Jerome Herrera sent me a link to his blog, Bien Chabacano, about what Wikipedia calls the Chavacano language, and I thought I’d pass it along; here’s his About statement:

Said in Spanish, bien Chabacano means very rude and of bad taste. However in the Chabacano de Zamboanga, it simply means very Chabacano. In this context, bien Chabacano is something that you would call a person who speaks Chabacano very fluently and uses deep Chabacano words. I am by no means bien Chabacano, but I certainly am bien orgulloso of the Chabacano de Zamboanga.
I started to take interest in my mother tongue when I began to learn Spanish and I discovered the many glaring similarities between the two languages. This led to a journey of discoveries, a journey filled with awe as I learned how different languages, time, and people shaped the modern Chabacano de Zamboanga language. I hope that you will join me in this rediscovery of the past as we look forward to a better future.

There’s a lot of interesting material about language and culture; here, for example, is “Chabacano Food and Kitchen Vocabulary” from January. (Warning: may make you hungry.)


  1. marie-lucie says

    I thought that this language variety had been discussed earlier here, or am I confusing with a post on Language Log? It’s a fascinating story anyway, and I am glad you are (re?) visiting it.

  2. Awesome! Thanks! 😀

  3. Yes, I wrote about it here; I should have linked to that in the post, but I was tired and forgetful.

  4. Charles Perry says

    I can’t resist mentioning that Twenties nonsense song “(The Monkeys Have No Tails in) Zamboanga.” (They had no tails because they’d been “chewed off by the whales.”) Consequently, one of the first “Polynesian” restaurants in Los Angeles (ca. 1938) was called the Zamboanga, and of course it advertised itself as the home of the tail-less monkeys.
    Unfortunately, it didn’t serve anything like Chabacano food: mostly steak, chicken and corned beef, though there was a pineapple pork entree.

  5. Lars Mathiesen says

    Bien Chabacano is still active, mirabile dictu, posting about once a week it seems. And The Little Prince has just been published in the language.

    I found this discussion of the current language situation very interesting — English is not listed as one of the four languages in the city. (It probably is present, but has lost to Tagalog as the lingua franca).

  6. Bien Chabacano is still active, mirabile dictu, posting about once a week it seems.

    Amazing and commendable! Don’t vamoose from the blogosphere, bloggers!

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