i am a carabao

(the observations of a Kagayanon in Cebu)

Filipinos have a habit of lazy talk. i call it lazy talk because we Filipinos tend not to pronounce the whole word. rather we “shortcut” it (cut it short). although i am not an authority in this, i would say Filipinos do this to make speech faster and just because we are lazy to enunciate the words. take for example the Tagalog language, one of the major dialects in the Philippines, which has a tendency for its words to have repeating syllables or repititions of whole words when used in a sentence.

Magpapagawa ako ng bahay kapag meron na akong malaki-laki na rin na naipon na pera.

Translation: I will have a house made if i have saved enough money.

Magpapakabait ka anak at ng re-regalohan ka ni Santa Clause ngayong Pasko.

Translation: Be a good son/daughter so that Santa Clause will give you a gift this Christmas.

the examples above are but a few of the ways that tagalog sentences are structured. these are not even in shortcut. imagine if you’re not adept in speaking tagalog. you will literally twist your tongue trying to speak those repititions. and who better to top the worst tagalog speakers than Cebuanos.

Cebuanos are the people who hail from Cebu. one of the bigger Islands in the Visayas Region and has one of the biggest cities outside of Metro Manila. Cebuanos are also known for its bisaya, the language by which speakers of Visayan descent has come to be called and also to refer to ones ethnic background. their bisaya is kinda crude. and they speak it unlike other bisaya-speaking people. the way they speak the words and enunciate it is funny to those who are not used to Cebuano bisaya. and going back to lazy talk, Cebuanos have a penchant to shorten words and take out the letter “L” in their speech. below are some of the examples of how they would talk:

di’ (dili) ko kaba’o (kabalo; pronounced as kabaw),” means “I don’t know.” and if you weren’t used to this you would think that the speaker is saying “I am not a carabao,” since kabaw is a shortening of the word kalabaw (carabao). or to say it in the opposite way, “kaba’o ko,” the speaker is inadvertently saying that he/she is a carabao, but really means “I know.”

other examples of Cebuano shortcuts:

balay (house) is ba’ay (pronounced as bay with a short ‘a’ sound )

kalayo (fire) is ka’ayo (pronounced as kayo a with short ‘a’ sound)

tulog (sleep) is tu’og (pronounced as tog with a long ‘o’ sound)

bati ug nawong (ugly face) is ‘ti’g na’ong (pronounced as tig nawong)

walay problema (no problem) is wa’y ‘blima (pronounced with a short ‘a’ sound)

and if you were to hear them speak their bisaya it would be in an almost singsong way (rising and falling intonation or pitch), yet with a hard-ish accent.

Cebuanos are a fiercely proud people. perhaps it is because of its history as the people who first stood against the Spanish invaders. they seem to have an unconscious loathing for Tagalogs (specifically the ones from Manila) and would insist why they are a better people. being a Kagayanon (from Cagayan de Oro) and also a Bisaya, i would certainly agree with it. these Tagalogs come off to us as an arrogant group who would immediately think you are from the boondocks if you mention Mindanao to their face.

hailing from Cagayan de Oro, the Kagayanons’ speech is replete with referrals to a woman’s sex organ and the devil. yes, i am not kidding. it is our way of cursing. bilat (vagina) and yawa (devil) are two of the most common vulgar words. oddly, i hardly hear Cebuanos say bilat and/or yawa. instead they say atay (a sickness in the liver that is prevalent in chickens) or kayasa/kayata (the act of doing sex).

it is also only in Cebu, a metropolitan second only to Manila, where the fare for riding public utility jeeps (PUJ) will only be PhP6.00 wherever you go within the cities. while that is welcome news, Cebu is almost similar to Manila where a lot of the jeeps that ply the roads look old and rusty, but are at par with the discipline of the jeepney drivers of Davao City. also another good thing about Cebu is that the meter’s of their taxis seem to run ridiculously slow. thus i think it is cheaper to ride a taxi here in Cebu than in Cagayan de Oro. many of their taxis are also run by LPG (liquified petroleum gas) making Cebu cleaner than other cities in the Philippines.

all in all Metro Cebu is great. it is big enough. the cost of living here is not too much. life is not always in a rush. traffic is not crawling like those horrendous traffic jams in Manila.. .

but their talk is just crazy!

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Notice: This article was published on January 6, 2007 and the content above may be out of date.