"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Basic Words in Chavacano + How To Get Around

How are you?

You know some of you have made my day by dropping comments and it just makes me feel inspired that I am doing something thoughtful in your lives. Want an example?


Thank you Ms Say for sharing your story. I'm glad that the prize you won  from my blog giveaway has helped your kids learn to read. I would also try to see how I could grab a copy of the second one and hold another giveaway. Even Ms Theresa explained to me that she went out to buy the same book just so she could read it because she didn't win the said giveaway! =) 

It just gives me the idea that the ladies I am reaching out to are also bibliophiles and I think I can share some of my books too.  It's really pleasant listen to you and please keep me updated! Now I am more inspired to gather some great books and share them with you. =)

So are you ready for a quick Chavacano lesson? Let me give you some quick facts too. So, exercise your tongue and here we go. 

Introducing Yourself

Well, let me be honest with you. Some people can tell if you are not from around here. It's easy. You don't speak the dialect. Even if you have picked up a few words, the intonation and accent gives you away. But don't let this fact stop you from learning. Chavacano de Zamboanga is a rich language that could be fun only if you have the patience to learn it. It may take time for you (as with all languages) to pick up the right fluctuation with words, but with enough immersion, you can blend in just like a local.

Chavacano is referred to as broken Spanish. There are certain factors as to why it is so. First, it's not a formal language, and secondly, it's been integrated with many borrowed words from its users over time, like Cebuano and even Filipino. I will explain the historic fusion of Chavacano later on. 

So how would you introduce yourself? 

You can start with "Quetal ya?" / How are you?

"Mi nombre es Raisa." My name is Raisa.

"Estaba yo na Tetuan," I came from Tetuan.

Got it? Now you can put it together in a sentence. And most probably you will be bombarded with "Ah, cuando lang tu ya liga?" Ah, when did you arrive?

And you can get the ball rolling. 

Well, when referring to someone other than yourself, I have to give you a fair warning. You have to show respect by using "uste or ustedes, or simply te"  Some poeple might use "tu" or "bo/ kombo" but older Chavacano people find it rude. Try as much as possible to use uste or ustedes, "Quetal ya ustedes?"

Saying Please and Thank You

Now if you have been shown a great time around the city by really nice people, it could be worth your while to say please and thank you, especially if you tried some cool dishes during your stay here in Zamboanga. Yes, one way to get to know a city and its people is through the food that they offer you.

You might have heard of this one already. You can say please by "Pabor or por pabor," in a sentence "Pabor alcansa con el sal" Please pass the salt.  Another way, "Habla ya lang con ele por pabor" Let him know, please. 

And once you got what you wanted, always acknowledge it by saying "muchas gracias, muchisimas gracias" Thank you very much or many thanks. Saying thanks is a sign of good manners. =)

Hailing a Tricycle

Now one thing you should know about Zamboanga is that taxis are scarce.  What floods the streets are tricycles. Non-airconditioned, over-charging tricycles. (Don't say I didn't warn you.) But in order to get around like a local, you've got to do it with a tricycle. Jeepneys are fine, but if you're new and don't know where to get off, you might get lost or even be late for an appointment. 

So in order to grab a ride via tricy, simply raise your arm when you are standing at the side of the street, establish eye contact with the a driver and make sure that the sidecar is vacant. If it is, the driver will pull right over and you can get in. 

"Manong, para na airport." Manong, to the airport. 

You might experience some haggling with the fare and the driver might ask for some landmarks to confirm the location but other than that, it's a good experience to tour the streets of Zamboanga in a tricycle. 

Now I just wish there were calesas in town to make it attractive to more tourists. It would be a blast!

 It's not a Max's ad I swear...

How did you find this quick lesson? What other words and phrases would you want to learn? You can let me know in the comments and I can prepare a post for it too. You can still join my October giveaway here.

1 comment:

  1. Some were easy, some were hard. I can recall some basic Chavacano words. But if I will use it in a sentence? Waahhh! It's quite hard. I first became interested in Chavacano when I heard "Porque". What a beautiful song! I will bookmark this page so I can easily go back to your "lesson". Hihi!