Chavacano words and phrases

89 Helpful Chavacano Words & Phrases for Travelers to Learn

Traveling to Zamboanga City or other areas where Chavacano is spoken? Learning some basic Chavacano words and phrases can greatly enhance your experience. Here’s a comprehensive guide to 89 essential Chavacano words and phrases that will help you communicate with locals, show respect for their culture, and navigate your way through daily interactions with ease.

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Handy Chavacano Phrases for Eating

Basic Chavacano Words and Phrases for Greetings and Introductions

Chavacano words quetal uste

1. “Buenas dias!” = “Good morning!”

A polite greeting to start the day.

Example: Buenas dias! Cosa tu hace?
Translation: Good morning! What are you doing?

2. “Bienvenidos!” = “Welcome!”

Use this to greet someone warmly as they arrive.

Example: Bienvenidos na Zamboanga!
Translation: Welcome to Zamboanga!

3. “Quetal” / “Quetal uste?” = “Hello” / “How are you?”

A common way to greet someone and ask about their well-being.

Example: Quetal uste hoy?
Translation: How are you today?

4. “Bueno, gracias!” / “Muy bien, gracias!” = “I’m good, thank you!” / “I’m fine, thank you!”

Responses to indicate you are well.

Example: Bueno, gracias! Y tu?
Translation: I’m good, thank you! And you?

5. “Kosa dituyo nombre?” = “What’s your name?”

A basic question to ask someone’s name.

Example: Kosa dituyo nombre, amigo?
Translation: What’s your name, friend?

6. “Mi nombre es <name>.” = “My name is <name>.”

A straightforward way to introduce yourself.

Example: Mi nombre es Luke.
Translation: My name is Luke.

7. “Que edad tiene?” = “How old are you?”

Asking someone’s age.

Example: Que edad tiene ya tu?
Translation: How old are you now?

8. “Que tal el dia?” = “How was your day?”

Inquiring about someone’s day.

Example: Que tal el dia mo?
Translation: How was your day?

9. “De donde uste?” = “Where are you from?”

Inquiring about someone’s place of origin.

Example: De donde uste, señor?
Translation: Where are you from, sir?

10. “Tiene ba tu familia aqui?” = “Do you have family here?”

Asking if someone has family in the area.

Example: Tiene ba tu familia aqui na ciudad?
Translation: Do you have family here in the city?

11. “Cosa tu trabaja?” = “What do you do for work?”

Asking about someone’s occupation.

Example: Cosa tu trabaja na oficina?
Translation: What do you do for work at the office?

12. “Donde tu ta queda?” = “Where do you stay?”

Inquiring about someone’s residence.

Example: Donde tu ta queda durante el viaje?
Translation: Where do you stay during the trip?

13. “Cuantos años ya tu?” = “How many years have you been here?”

Asking how long someone has been in the area.

Example: Cuantos años ya tu aqui na ciudad?
Translation: How many years have you been here in the city?

14. “Ta habla / Sabe tu conversa <language>?” = “Do you speak <language>?”

Asking if someone speaks a particular language.

Example: Sabe tu conversa Ingles?
Translation: Do you speak English?

15. “Jende yo habla / Nusabe yo conversa <language>.” = “I can’t speak <language>.”

Indicating that you cannot speak a certain language.

Example: Jende yo habla Español.
Translation: I can’t speak Spanish.


Helpful Chavacano Words and Phrases for Courtesy and Social Etiquette

Chavacano words Muchas Gracias and De nada.

16. “Muchas gracias!” = “Thank you!”

Expressing gratitude.

Example: Muchas gracias por tu ayuda.
Translation: Thank you very much for your help.

17. “De nada!” = “You’re welcome!”

A polite response to being thanked.

Example: De nada, siempre!
Translation: You’re welcome, always!

18. “Adios” = “Goodbye”

A farewell phrase.

Example: Adios, hasta luego!
Translation: Goodbye, see you later!

19. “Tu ohala ay mira dayon!” = “See you soon!”

A friendly way to say you’ll see someone again soon.

Example: Tu ohala ay mira dayon despues del clase!
Translation: See you soon after class!

20. “Ta amá yo contigo” = “I love you”

When you want to say I love you to someone.

Example: Ta amá yo contigo, mi amor.
Translation: I love you, my love.

21. “Ta extraña yo contigo.” = “I miss you”

Say this phrase if you miss someone.

Example: Ta extraña yo contigo kada día.
Translation: I miss you every day.

22. “Quidao!” = “Take care!”

Wishing someone safety and well-being.

Example: Quidao y cuida bien!
Translation: Take care and stay well!

