The Chabacano Expression 'Coloring Colorao El Cuento Acabao'

It's funny because I have never encountered this Chabacano expression in my entire life and it was only when I went to Manila that someone introduced me to it. A woman in her forties whose father was from Zamboanga city and can speak Chabacano (but had never been to Zamboanga city) asked me if I knew the expression coloring colorao, el cuento acabao. Upon getting a blank stare from me, she explained that this is how her dad would end a story when she was a kid during story-telling time. I asked my dad, aunt, and uncle about this expression and only my uncle was able to identify it correctly. They are in their fifties. You can imagine that one would be hard pressed to find young Chabacano speakers who would be familiar with this expression.

The Spanish version of this expression is y colorín colorado, este cuento se ha acabado. The best English equivalent of this expression is and they all lived happily ever after.

In Chabacano, coloring means to blush or to describe the color of blush (as in coloring el punta de su nariz) and colorao is the color red.

I also posted this expression in a Facebook group and got some interesting responses.


  1. Yes, ¡Colorín colorao, el tiempo acabao! to end a story.

    In Caviteño to start a story, we say con aquel vez... (once upon a time...), which in Spanish would be había una vez or érase una vez.


  2. En España decimos «colorín, colorado, el cuento se ha acabado»

    'Colorín' es una variación de 'color'; 'colorado' es 'rojizo'.

  3. Meant to type, ¡Colorín colorao, el cuento acabao!