The Chabacano Gente Grande

For a few months now, I have been chatting with a Mexican girl to practice my Spanish. I always find it amazing how our humor is so similar. She relates to the jokes that I make which I know an American wouldn't.

There are also so many words that come from Mexican Spanish which are present in the Tagalog language. A very good example is the word tiangue. This word in Mexican Spanish means 'a small stall' or 'a booth in a market'.

Yesterday she was telling me something that made me say to her 'no me tientes'. Now my Spanish is not that good. I get by thinking in English and then translating it to Spanish. Now she asks me where I learned that phrase. So I tell her that it’s the word for word translation of something that we say in English (don’t tempt me). Then she explains to me, “porque aqui lo usan la gente grande”.

Now in Chabacano, when you say gente grande, you would be referring to 'adults'. I tried asking her what this word means in her language and she says that it means 'old people'.

Here is an example of how the phrase gente grande is used in Spanish:
-La gente grande ya no salen solos a la calle

Here now is a translation in Chabacano:
-El mga viejo hinde mas ta camina solo solo na camino.

The Spanish example means old people don’t go out in the streets alone anymore. The Chabacano translation means old people don’t walk in the streets alone anymore.

Here is an example on how we use the phrase gente grande in Chabacano:
-De gente grande el salida na TV.

Literally, this means that the TV program is for adults only (meaning it has mature content or it’s difficult to understand for kids).

Here is another example:
Ta abla el mga gente grande, kita daw mga bata, necesita dormi siesta. (Adults say that kids have to take a nap in the afternoon)

It is said that one of the reasons why we have so much similarities to the Mexicans is because of the galleon trade that used to go from Manila (picking up Chinese goods) to Acapulco in Mexico. Another historical fact that is worth mentioning is the fact that it was actually Mexico that was governing us during the time when we were under Spanish rule. Spain’s colonies were divided into different Viceroyalties. The Philippines, Mexico, Central America, California, New Mexico, and the Antilles were part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (or Nueva Hispania). The seat of the Viceroyalty was in Mexico.

By the way, in case you were wondering, if you say gente grande in Chabacano, it would mean 'a big guy or person'.