How To Say 'How' in Chabacano

In the Chabacano de Zamboanga, there are three different ways to say the word ‘how’. They are que laya, que modo, and que chura. There are different variations of these three words. One can also hear these words as quilaya, paquilaya, quimodo, paquimodo, quichura, and paquichura. The ‘q’ in these words is also at times spelled with a ‘k’.

The beginnings or origins of que chura and que laya are a bit uncertain. Que modo obviously comes from the Spanish que and modo. It roughly means 'what manner'.

Que laya, according to the book of Dr. Esteban A De Ocampo on the Chavacano of Ternate, comes from the Spanish cual haya. This word in the Chavacano of Ternate is spelled as kilaya. An example sentence would be kilaya de mucho (from De Ocampo’s book). So as you can see, it is used just like in the Chabacano of Zamboanga. The only doubt that I have is that cual haya doesn’t seem to translate to anything in Spanish. I have even tried to ask a native Spanish speaker and she didn’t know what cual haya means.

The origins of que chura is also a bit murky. My guess is that it comes from the Spanish que hechura which would roughly translate to ‘what form’.

Here are some sentences in Chabacano using these three forms of the word how.

Chabacano: Que modo tu *lleva con el mga mesa afuera?
English: How would you bring the tables outside?

Chabacano: Que laya ba ta anda na Basilan?
English: How does one go to Basilan?

Chabacano: Que chura ba baila el mga gente loco?
English: How do crazy people dance?

The three forms are interchangeable. Not one is used more often as the other.

*lleva is pronounced usually as liba.