when speaking in Chabacano. So I automatically say ‘man’ even before I say the verb and sometimes the verb comes out in English and sometimes in Chabacano. When I do decide to say it in Chabacano, it is already too late to take the ‘man’ back.


  1. i think in Cebuano, "man" is equivalent to "mag" because it's quite the same as how we use it (well, according to the scenarios you enumerated above).

    Chabacano: Cuando kita anda MAN swimming?
    English: When will we go do some swimming?
    Cebuano: Kanus-a ta MAG swimming?

    Chabacano: MAN nursing ba tu? (instead of saca ba tu nursing?)
    English: Will you take up nursing?
    Cebuano: MAG-nursing ka?

    Chabacano: MAN fuguera kame luego.
    English: We’ll be burning trash later.
    Cebuano: MAG-haling mi unya.

    and same context goes to:
    MAN swimming -> MAG-swimming
    MAN basket -> MAG-basket
    MAN encuentro -> MAGkita/MAGtagbo

    and so on...

    do you think this is another similarity between the two languages?

  2. How about the counterpart of "man" in Ermita Chavacano?

  3. Saludos y mil gracias por tu trabajo excellentisimo Don Geronimo,

    Tengo un pregunta sobre la gramatica de Chabacano. Como puede decir los verbos "ser" y "estar" en to lengua muy bonita? Y tambien, quales son los reglamentos de conjugacion?

    Un otra vez, muy mil gracias,

    Tu companyero en la (re)hisapanizacion de las Filipinas,

    Nieto de Aglipay

  4. De hecho, no tenemos conjugacion en Chabacano y estas palabras no las usamos en nuestra lengua. A veces, se utilizan esas palabras algunas personas pero por lo comun, no se utilizan. Gracias por tus amables palabras.

  5. Gracias por tu respuesto D. Geronimo. Entonces, como puede decir los proximas oraciones?

    "Ako ay Ilokano" (En Castellano formal: "Soy Ilocano")

    "Lumalaban si Pacman" ("El Pacman esta luchando")

    En summa total, quales son las palabras en Chabacano para soy/estoy, es/ esta, somos/ estamos, etc. ?

    Muy muchas gracias un otra vez.

    Nieto de Aglipay

  6. There is also what we called "Future perfect tense and Future progressive tense".
    Ever heard it?

    Here is the illustration.

    Future perfect tense is with a pattern of Modifier+Verb+Perfect tense form or equals to HAY+Verb+YA.

    Hay andá ya yo na tu casa.
    I'll already go to your house...
    I will really go to your house.

    In can also express as,
    Hay andá ya gayot yo na tu casa.

    For Bahra Dialect and Caviteñ Dialect, both of these Dialects of Chavacano languages used other modifier which is the " DI " modifier.

    Bahra》 Di indá yo na vos casa.
    Caviteñ》 Di andá yo na tu casa.