Chavacano o Chabacano

Chavacano By: Franklin H. Maletsky: Zamboangueño – Chavacano

Palabra del dia – Word of the day: “AGUASA

Aguasa in English: Watery-
In Chavacano: El bata ya usa con su carabao y pajagat para man aguada.
In English: The boy used his carabao and sleigh to fetch water.

Chavacano – Chabacano: The original online Chavacano – English Dictionary.
El diccionario en línea original de Chavacano. Desde 1997
Email conmigo maga frase de Gracias. Man ayudahan kita.
Chavacano 0 Chabacano? El verdad Chavacano. Pero, no hay se problema con el Zamboangueño, kay ta usa man con el dos.
Email me some chavacano words and phrases: Gracias.

Chavacano to English Translation Dictionary
A • B • C • Ch • D • E • F • G • H • I • J • K • L • LL • M
N • Ñ • O • P • Q • R • RR • S • T • U • V • W • X • Y • Z

Chavacano LifeStyles

Translate English to chavacano or chabacano, simply click on the letter that the English word starts with below. 

English to Chavacano Dictionary
• • • • • • • • • • • • 
• • • • • • • • • • • • Z

El Chavacano vien vivo aqui na Zamboanga. Man ayudahan kita para engrandese el lenguaje de chavacano, el lenguaje del Zamboangueño.

Click on any letter to find the chavacano or english word you are seaching. Click on the word to see the corresponding translation. We have also included sentences in chabacano(chavacano) with english translations. Puede ustedes omenta palabras de chavacano o ase entra habladas del maga palabras chabacano.

Carabao pajagat.JPG

This picture was taken in Zamboanga City. The carabao is pulling the pajagat or sleigh. The man manages the carabao with the pamitik that he is holding. The big basket on the pajagat is the Canastro. That’s where the cargo goes. The yoke on the back of the neck of the carabao is called the ayugo.

Chavacano is the language of the Zamboangueños. Some refer to the language of the Zamboangueños as chabacano, which the Zamboangueños do not mind, as some of them refer to chavacano as chabacano. However, it is commonly accepted that if you are officially referring to the language of the Zamboangueños, then you might as well call it chavacano. Many zamboangueños pronounce the letters “V” as “B” , the “F” as “P” and the “Z” as “S”. However they may say “chabacano” but they will write it as “chavacano”, they’d say “prio” but they will write it down as “frio” or say “crus” but correctly write it down as “cruz“.

  • This comes out of the mouth of a Chavacano person: “Yo si RodolpPalcatan Crus. De samboanga yo y chabacano mi lenguaje.”
  • If he writes it down, it will look like this: “Yo si RodolfFalcatan Cruz. De Zamboanga yo y chavacano mi lenguaje.”

In this site you will find Chavacano words with translations and how they are used in sentences. The chavacano words are translated into english and spanish. Simple chavacano sentences are used as examples.

This site is open to all. We invite the Chavacano people around the world to participate in this open interactive Chavacano site. If you remember any chavacano words that are not in this on-line interactive chavacano dictionary, go ahead and enter those chavacano words here.

Man ayudahan kita para el lenguaje chavacano di aton ay hinde mori.


Comentos de Chavacano
Fiesta en el Mes de Julio
Julio 16 – Ayala ; Julio 31 – Tetuan

Why it is Officially Chavacano and not Chabacano?

In Zamboanga City, the old-timers will be offended if you tell them that their language is chabacano instead of chavacano. To the new generation the words chabacano and chavacano are interchangeable. With that said, it’s time to put things into perspective.

In the spanish language, the word chabacano is not referred to as a language. The word chabacano or chabacana is defined as: Coarse, unpolished, ill-finished. And in Mexico, chabacano is a kind of Apricot (fruit). The word Chabacana is an insipid kind of plum.

The people of Zambaonga, being a proud bunch of people, who just helped the spaniards build the fort (June 23, 1635) and in the process developed the dialect, wanted to “own” this unique new language and hence baptized it as CHAVACANO. The word chabacano was derogatory. The people of Zamboanga were proud of their new language, the language of Chavacano.

The word CHAVACANO is only as old as the chavacano language itself. The word Chavacano is not a spanish word. The people of Zamboanga “coined” the word.

