Chavacano – The language of Zamboanga

Language of Zamboanga City – Lenguaje del Ciudad de Zamboanga

Daily examples of an English word and Chavacano word used in sentences: Updated: January 16, 2022

In English: Pimple
In Chavacano:  Pungud

Pimple” In Chavacano: Pungud

  • His pimple is really swollen.

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.

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.”

Why it is Officially Chavacano and not Chabacano

In Zamboanga City, the old-timers (specially those who write in chavacano) 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). I have this fruit growing in my backyard. 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 (coined) it as CHAVACANO. The word chabacano was derogatory. The people of Zamboanga were proud of their new language, the language of Chavacano. There is no mystery to this. The Zamboangueños simply wanted to own their own language.

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. Some call it “bastard” 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”. No mystery there either.

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 chavacano word identified the speaker as “originating” from Zamboanga.