Origins of the Chabacano Cen

In Chabacano, not all people would know what the word dinero means. Instead, the word for money in Chabacano is cen.

I have come upon a website recently which said that the word cen is the word for money in archaic Spanish. I cannot, however, remember the website where I found it. In Chabacano, this word refers to money (in general).

Here are some examples of how it is used:

Chabacano: Tiene tu cen?
English: Do you have (any) money?

Chabacano: De quien money ese?
English: Whose money is that?

Chabacano: Dale conmigo cen.
English: Give me (some) money.

I watched an episode of Mari Mar on Youtube in Spanish wherein she referred to money as cen. I asked my Mexican friend if there are people who say the word cen instead of dinero and she jokingly told me that a poorly educated person might speak like this. 

Since we’ve been talking about money, would you know how to say: save money in Chabacano? The idea of saving money is not present in every culture and thus cannot be translated directly to all languages. In Chabacano, we say esconde cen, or ajunta cen to mean to save money.

If you look at it, these two expressions literally mean to hide money and to collect money respectively. Figuratively though, they mean 'to save money'. These are in fact, Chabacano idioms.

Here are some sentences using these Chabacano idioms.

Chabacano: Ta esconde ba tu cen na banco?
English: Do you save money in the bank?

Chabacano: Ajunta tu cen para puede kita compra casa algun dia.
English: You save money so that we can buy a house one day.


  1. In Caviteño to save money is "gualdá cualta,"
    gualdá from Spanish guardar, cualta from Spanish cuarto (an old Spanish coin made of copper).

    I believe 8½ cuartos = 1 Spanish Real (Spanish currency until 1864).

    In modern Spanish the expression "tener cuartos" means to have a lot of money.