In the Philippines there were a handful of dialects that were developed in the areas where the spaniards had employed several indegenous people from different areas with different dialects. These workers had to communicate using the spanish language as the common denominator. These “new” dialects were referred to by the spaniards as CHABACANO, meaning “un-refined, coarse, or unpolished” form of spanish. The communities of Ternate – Ternateños, Ermita – Ermitaños, and Cavite City – Caviteños: did not “coin” their new found dialects. The dialects were called by the spaniards as the “Chabacano” of the spanish language and hence these communities proceeded to call their new dialects as “Chabacano”.

The people of Zamboanga were unique. They coined the word “Chavacano” and they spread this new language to the new places they settled in later. Places, like Cotabato, Davao, and Basilan. The people in these areas referred to their language as CHAVACANO.

The government website of zamboanga city( incorrectly refers to chavacano as chabacano. Well, the mayor who authorized the website(2004) was not a zamboangueño.

Frank Maletsky born, raised and educated in Zamboanga City speaks chavacano fluently. I created this FREE online chavacano wiki dictionary to enable any chavacano zamboangueño to contribute their knowledge of the chavacano language.

Celso Lobregat who was elected congressman of zamboanga city in 1998 started to refer to the language of Chavacano in writing as chabacano contradicting his mother (Maria Clara Lorenzo Lobregat) who was mayor of Zamboanga City back then. He heard some of people of zamboanga pronounce the letter “V” as “B” and thought that the word “chavacano” was spelled “chabacano”. Celso (born, raised and educated outside zamboanga city) is not a zamboangueño even though his mother was. When Celso became mayor (2004) he pushed for the change from chavacano to chabacano. To this date the government website of zamboanga city incorrectly refers to chavacano as chabacano. As of 2015 the City of Zamboanga is still under the political influence of Celso Lobregat, so the change from chabacano to chavacano will not likely happen. However, we at and with other true zamboangueños will continue to push for the change so that the government website will start to refer to our beloved language as chavacano instead of chabacano.
The government website of Zamboanga City INCORRECTLY refers to the Zamboangueño language as Chabacano

Chavacano History

Read about the history of the Chavacano Language: READ ON

June 23, 1635 should be symbolically known as “Dia del Chavacano de Zamboanga.” Why you might ask? This was the day that a permanent foothold was laid on Zamboanga by the Spanish government with the construction of the San José Fort, and the subsequent evolution and proliferation of a unique dialect/language based on ancient Creole Spanish that is called Chavacano de Zamboanga. This is our history, this is our culture.

Zamboanga is the largest Spanish-Creole speaking region in Asia (Thus, Chavacano de Zamboanga is the de facto largest Spanish-Creole language in Asia!)

Let us begin the account by saying that as a result of continued Moro Pirate attacks on the Spanish controlled Visayas and Luzon Islands, a lingering plan to take possession of the strategic Mindanao peninsula and its town of Jambangan in the center of Moroland would be finally commenced at the urging of Bishop Fray Pedro of “Santissimo Nombre de Jesus” (Cebu) to the interim Governor-General of the Philippines, Don Juan Cerezo de Salamanca. >>>>Read More

Examples of chavacano words in a sentence – Ejemplos de chavacano palabras na un frase o oracion.

  • Borrachon
    • Bien alboroto gayot el borrachon.
    • No puede man rason(razon) con el borrachon.
      • You can’t reason with a drunk.
    • Si man istoria el borrachon, hinde ta acaba.
      • If the drunk tells a story, it does not end.
    • Ta acorda yo el maga cuento del maga borrachon alla na tubaan.
      • I remember the stories of the drunkards at the local tubaan (tavern for tuba).
Maga borrachon bien tomao gayot. The drunkards are really drunk.

Back To School by Erik de Castro.jpg
Maga estudiante ta anda na escuela. The students are going to school.

  • lavandera
    • El lavandera ta lava ropa na rio.
      • The laundry woman washes clothes in the river.
    • El lavandera ta usa con el pakang para queda limpio el ropa.
      • The laudry woman uses the paddle to get the clothes clean.
Lavandera washing clothes.jpg
El lavandera ta lava ropa. The laundry woman is washing clothes.

