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Sunday, December 1, 2019

A Sample of Chabacano Caviteño

Asina ta platica el lenguaje di niso  

Chavacano or Chabacano originated from the Spanish word chabacano which literally means "poor taste", "vulgar", "common", "of low quality", "tacky", or "coarse".

During the Spanish colonial period, it was called by the Spanish-speaking population as the "lenguaje del calle", "lenguaje de parian" (language of the street), or "lenguaje de cocina" (kitchen Spanish to refer to the Chabacano spoken by Chinese-Filipinos of Manila, particularly in Ermita) to distinguish it from the Spanish language spoken by the peninsulares, insulares, mestizos, or the elite class called the ilustrados.

This common name has evolved into a word of its own in different spellings with no negative connotation, but to simply mean as the name of the language with that distinct Spanish flavour.

However, most of its earlier speakers were born of mixed parentage Chinese migrants and Spanish and Latin American soldiers and civil servants during the Spanish colonial period.


The Merdicas were Catholic natives of the islands of Ternate and Tidore of the Moluccas, converted during the Portuguese occupation of the islands by Jesuit missionaries.

The islands were later captured by the Spanish who vied for their control with the Dutch. In 1663, the Spanish garrison in Ternate were forced to pull out to defend Manila against an impending invasion by the Chinese pirate Koxinga

A number of Merdicas volunteered to help, eventually being resettled in a sandbar near the mouth of the Maragondon river known as the Barra de Maragondon and Tanza, Cavite, Manila.

The invasion did not occur as Koxinga fell ill and died. The Merdicas community eventually integrated into the local population.

Today, the place is called Ternate after the island of Ternate in the Moluccas, and the descendants of the Merdicas continue to use their Spanish creole with Portuguese influence which came to be known as Caviteño or Ternateño Chavacano.


It also derived from the word chavacano which was coined by the people of Zamboanga. Six different dialects have developed:

Zamboangueño in Zamboanga City
Davaoeño Zamboangueño
Castellano Abakay in Davao City
Ternateño in Ternate, Cavite
Caviteño in Cavite City
Cotabateño in Cotabato City
Ermiteño in Ermita.

-The Chavacano language is the only Spanish-based creole in Asia.

-It has survived for more than 400 years.

-One of the oldest creole languages in the world.

-It is the only language to have developed in the Philippines (a member of Philippine languages) which does not belong to the family of Austronesian languages, although it shows a characteristic common to the sub-classification of Malayo-Polynesian languages, the reduplication.

-Zamboangueño Chavacano emanated from Caviteño Chavacano as evidenced by prominent Zamboangueño families who descended from Spanish Army officers.

-Most of what appears to be Cebuano words in Zamboangueño Chavacano are actually Ilonggo.

-Zamboangueños usually, though not always, spell the name of the language as Chavacano to refer to their language or even to themselves as Chavacanos, and they spell the word as Chabacano referring to the original Spanish meaning of the word or as Chabacano referring also to the language itself.

-Caviteños, Ternateños, and Ermitaños spell the word as it is spelled originally in the Spanish language as Chabacano.

There are also other alternative names and spellings for this language depending on the dialects:

-Zamboangueños-Chavacano, or Zamboangenio.

-Caviteño is also known as Caviten, Linguaje di Niso.

-Ermitaño is also known as Ermiteño.

-Ternateño Chabacano, Bahra, or Linguaje di Bahra.

-Davaoeño is also Davaweño, Davawenyo, Davawenyo Zamboangenyo, Castellano Abakay, or Davao Chabacano/Chavacano. Cotabateño is also known as Cotabato Chabacano/Chavacano.

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