The Author

My name is Jerome Herrera and I started to take interest in my mother tongue when I began to self-study Spanish and I discovered the many glaring similarities between the two languages. This led to a journey of discoveries, a journey filled with awe as I learned how different languages, time, and people shaped the modern Chabacano de Zamboanga language. 

Aside from the Chavacano language and personal finance, I am also an advocate of donating blood regularly. Last August 2018, I received the Blood Galloner award from Red Cross.

Learn more about me. Visit my personal blog All I Can Handle and Follow Me on Facebook!

Why Bien Chabacano?

Said in Castilian Spanish, the word Chabacano means rude and of bad taste. However, in the Chabacano de Zamboanga, Bien Chabacano simply means "very Chabacano". In this context, Bien Chabacano is something that you would call a person who speaks Chabacano very fluently and uses deep Chabacano words.

What I Blog About

In this blog, I write everything and anything about the modern or contemporary Chabacano de Zamboanga (contemporary at least for people who were born in the late 80s). Bien Chabacano is divided into seven different topics:

Why English?

You might find it strange that a blog promoting Chabacano is written entirely in English. Well, let us not forget that Jose Rizal wrote his novels in Spanish. I chose to write this blog in English because I felt like it was the best language to communicate with the blog's intended audience, the youth. While this blog seeks to promote the Chabacano language, it does not encourage people to stop speaking Tagalog, Cebuano or English altogether.


While Chavacano and Chabacano are used by people from Zamboanga, more people spell the name of the language with a 'v' and will even go as far as saying that spelling it with a 'b' is incorrect. Some people say that the reason why Chavacano (with a 'v') is the more used spelling is because people want to differentiate the language from the Castilian Spanish word meaning of bad taste or rude. However, I chose to spell the name of the language with a 'b' because it is the spelling recognized in the Diccionario De La Real Academia Espanola (dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy. If one consults the said dictionary, Chabacano is not only defined as being rude or of bad taste, but also as a language spoken in Zamboanga, Basilan, and Cavite wherein a large part of the vocabulary is Spanish. In this blog, I normally spell the name of the language with a 'v' when referring to the variants in Cavite, and Ermita (as well as other special instances). The way I see it, Chavacano is an endonym for the language in Zamboanga city. Using 'v' makes some people who are familiar with Spanish uncomfortable but using 'b' makes it sound foreign for Zamboangueños. Anyway, it is essentially the same language and whether you spell it with a 'b' or a 'v' depends on your politics.

I use three different types of spelling Chabacano words in this blog. Sometimes, I spell words as they are pronounced using Filipino spelling. Sometimes, I spell the words using the Spanish word that it originated from using Spanish spelling. And at times, the Chabacano words in this blog are spelled as they are pronounced using Spanish spelling. Words that originate from Philippine languages (like Cebuano and Hiligaynon) are mostly spelled as they are pronounced in Chabacano using Filipino spelling.

Some texts in this blog are in Spanish (mostly to compare Chabacano and Spanish). However, my Spanish is not perfect and you may see some errors from time to time.

Mission and Vision

Today, the Chabacano de Zamboanga is facing a lot of battles in different fronts, Cebuano, English, and Tagalog are all formidable languages that threaten the Chabacano de Zamboanga. The increasing number of migrants and the fashionability of speaking in Tagalog and English are all leading to the decreasing fluency of the Zamboangueño youth in the Chabacano language. If you ask young Chabacano speakers how they feel about their proficiency in the Chabacano language, most will say that they feel they are not fluent in the Chabacano language. I actually feel the same way. Even though Chabacano was spoken in the house where I grew up, I spoke Tagalog when I was in school (initially because it was a policy at the evangelical Christian school where I studied and later because I got used to it).

Clearly, the youth has lost its confidence and pride in speaking Chabacano. Bien Chabacano seeks to instill pride and improve proficiency in the Chabacano language among the young Chabacano speakers by talking about its rich and colorful history and demystifying its grammar's many intricacies and nuances. This blog also aims to reinvigorate the usage of Chabacano among the youth of today by reintroducing words that have fallen into disuse as well as become a one stop resource center for the Chabacano language.

Friend, thanks for taking the time to read the articles in this blog. Truly, the Chabacano de Zamboanga has a very rich and colorful history and it is high time that we know about it. I hope that through this blog, you will have a stronger sense of pride in our language and I hope that you will join me in this rediscovery of the past as we look forward to a better future.