Origins of the Chabacano Tiangue

Here's something to consider. Did you know that the word tiangue may not necessarily mean the same thing in Cebuano and Chabacano?


When my mom wanted to buy some fish, she asked the tricycle driver in Pagadian to take her to the tiangue but she was so surprised when the driver took her to a shopping center with bargain stalls. She later found out that in Cebuano (at least maybe the one spoken in Pagadian), the word for a wet market was mercado and not tiangue.

In Tagalog, the word tiangge normally brings to mind places like Divisoria and Greenhills where one can buy clothes, accessories, shoes, electronics... practically anything at very low prices.

In Chabacano, the word tiangue means 'wet market' or a market which sells vegetables and maybe some fruits. In fact, we even have a verb formed out of this noun and that is man tiangue. Normally, when someone says he would go man tiangue, it means that he would be buying meat, vegetables, and maybe some fruit. In Camins' Chabacano dictionary, he defines this word as a market or a marketplace. He also gives changue as an alternative spelling for this word. In Santos' Chabacano dictionary, he defines this word as a native open market and spells it as tianggue.

I think the standard word for a market in Spanish is mercado but I don't think I've ever heard anyone use this word in Chabacano. Camins' dictionary doesn't have it either. Santos' dictionary does have it and he spells it as mercao. Leave me a comment below if you know this word. In Tagalog, they use the word mercado in news programs often to refer to 'market' in economics.

But here's the good news for all you hispanophiles out there. I never thought that a word as native-sounding as tiangue could be Spanish but it looks like it is! Collins dictionary has this word and labels it as a term used in Central America for small markets, booths, and stalls. In Mexico, they know this word as tianguis and it is an open air market or bazaar.