23. “Dispensa kumigo.” = “I’m sorry.”

Apologizing for something.

Example: Dispensa kumigo por el error.
Translation: I’m sorry for the mistake.

24. “Por favor” = “Please”

Used to make a polite request.

Example: Puede ba tu pasa el sal, por favor?
Translation: Can you pass the salt, please?

25. “Pasensya” = “Excuse me.”

Used to get someone’s attention or to apologize for a minor fault.

Example: Pasensya, puede ba yo pasa?
Translation: Excuse me, can I pass?

26. “Buen provecho!” = “Enjoy your meal!”

Wishing someone a good meal.

Example: Buen provecho con el comida!
Translation: Enjoy your meal!

27. “Con permiso” = “With permission”

Used when passing by someone or entering a room.

Example: Con permiso, puede yo entra na cuarto?
Translation: With permission, can I enter the room?

28. “Puede ba yo entra?” = “Can I come in?”

Asking for permission to enter.

Example: Puede ba yo entra ahora?
Translation: Can I come in now?

29. “Si” = “Yes”

A simple affirmation.

Example: Si, yo puede ayuda contigo.
Translation: Yes, I can help you.

30. “No” / “Jende” / “Nunca” = “No”

A simple negation.

Example: Jende, no hay problema.
Translation: No, there’s no problem.

31. “No hay problema” = “No problem”

Indicating that something is not an issue.

Example: No hay problema, yo ta resolvel.
Translation: No problem; I will handle it.

32. “Felicidades!” = “Congratulations!”

Wishing someone well for their achievements.

Example: Felicidades por el nuevo trabajo!
Translation: Congratulations on the new job!


Useful Chavacano Words and Phrases for Travel and Exploration

Chavacano words Perdido yo

33. “Onde?” / “Donde?” = “Where?”

A basic question to ask for directions.

Example: Donde el mercado?
Translation: Where is the market?

34. “Para donde este anda?” = “Where is this going?”

Asking about the direction of a vehicle.

Example: Para donde este bus anda?
Translation: Where is this bus going?

35. “Donde esta el baño / casillas?” = “Where is the toilet?”

Inquiring about the location of restrooms.

Example: Donde esta el baño aqui?
Translation: Where is the toilet here?

36. “Onde uste anda?” = “Where are you going?”

Inquiring about someone’s destination.

Example: Onde uste anda ahora?
Translation: Where are you going now?

37. “Ay volve ya yo na mi casa.” = “I’m going home.”

Indicating that you are heading home.

Example: Ay volve ya yo na mi casa despues de trabajo.
Translation: I’m going home after work.

38. “Paquelaya?” = “How?”

Asking how to do something or how something works.

Example: Paquelaya tu hace eso?
Translation: How do you do that?

39. “Paquelaya yo puede llega na <location>?” = “How to go to <location>?”

Asking for directions to a specific place.

Example: Paquelaya yo puede llega na mercado?
Translation: How do I get to the market?

40. “Cuanto el pasaje?” = “How much is the fare?”

Inquiring about the cost of transportation.

Example: Cuanto el pasaje para bus?
Translation: How much is the bus fare?

41. “Por que?” = “Why?”

Asking for the reason behind something.

Example: Por que tu ta pregunta?
Translation: Why are you asking?

42. “Nusabe yo.” = “I don’t know.”

Expressing that you do not have the information.

Example: Nusabe yo donde ta queda.
Translation: I don’t know where it is.

43. “Para!” = “Stop! I’ll get off here.”

Requesting to get off a vehicle.

Example: Para! Ay baja ya yo aqui.
Translation: Stop! I’ll get off here.

44. “Ayuda!” = “Help!”

A call for assistance.

Example: Ayuda! Necesita yo ayuda!
Translation: Help! I need help!

45. “Perdido yo!” = “I’m lost!”

Indicating that you are lost.

Example: Perdido yo, puede ba tu ayuda?
Translation: I’m lost, can you help?

46. “Cosa ya hora?” / “Cosa hora ya?” / “Que ora ya?”= “What time is it?”

Asking for the current time.

Example: Cosa hora ya ahora?
Translation: What time is it now?

47. “Tiene quidao!” = “Travel safely!”

Wishing someone a safe journey.

Example: Tiene quidao na viaje mo!
Translation: Travel safely on your trip!

48. “Donde esta el hotel?” = “Where is the hotel?”

Asking for the hotel’s location.

Example: Donde esta el hotel mas cerca?
Translation: Where is the nearest hotel?

49. “Donde yo puede compra boleto?” = “Where can I buy a ticket?”

Asking for the location to purchase tickets.

