Bisaya: Cebuano Words 101

Bisaya (noun) refers to both the local dialect that is most commonly used in Cebu and anyone who is a local of Visayas Islands.  Bisaya may also refer to anyone who knows how to speak the Visayan dialect. So as you discover and travel around Cebu, have some words that can make you connect more […]

Bisaya (noun) refers to both the local dialect that is most commonly used in Cebu and anyone who is a local of Visayas Islands.  Bisaya may also refer to anyone who knows how to speak the Visayan dialect. So as you discover and travel around Cebu, have some words that can make you connect more to a local.

Cebuano locals are well equipped with the use of English.  Almost everyone can understand and speak “carabao” English which is crude English since it is spoken almost syllabically.  Inside the city of Cebu are a large number of English speakers.  But what amazed Cebuanos are visitors who try to speak their language too.  You don’t have to make it right to be loved by the locals, you only have to try. So here are some words that you can easily use in daily market conversations.

  1. Salamat: sa-la-mat; means thank you.
  2. Salamat kaayo: sa-la-mat-ka-ah-you; means thank you very much.
  3. Walay sapayan: wa-lie-sa-pa-yhun; it means no worries but is used mainly to reply back after being said thank you too. It does not translate in verbatim to “you’re welcome” but it is often used that way.
  4. Palihog: pa-lee-hog; means please. Use this with a gesture so locals know what you are trying to make them do.  When you hear this, try to decipher what they want you to do with the actions that comes with that word.
  5. Tagpila man?: tug-pee-luh-man?; this is a question meaning how much?
  6. Pa hangyua ko be?: Pa-hung-you-ah-co-bi?; this is to ask the other party to give you some discount. Use this line if you want to get cheap with the already cheap prices that are given you. Mind you, Cebuanos may still give you some discount or perhaps just another smile for free.
  7. Oo: oh-oh; means ok or yes. Use this to answer questions.
  8. Dili lang: dee-lee-lung; means no, thank you. This is a more courteous way to say no as Cebuanos and Filipinos culturally find it discourteous to plainly say No.
  9. Kalami oiy!: ca-la-mih-uy!: means it’s so delicious. Use this after tasting something that you found pleasurable for your palatte.
  10. Taga-i ko ug bag-o: ta-ga-ee-co-uhg-bag-oh; means give me a new one.

Enjoy discovering more words as you try these out with the Cebuanos that you meet.  Trust us when we say that this will surely make any Cebuano heart shine a smile.

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