Cania ma tunuk.jpg
Cania ma tunuk.
Ringworm Bush (Cassia alata) Akapulco.jpg
Flores y hojas del akapulco. El hojas ta puede usa como medicina.
Bankoro noni.jpg
Hojas y Frutas de Bankoro

Welcome to Chavacano Speak!

We will introduce you to our unique Chavacano de Zamboanga language in a more usual environment where it is generally used – in our daily conversation.

The Chavacano speech will be presented in a normal, daily talking encounter.  This will be your survival guide to conversing with the locals in a familiar voice.  If at any time you wish to submit a special request, please do so below, and we will include it in our future content.  We thank you in advance for your participation.  Let us begin.






Hello!; Hi!
Buenas dias!

Good day!; Good Morning!
Buenas Tardes!

Good Afternoon!
Buenas Noches!

Good Evening!; Good Night!


Como esta usted?

How do you do?
Quetal man uste?

How are you?


Muy bien, gracias!

Very well, thank you!
or: Buenamente man, gracias!

Bueno man, a Dios gracias!

Quite well, thank God!
Y uste, quetal man?

And how are you?; And you, how goes it?
Igualmente bien, gracias!; Tambien!

Equally well, thanks!; Same!
Bueno-bueno, man!

Oh, so-so!
Okey man yo!; Okey lang!

I am okay!


(familiar, no regard to formality- singular) Quetal man evo(s)?

How are you?
(familiar, no regard to formality- plural) Quetal man kamo?

How are you, guys?

(familiar and courteous – singular) Quetal man tu?

How are you?
(familiar and courteous – plural) Quetal man vosotros?

How are you, folks?

(formal, and with respect, as with elders- singular) Quetal man uste?

How are you?
(formal, and with respect, as with elders- plural) Quetal man ustedes?

How are you, (all, ladies, gentlemen, etc.)?

NOTE: Chavacano is peculiar in its emphasis on differentiating various forms of addressing someone, whether it be singular or plural, based on their level of familiarity to the speaker and how the speaker regards that person in the context of our society’s mores, or simply by their mood at that moment.  In order to understand this peculiarity, we will present you with a list of Personal andPossessive Pronouns and how they are used in context with aforementioned statement.

For descriptive purposes, we will first elaborate on what Pronouns are, and how Personal and Possessive relates to it.  A Pro-Noun is an extension of the Noun.  In grammar, it is one of a class of words that function as substitutes for nouns or noun phrases and denote persons or things asked for, previously specified, or understood from the context.  The Chavacano Pronouns will be presented as follows:


Personal Pronouns

(Pronouns used when referring to persons)



Yo, Iyo


Uste, Tu, Evo(s)


El, Ele


Nosotros, Kita

We (including the person spoken to)

Nosotros, Kamo

We (excluding the person spoken to)

Ustedes, Vosotros, Kamo

You (plural)

Ellos, Sila


Possessive Pronouns

(Pronouns used in denoting possession)



Mi, Mio, Dimiyo

My, Mine

Di uste, Tuyo, Di tuyo, De vos

Your, Yours

Suyo, Di suyo

His, Hers

Con nosotros, Kanaton

Our (including the person spoken to)

Con nosotros, Kanamon

Us (excluding the person spoken to)

Con Ustedes, Con Vosotros, Kaninyo

You (plural)

Con Ellos, Kanila


Usage: When addressing someone older or higher up in society’s echelon, i.e.: a teacher, priest, doctor, city official, etc. Usage: When addressing someone who is acquainted or is of equal social status, and denotes courteousness, i.e.: co-worker or girlfriend / boyfriend. Usage: When addressing someone who is acquainted or is of equal social status, with no regard to formality or courtesy, or one of lower ordinary class, and can imply crudeness, disrespect, or be derogatory.
Pronouns: Pronouns: Pronouns:
Uste Tu Evo(s); Vos
Ustedes Vosotros Kamo
Di uste Tuyo, Di tuyo De vos
Di ustedes De vosotros Di inyo
Con uste Con tigo Con vos
Con ustedes Con Vosotros Kan inyo
Nosotros Kita; Kame Kita; Kame
Nuestro Di aton; Di amon Di aton; Di amon
Con Nosotros Kan aton; Kan amon Kan aton; Kan amon
Suyo Di suyo Di suyo
Con el Con ele Con ele
Con ellos Kanila Kanila
De ellos Di ila Di ila

Stay tuned.  There’s more to come!  We’ve only just begun.