Example: Donde yo puede compra boleto para tren?
Translation: Where can I buy a train ticket?

50. “Donde yo puede renta un coche?” = “Where can I rent a car?”

Inquiring about car rental locations.

Example: Donde yo puede renta un coche para un dia?
Translation: Where can I rent a car for a day?


Practical Chavacano Words and Phrases for Shopping and Buying

Chavacano words Bien Caro eso and Puede ba yo prueba?

51. “Puede yo compra?” = “Can I buy?”

Asking if you can purchase something.

Example: Puede yo compra este vestido?
Translation: Can I buy this dress?

52. “Tiene uste mas grande?” = “Do you have a bigger size?”

Inquiring about a larger size of an item.

Example: Tiene uste mas grande na esta camisa?
Translation: Do you have a bigger size for this shirt?

53. “Tiene uste mas jutay?” = “Do you have a smaller size?”

Inquiring about a smaller size of an item.

Example: Tiene uste mas jutay na este zapato?
Translation: Do you have a smaller size for this shoe?

54. “Necesita yo con <item>.” = “I need <item>.”

Expressing your need for a specific item.

Example: Necesita yo con pan.
Translation: I need bread.

55. “Cuanto este?” = “How much is this?”

Inquiring about the price of an item.

Example: Cuanto este camisa?
Translation: How much is this shirt?

56. “Bien caro eso!” = “That’s too expensive!”

Commenting on a high price.

Example: Bien caro eso, puede ba dale diskwento?
Translation: That’s too expensive, can you give a discount?

57. “Bien barato eso!” = “That’s too cheap!”

Commenting on a low price.

Example: Bien barato eso, seguro ba bueno?
Translation: That’s too cheap, is it really good?

58. “Pwede ba tu dale diskwento comigo?” = “Can you give me a discount?”

Asking for a lower price.

Example: Pwede ba tu dale diskwento comigo para este item?
Translation: Can you give me a discount for this item?

59. “Jende yo quere elo.” = “I don’t want it.”

Indicating that you do not want an item.

Example: Jende yo quere elo, gracias.
Translation: I don’t want it, thank you.

60. “Jende yo interesado.” = “I’m not interested.”

Expressing disinterest.

Example: Jende yo interesado na oferta.
Translation: I’m not interested in the offer.

61. “Puede ba yo prueba?” = “Can I try it?”

Asking if you can try or test an item.

Example: Puede ba yo prueba este camisa?
Translation: Can I try this shirt?

62. “Puede ba yo miral?” = “Can I see it?”

Asking to see an item before purchasing.

Example: Puede ba yo miral el menu?
Translation: Can I see the menu?

63. “Tene ba ustedes cambio?” = “Do you have change?”

Inquiring if the shop has change for a larger bill.

Example: Tene ba ustedes cambio para cien pesos?
Translation: Do you have change for a hundred pesos?

64. “Parece caro” = “It seems expensive”

Commenting on the perceived cost of an item.

Example: Parece caro este gadget.
Translation: This gadget seems expensive.

65. “Tiene algo mas barato?” = “Do you have something cheaper?”

Inquiring about more affordable options.

Example: Tiene algo mas barato na tienda?
Translation: Do you have something cheaper in the store?


Handy Chavacano Phrases for Eating

Chavacano words Muy Dulce ele

66. “Kun hambre ya yo!” = “I’m hungry!”

Expressing hunger.

Example: Kun hambre ya yo, puede kita come?
Translation: I’m hungry, can we eat?

67. “Comé kita!” = “Let’s eat!”

An invitation to share a meal.

Example: Comé kita antes de anda.
Translation: Let’s eat before we go.

68. “Resa kita.” = “Let’s pray.”

Suggesting to pray before a meal.

Example: Resa kita antes de come.
Translation: Let’s pray before eating.

69. “Busog ya yo!” = “I’m already full!”

Indicating that you are full.

Example: Busog ya yo, gracias.
Translation: I’m already full, thank you.

70. “Quiere yo con <item>.” = “I want <item>.”

Expressing your desire for a specific food item.

Example: Quiere yo con mango.
Translation: I want mango.

71. “Un taza de <drink>, por fabor.” = “A cup of <drink>, please.”

Requesting a drink.

Example: Un taza de cafe, por favor.
Translation: A cup of coffee, please.

72. “Sabroso!” / “Delicioso!” = “Delicious!”

Complimenting the taste of food.

Example: El comida este sabroso!
Translation: This food is delicious!

73. “Muy salado este!” = “It’s so salty!”

Describing food that is very salty.

