Origins the Chabacano Escucha

One of the things that can make Spanish a bit confusing to somebody who speaks Chabacano is the words which exist in both languages but would have different meanings. One of these words is the Chabacano escucha. I had a hard time adjusting to the fact that the Spanish escuchar means to listen.

In Chabacano, escucha means to peep. What makes it more confusing is that the Chabacano meaning of this word doesn’t go very far from its Spanish meaning. I can imagine a Spanish speaking guy and a Chabacano speaking guy standing in front of a door. The Spanish speaking person tells the Chabacano speaking person, “escucha” (meaning listen). The Chabacano speaking guy (misinterpreting the command) opens the door slightly and tries to take a peek into the room instead of harking which was what he was asked to do.

Here are some sentences in Chabacano which uses the word escucha.

Chabacano: Escucha daw anay afuera. Dao tiene man gente na gate.
English: Can you take a look outside? I think there’s somebody at the gate.

Chabacano: Ya escucha yo adentro del aparador de mama. Sabe ya yo cosa el suyo regalo para conmigo.
English: I took a peep inside mom’s closet. I now know what her gift is for me.

Chabacano: Ta senti yo dao tiene man quien ta escucha conmigo.
English: I feel like somebody’s peeping on me.

The Chabacano escucha is also spelled as iscucha.

A very interesting word which is related to escucha is escucharul. I am not sure as to what era this word originated from but I feel like it is a word that was first used as recently as fifty years ago. The word escucharul means peeping tom.


  1. 'Escucharul' is from 'eschuchador'.

    Same how 'sugarol' came from the word 'jugador' in Tagalog.

    1. Wow. You are very observant. Thank you for your contribution. :D

  2. Hi there Jerome. I am currently doing a thesis on Filipino creole languages such as chabacano and also the influence and legacy of Spanish/Hispanic culture in the Philippines today. I am wondering if you could help me get in touch with some native speakers of Chabacano to answer some questions about their opinions on this subject. Love your blog and keep up the good work!