Jardinero, Campesino, Cainginiero

Herramientas del Jardinero, Campesino, o Cainginiero:

  1. Arao – The plow
    1. Mango – Handle of the Plow
    2. Pilo – Blade of the Plow
  2. Acha – Big Ax
    1. Achita – Small Ax
  3. Alat ↔ Basket
  4. Asada – Hoe
  5. Balde – Can
  6. Bilao – Small concave Basket
  7. Bolo – Machete
  8. Carabao
    1. Pamitik – The rope that’s tied through the nose of the carabao.
    2. Persoga – The rope usually made out of the long ratan vine.
      1. Pabiling – The part of the rope that ties to the head of the carabao.
      2. Largero – The long part of the rope that connects to the Pabiling. This part goes through the “orejas” in the pabiling. This makes it into a swivel so the “persoga” will stay straight.
    3. Ayugo – The yoke of the carabao.
    4. Pandiit – The rope under the ayugo, that goes under the neck of the carabao.
    5. Danao – The pond. This is where the carabao wallows. In the river the carabao can wallow in the deep water and this activiy is called “Tubug“.
    6. Hampelo / Sapin.– The cloth or sack on the back of the carabao that the riders use.
  9. Carro – The big cart
    1. Carriton – A small push cart.
  10. Cuchillo – Knife
  11. Hilamon – Used to till or pull weeds. A short small bolo.
    • Ta usa yo firme el hilamon para man habug con el maga siembra na mi jardin. I always use the short bolo to till the soil in my garden.
  12. Jalo y Pilon – Mortar and Pestle
  13. Kahigan – Rake
  14. Mekate – Long Rope made out of Abaca
  15. Pajagat- – The sleigh
    1. Dalaydayan – The two wooden rails that is part of the pajagat that connects to the yoke.
    2. Canastro – The huge basket on the pajagat.
  16. Pala – Shovel
  17. Saco – Sack
  18. Sangud – Sikle – A crescent shaped Bolo
  19. Toro – Bull


Herramientas del Carpintero: Tools of the carpenter.

  1. Bisagra – Hinge
  2. Cepillo – Plane
  3. Clabo – Nail
  4. Escoplo – Chisel
  5. Lapis – Pencil
  6. Lima – File
  7. Martillo – Hammer
  8. Nawi – Tie-out for the nipa made out of ratan.
  9. Nipa – Shingles for the roof made out of Palm leaves
  10. Sawali – Woven bamboo used as wall sidings or ceilings. Comes in 4×8.
  11. Nivel – Level
  12. Pulgadera – Tape Measure
  13. Papel de lija – Sand Paper
  14. Sierra – Saw
  15. Achita – Small ax (hatchet)
  16. Tornillo – Screw

Lavandera Laundry woman

Herramientas del Lavandera:

  1. Almedon – Starch to stiffen the fabric and hold its shape.
  2. Bateya – Basin made out of Wood (originally). Wash tub.
  3. Jabon – Soap
  4. Luguran – Stone Scrubber
  5. Pakang – Paddle to pound the laundry.
  6. Pukpukan – The large flat stone where the dirty wet clothes are pounded on.
  7. Sipan – Scrubber usually out of corn cob.
  8. Tapis – One piece body-clothing like a pillow but open on both ends.

Sastrera o Sastrero Tailor

  1. Aguha – Needle
  2. Ilo – Thread
  3. Imperdible – Safety pin
  4. Maquina de coser – Sewing Machine
  5. Pulgadera – Tape measure
  6. Tijeras – Scissors

El maga parte del casa

  • Batalan ↔ Terrace. An open area connected to the kitchen where most of the washing and cleaning is done.
    • Todo el lavada ta hace na batalan. All the laundry is done in the terrace.
  • Dindin ↔ Wall
  • Palupu – Roof ridge
    • Ya usa lang sila sawali para dindin. They used sawali for the wall.
  • Piso – Floor or Flooring
  • Sanepa – Roof verge or Facial board
  • Techo ↔ Roof.


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