Example: Muy salado este pescado.
Translation: This fish is so salty.

74. “Muy amargo ele!” = “It’s so sour!”

Describing food that is very sour.

Example: Muy amargo ele este fruta.
Translation: This fruit is so sour.

75. “Muy dulce ele!” = “It’s so sweet!”

Describing food that is very sweet.

Example: Muy dulce ele el postre.
Translation: The dessert is so sweet.

76. “Muy picante ele.” = “It’s so spicy!”

Describing food that is very spicy.

Example: Muy picante ele este plato.
Translation: This dish is so spicy.

77. “Tiene ba ustedes menu en ingles?” = “Do you have a menu in English?”

Inquiring if the restaurant has an English menu.

Example: Tiene ba ustedes menu en ingles para mi?
Translation: Do you have a menu in English for me?

78. “Puede ba ustedes hacer sin <ingredient>?” = “Can you make it without <ingredient>?”

Requesting a dish to be made without a specific ingredient.

Example: Puede ba ustedes hacer sin ajo?
Translation: Can you make it without garlic?

79. “Que tu puede rekomenda?” = “What can you recommend?”

Asking for food recommendations.

Example: Que tu puede rekomenda para cena?
Translation: What can you recommend for dinner?

80. “Tene ba ustedes comida vegetariana?” = “Do you have vegetarian food?”

Inquiring about vegetarian options.

Example: Tene ba ustedes comida vegetariana?
Translation: Do you have vegetarian food?

81. “Ayuda ba yo puede prueba?” = “Can I taste it?”

Asking if you can taste the food before ordering.

Example: Ayuda ba yo puede prueba este salsa?
Translation: Can I taste this sauce?

82. “Tiene ba ustedes especialidad?” = “Do you have a specialty?”

Asking about the restaurant’s specialty dish.

Example: Tiene ba ustedes especialidad del casa?
Translation: Do you have a house specialty?

83. “Puede yo llevar?” = “Can I take this out?”

Asking if you can take your food to-go.

Example: Puede yo llevar este postre?
Translation: Can I take this dessert out?

84. “Masarap el comida” = “The food is delicious”

Complimenting the food.

Example: Masarap el comida na este restaurante.
Translation: The food is delicious in this restaurant.

85. “Ayuda con el mesa” = “Help with the table”

Asking for assistance with the table setting.

Example: Necesita yo ayuda con el mesa, por favor.
Translation: I need help with the table, please.

86. “Puede ba tu trael mas agua?” = “Can you bring more water?”

Requesting more water.

Example: Puede ba tu trael mas agua para mi?
Translation: Can you bring more water for me?

87. “Tiene ba ustedes desert?” = “Do you have dessert?”

Asking if the restaurant serves dessert.

Example: Tene ba ustedes desert despues de cena?
Translation: Do you have dessert after dinner?

88. “Puede ba yo pide mesa por dos?” = “Can I have a table for two?”

Requesting a table for two people.

Example: Puede ba yo pide mesa por dos na ventana?
Translation: Can I have a table for two by the window?

89. “La cuenta, por favor.” = “The bill, please.”

Asking for the check after a meal.

Example: La cuenta, por favor. Ay paga ya yo.
Translation: The bill, please. I’ll pay now.

Learning these Chavacano words can make your travel experience more enriching and enjoyable. Not only will you be able to communicate more effectively, but you’ll also be able to connect more deeply with the locals and their culture.

So, now that you’ve learned Chavacano words and phrases, why not try picking up some Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Bicolano, Cebuano/Bisaya, or Waray words as well? This will greatly facilitate your travels to various parts of the Philippines, making communication easier and enriching your cultural experience across different regions.

Are you still not confident in Tagalog? Don’t worry! Here’s our comprehensive Tagalog guide to help you navigate other parts of Luzon effortlessly. Whether you’re exploring bustling cities or serene countryside, this guide will ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable journey.


Frequently Ask Questions

  1. Is Chavacano Spanish or Filipino?
    • Chavacano is a creole language that developed in the Philippines. It is influenced by Spanish but has incorporated many elements from Philippine languages, particularly those of the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
  2. Can Chavacano and Spanish speakers understand each other?
    • Chavacano and Spanish speakers can understand each other to some extent due to the significant Spanish influence on Chavacano vocabulary. However, differences in grammar, pronunciation, and additional influences from Filipino languages can create misunderstandings.
  3. Is Chavacano broken Spanish?
    • No, Chavacano is not “broken” Spanish. It is a fully developed creole language with its own grammatical rules and vocabulary. While it draws heavily from Spanish, it has evolved independently and integrates aspects of Philippine languages and culture.



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