The Chabacano Moho

My brother recently asked me why the word moho in Spanish means sauce but means 'mold' in Chabacano. My brother thought that this word was spelled as mojo in Spanish because in Chabacano, the 'h' in moho is not silent. I have however in the past heard one or two people say this word with a silent 'h' in Chabacano. 


I did a quick survey in the office and asked them how they would spell this word and most said that they would spell it with a 'j' and pronounce the 'j' like in Spanish or the equivalent of the English 'h'.

Some people I know think that moho means 'spoiled food'. This is most probably the result of Chabacano being mainly a spoken language. When enough people say yan mojo ya or even mojo ya ese when talking about spoiled food, more and more people will think that mojo means 'spoiled food'. 

The noun moho in Chabacano can become a verb by adding man at the beginning and it will mean molds growing on (something).

Chabacano: Ya man moho el pan.
English: Molds grew on the bread.

Camins' Chabacano dictionary spells this word as moho while Santos' dictionary spells it as mojo.

Other words in Chabacano that are spelled with an 'h' in Spanish but are pronounced by many with the English 'h' are the following almohada (pillow) and hinca (hincarse). Santos' dictionary spells almohada as almujada while Camins' dictionary doesn't have this word. A friend of mine even commented to me that he hears some people pronounce the 'h' in habla like the 'h' in 'hat'.


  1. Sabe yo el moho ese tiene ya ta crecí un cosa verde na comida . . . Aquel spoiled amo "pah-nus, manuciao, pasao". :-)

    Igual también que como ta habla kame . . "Si después jugá basketbol, no poné enseguida con el camisa adentro junto con el mana ropa sucio sino dejá anay seca para jendêh man moho."

  2. Interesting article, amigo. It's nice to see you publishing something here again.

  3. My mom pronounces "moho" as "mojo", it's an old Spanish pronounciation that survived in some dialects, but it's basicaly dead as only elder people use it and younger ones (as me) pronounce "mo" and some others "mo-o".