Origins of the Chabacano Pono

The word for 'tree' in Chabacano is pono. This word possibly comes from the Tagalog puno which means the same thing. In the comments section below though, someone mentioned that it may come from Hilgaynon which also uses the word puno.

I recently have found out, that this word also exists in the Chavacano de Ternate. Now, because the Chavacano de Ternate is known to have existed before the Chabacano de Zamboanga, I believe that this word may come from the Chavacano de Ternate.

Although the Spanish word arbol also exists in the Chabacano de Zamboanga, it is not used anymore by today’s youth. Most young people wouldn’t probably even know the meaning of the word arbol. Both the words arbol and pono exist in the Chavacano de Ternate.

Here are some examples of how the word pono is used in Chabacano.

Chabacano: Cosa clase de pono ese?
English: What kind of a tree is that?

Chabacano: Pono de mangga ba ese?
English: Is that a mango tree?

Chabacano: Necesita kita siembra mas mucho pono.
English: We need to plant more trees.


  1. Hi Jerome,
    Please note that "puno" ('trunk of a tree' and, for extension, also the whole tree) is a word of many Philippine languages, not only of Tagalog. It exists for instance in Bisayan Hiligaynon (alsa said Ilonggo). It is therefore possible that "ponu" in Ternateño comes from Tagalog and "pono" in Zamboangueño comes from Bisayan.
    Feliz y prospero año 2013!

    1. "Ponu" of Bahra dialect may not comes from Tagalog but it is the other way around.
      i may say, it is due to the huge portuguese influence to the Bahra dialect. Specially the letter "U" at the last word of every Verb and Noun.

      Another example is abogau, cerrau, cargau, while the Zamboangueño dialect will spell these as Abogao, Cerrao, Cargao.

      So the dypthong "AU" may comes from portuguese same with "AO". :-)