The “Bisaya” as a Generic Reference

The “Bisaya” as a Generic Reference

By Apolinario Villalobos


An extensive dissertation on the prominent dialects of the Filipinos who are distributed throughout the archipelago would require a thick wad of papers or hundreds of e-page on the computer screen. By prominence, I mean those that are popularly used by Filipinos, based on the density of population of users in certain provinces. Outstanding among these dialects are the Tagalog, Ilocano, Ibanag, Pangasinense, Kapampangan, Hiligaynon, Karay-a, Bikol, Romblomanon, Akyanon, Bol-anon, Waray-waray, Leytenyo, Palawenyo, Surigaonon, Maranao, Iranon, Tausug, and Chavacano. There might be some that I forgot, hency, I am encouraging viewers to mention in their comment so that this blog can appropriately be updated. But, a unique and generic reference to the different dialects of the Visayan region, such as Waray-waray, Leytenyo, Hiligaynon, Bol-anon, Surigaonon, Karay-a, Akyanon (Aklan), Davawenyo and Cebuano, is simply, “Bisaya”. Such reference is also used to those who come from the said region.


This practice has been in use ever since the Filipinos began to develop regionalistic propensity. The same impression has also been deeply stamped in the consciousness of Filipinos, especially, those in Luzon, such that, if one is from the south, hence, not “Tagalog”, he or she is a “Bisaya”, without any specific distinction on a particular province of origin.


A problem ensued when the “Bisaya” is viewed by those from Luzon as an inferior class of Filipinos to the point of their being ridiculed. In this regard, the affected who are studying in Manila, for instance, try their best to camouflage their regional identity, but their thick accent and vocabulary betray them. To remedy the situation, they resort to speaking in English which they know by heart, but which unfortunately result to their being viewed as snooty and trying-hard classy.


With the election of Duterte as the new president of the Philippines, the negative impression on the “Bisaya” is hoped to be eradicated. The new president does not hesitate in speaking “Bisaya” every time he has an opportunity. So far, it has done good to the vocabulary of the Filipinos in general as they began to pick up “Bisaya” expressions from him, including some which for others may sound vulgar such as “bigằ-bigằ”, “biga-on”, “piyaet” (confess/ pumiyok) that he unconsciously let go without any malicious intent. “Bigằ” is usually said without any malice by the Bisaya, the closest equivalent of which is “landỉ” that Tagalogs speak with disgust. The “Bisaya” dialect of Davao, as the rest of Bisaya-speaking provinces, is rooted in the “Bisaya” dialect of Cebu.


The Filipino Language and its Conversational and Scholarly Characteristics

The Filipino Language and its Conversational

and Scholarly Characteristics

By Apolinario Villalobos


The Filipino as a language is injected with many influences from the different traders who frequented the archipelago during the pre-colonial days. The Spanish and American colonizers who stayed for a long time, practically, impregnated the Filipino culture with their own, that made the latter richer, especially, the language. The result is what today, are being spoken and used in writing by the Filipinos – the language that underwent several stages of transformations.


The unique Filipino language is originally what the Tagalogs of southern Luzon exclusively spoke as their dialect. Aside from Tagalog, other major dialects in the country are Hiligaynon and Karay-a in the provinces of Panay island, the Cebuano in the island of Cebu and other islands of the region as far down south in Davao, Bikol in the Bicol Peninsula,  Ilocano and Pangasinense in the north. The Moroland in Mindanao has its Maguindanaoan, Iranon, Tausug, and Maranao.


To unite the Filipinos, Manuel L. Quezon declared Tagalog as the “common” language, but to give it a bonding character and to remove the exclusive reference to the Tagalogs, it was called “Pilipino”, and still later, “Filipino” which is what it is called until today.


There are Filipino words that are better written than spoken, and vice versa. As a scholarly language, there are also words that are better read in “tula” (poetry), and heard in songs, as well as, part of a formal dissertation. Still, there are words that have better use in speeches, as well as, in swearing. That is what confronts the current generation of Filipinos. Most find difficulty in comprehending some Filipino words that is why, the sympathizing writer has to enclose the English equivalent in parenthesis right after them. Some words that are immoral are translated into English before they can be spoken, too.


The Filipino language further evolved into what is called “Taglish” (Tagalog/English) and is proved to have manifold benefits. The natives of the Cordillera Region who are more exposed to the English language of the missionaries use it, as well as those of the Visayas , who sound awkward when speaking in straight Tagalog, due to their regional accent.


The fast metamorphosis of the Filipino as a language is a manifestation of its steady growth. An outgrowth that many Filipinos did not notice, however, is the “gay lingo” that has become acceptable among the youth. Even the international Aldub TV series employ the “gay lingo” to the delight of its followers. One word worth mentioning is “bey” which is the corrupted form of “baby” and which means “dear”, “love”, “friend”, “sweetheart”, or just anything that connotes closeness. The “pambansang bey” is dearly tagged to Alden Richard, and it means “national love, heartthrob, heart, sweetheart, etc.”


Bloggers are doing their best in spreading the appreciation for the highly- alive Filipino language by using regional words or gay words, at times. The blogs that come in different forms such as free-versed “tula” and free-style essays are in the forms which are not found in any corrupted textbooks used in school. The viewers are then, incited to freely ask for verifications as to what they stand for or what they mean.