A Certificate Written in Chabacano

I was browsing a forum about the latest developments from Zamboanga city when I stumbled upon this photo and I would be crazy not to share it with you.

Source: IG: @yeap.fou

What makes this photo worth sharing is that this type of document would normally be written in English so this is definitely a big step towards preserving the Chabacano language. First, let me just give you some background information on the photo. Zamboanga city is currently celebrating a month long festival called the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival which climaxes in the Fiesta Pilar. The Fiesta Pilar happens on the feast day of our Lady of the Pillar. The certificate in the photo is a certificate given to exhibitors during the Zamboanga Art Exhibit, one of the activities held in the festival.

What caught my attention in the document was the word certifico. I know! It sounds like a Spanglish word! However, both my dictionaries list the word certifico as the Chabacano word for certificate. The Spanish certificado does not appear in any of these two Chabacano dictionaries. I also did some research on the word certifico and it looks like TV Patrol Chavacano also uses it.


What is strange is that when I found this old birth certificate, it does look like we were using the word certificado in official documents. Perhaps, we can conclude that certifico is one of those Chabacano words which emerged during the latter half of the 20th century when English fluency in the country was at its height and Spanish fluency was almost non-existent.