How to say Because in Chabacano

The photo above is a billboard in Zamboanga city. It belongs to a pharmacy that sells generic drugs. Here is my attempt on a translation: mom, the drugs are protected (meaning that the quality is maintained properly) because this area is air-conditioned or it is air-conditioned here. The area being referred to in the billboard advertisement might mean the factory where the drugs are manufactured, its storage area, or the pharmacy where the drugs are sold.

The Chabacano in the billboard received some negative feedback from netizens because of the allegedly wrong Chabacano used. Here are some of their comments:

Aron De La Verdad said: Mi opinión lang, debe gat se "Ma, el medicina ta está protegido porque airecondicionado aquí."
"Ma, el medicina estao protegido cay airecondicionado aquí."
"Ma, el medicina está protegido por causa airecondiciinado aquí."

(Just my opinon, it should really be "Ma, el medicina ta está protegido porque airecondicionado aquí."
or "Ma, el medicina estao protegido cay airecondicionado aquí." or "Ma, el medicina está protegido por causa airecondiciinado aquí.")

Ritchie Francisco meanwhile said: The ads is way understandable. (sic)

Andy Lee said: "Casi" is a Spanish word, which means almost! I don't know "Kasi" in the way it's used here. It's more a "Tagalog" term. I think the word should be "kay" or "Porque" !

Eric Gonzales said: sinverguenza el quien ya tranduci con este mga palabras... (The one who translated these words is shameless)

Nina Lacandalo-Nohay said: My guess is that billboard is there to stay because whoever approved the wordings thought that it's correct. Lastima cay el perder de aton lenguaje materna parte de aton ay perde tambien. (It's a shame because losing our mother tongue is also like losing part of ourselves)

Hermie Cabangon said: Mientras el Chavacano ta mescla entre montonada de otro lenguahe, no pwede kita controla cambio.   (While Chavacano is mixing with other languages, we can't control change)

*kasi is pronounced as it is spelled in Chabacano and not as 'kaseh', which is often its pronunciation by native Tagalog speakers.

In Chabacano, there are four different ways that people say the word because: porque, porcausa, kay, and *kasi. The first and second ones come from Spanish, the third from Bisaya or Ilonggo, and the last one is from Tagalog. I'm not sure how widely used 'porque' was in the past but today, it is very rarely heard. 'Porque' also means 'why' (although strictly speaking the word porque meaning 'why' should be spelled as por que) and when you hear someone use this word in Zamboanga city today, it often means 'why' and not 'because'. Porque meaning 'why' will be spelled by almost everyone as porque and not por que. Generally speaking, Chabacano speakers will use the word kay, maybe 99% of them. However, some young people today, will use both 'kay' and 'kasi'. As you may have guessed, the usage of 'kasi' is a very recent occurrence and will even be branded as incorrect Chabacano by some people.

As can be seen from the sentences below, the three words for 'because' in Chabacano can be used interchangeably.

No hay ele conmigo dale sen porque rabiao ele conmigo

No hay ele conmigo dale sen porcausa rabiao ele conmigo

No hay ele conmigo dale sen kay rabiao ele conmigo

No hay ele conmigo dale sen kasi rabiao ele conmigo

The example sentence above can also be said in a different way.

Rabiao kasi ele conmigo, poreso no hay ele conmigo dale sen.

If you speak Chabacano, you know that we can't substitute the word kasi in the first sentence for kay, porcausa or porque, This is because this sentence is very Tagalog (in terms of grammar) and not at all Chabacano. In fact, this manner of speaking has been adopted by young Chabacano speakers very recently (maybe in the 90s?). You probably won't hear many people in their late 30s speaking this way today.

Another example is no hay kasi tu aqui, poreso ya dale ya lang yo na otro. In English, this roughly translates to: you weren't here, that's why I gave it to another person. In Tagalog, this translates to: wala ka kasi dito, kaya binigay ko na lang sa iba. Using the same sentence and following the structure used in the sentences above, this sentence becomes ya dale ya lang yo na otro kay/porque/kasi no hay tu aqui. 

Speaking in Chabacano using Tagalog grammar is very rampant among Chabacano speakers in Tagalog speaking environments and those who are highly influenced by Tagalog media and TV. This is another testament to the ever evolving state of the Chabacano de Zamboanga.


  1. There is a different when written correctly the word Por Qué (why) and Porque (because).
    Porque and Cay are the same in meaning and as well Por causa for BECAUSE. The only difference is that "por causa" is the reason of the cause.

  2. Porque o Cay: (conjunción)
    ta usá si ta dale tu razon o tuyo defensá con el 'sujeto' na un oración.

    Por Causa: (Conjunción)
    Ta usá kita con ese como razón para disculpa na un cosa o con el tal persona.

    Ejemplo el usada del POR CAUSA
    Ya desgracia kita por causa contigo.
    Por causa contigo por eso kita ya desgraciá.
    We've got an accident because of you.
    Because you that's why we've got accident.

    No hay ahora aquí na mi disposición si jendêh por causa de mis padres.
    I will not be here in my disposition if not because of my parents.

    Ejemplo usada del POR CAUSA
    Necesita kita advocá aton ideología porque tiene kita todo los derechos para el bienestar de aton como un ciudadano de esta país.

  3. Ooops Error tipográfico. . ^_^ sorry.

    Ejemplo usada del PORQUE
    Necesita kita advocá aton ideología porque tiene kita todo los derechos para el bienestar de aton como un ciudadano de esta país.

    Necesita kita promové para legislá el Zamboangueño Chavacano como lengua oficial del Latino Ciudad de Zamboanga y creá el Academia de la Lengua Chavacana, un institución quien encargao y entregao para propagá, mejorá, desarrollá, enriquecé, estandarizá y intelectualizá el lengua materna de aton PORQUE este lengua de aton no es bastante como lenguaje lang. el lenguaje es cultura, identidad, patrimonio que ta definí de aton Etnia como Zamboangueño, entonces Una vez hay desaparecé aton lenguaje hay desaparecé también el de aton etnia (Ethnicity). ^_^

  4. Or in Chavacano de Filipinas (ATL version of Chavacano):
    "Ma, la medicina está protegido porque climatizado aquí" (formal)
    "Ma, la medicina e'tá protegi'o po'que climatiza'o aquí" (slang)