Monday, August 8, 2011

Learning Hiligaynon the Hard Way

I started learning basic Hiligaynon last year. Some of my classmates come from Sultan Kudarat, Marbel and General Santos. These provinces are known to be the second home of the Ilonggos. During the late 50s, Mindanao was tagged as the Land of Promise – new home, lots of job opportunities and most of all, a new hope. Migrants coming from Luzon and Visayas have settled in key cities of Mindanao. The Ilonggos have settled in the South Cotabato area.

The Philippines is an archipelagic country. Its culture is so diverse that it had at least 120-175 spoken languages in the country. The top three spoken languages are:
Filipino, Visayan and Hiligaynon.

The Hiligaynon language has this peculiar intonation which pushed me to learn this language. But during the learning process, I had a funny experience about it.

Last April, my cousin and I went to Iloilo to visit our relatives and as well as to attend my interview in West Visayas State University College of Medicine (By the way, I didn’t make it because I am not from Region 6). While onboard, I asked my cousin for some important Hiligaynon phrases.
Hipos bala is thank you”, he said.
“Huh? I thought it’s salamat gid?”
“Basta, trust me! I’ve been to Iloilo many times na.”
So yeah, I thought he was serious. My cousin is fond of making jokes and it’s really hard to discern if he’s serious or not (or am I really THAT gullible?!)
The next day, we hailed a jeep that plied the route to Robinsons. The jeep was almost full, in which most of the passengers were old ladies. My cousin and I were the only men inside the jeep aside from the driver. I remembered his tip and I was thinking of being courteous to the old ladies. With confidence, I grabbed my coin purse and handed them our fare.
With a faux Ilonggo intonation , “Manang paabot, bayad namon, duha ka bilog, hipos bala!”
Everyone was staring at me. What the fuck. My cousin elbowed me and whispered something, “Ba’t mo sinabi ang hipos bala? You know me naman na I was joking yesterday!”
The old lady in front of me laughed.
“Ay ‘to, indi ka man Ilonggo ah!” (Boy, you’re not an Ilonggo!)
“Ano po pala ang hipos bala?” (What’s hipos bala?)
“Naku hijo, kung sa Ingles pa yan, shut up na!” (Boy, it’s shut up in English!)
We all laughed but honestly I was a bit embarrassed, pero keri ko pa rin. It was a good thing though that they weren’t offended from my honest mistake.
So I was literally saying, “Manang, paabot po ng bayad namin, dalawa, shut up!”
Here are some tips about Hiligaynon:
  • Subong is now, karon is later. The latter is now in the Visayan language. Quite confusing.
  • If you’re fluent in Visayan and don’t understand them, never say “Dili ko makasabot!”. Instead, say “Indi bala ko makainstindi [haw].” Sabot in Hiligaynon is pubic hair, ergo, Dili ko makasabot is “I don’t have pubic hair”. Funny.
  • Don’t be offended if they call you Manong or Manang even if you’re below 20 years old. It’s their way of saying ‘ate’ or ‘kuya’. It’s respect.
  • Don’t forget to say, “Namit gid” after eating their delicious food (BTW Iloilo’s known for its delicious La Paz Batchoy. Yum!)
  • The last but not the least, Hipos (or Hipos bala) is shut up!
Guess I should do some research or ask some credible people before yakking something. My cousin’s a big jerk but yeah, I already forgave him.
It was one of the funniest moments of my Iloilo trip!


  1. Nice, blog renz! Mehehe, we're on the same blogging platform again hahaha

  2. Hahaha. It's really the intonation that makes Hiligaynon distinct. Sa Manila, kahit nagTatagalog, malalaman mo talaga kung Ilonggo yung tao.

    Proud Ilonggo here!:)

  3. kasadya basahon sang imo gin sulat :)

  4. @Mervin Hahaha! Babalik at babalik pa rin tayo sa Blogger! :) Good to know you're here din pala! Thanks!

  5. @Cza Hahaha! At first budlay bala gid mag tuon ng Hiligaynon, pero keri lang! Really love the Ilonggo intonation. Indi ko makadetermine if naakig na gid akon ka-hambal o indi. :)

  6. @Joanne: Ti maayo nalang gid indi sila naakig sa akon gi hambal!

  7. Wait till you hear Kinaray-a...the said mother of Hiligaynon. Hahahaha!!! Maan na lang kanimo kon makakamaan ka kang Kinaray-a kay abaaawww toto, garagumo gid na run! Hehehe!! :D

    Back when I was 1st year college, I was a Manila Boy. No knowledge whatsoever of Ilonggo...but my dad forced me to speak one. While on the process of learning it, I got to learn Cebuano-Bisaya too. Hiligaynon bridged that gap since a lot of Tagalog and Bisaya terms are in Hiligaynon.

    I graduated, and I can speak Hiligaynon, Cebuano and a bit of Kinaray-a.

    When I read about, "hipos bala," I was dumbstruck. LOL! Good thing Ilonggos know you're a visitor by just listening...and they'll give u the right tips. ;)

  8. Since gatuon ka sang Hiligaynon, ari naman ang isa ka lengwahe nga guina-usar man sa isla sang Panay. Ugaling mabati-an lang ini sa amihanan nga bahin sang isla. Wan...tu...tri...

    "Ro anwang na nageog-gaeog sa eogan-eogan."
    "Ro kaeamay nagakaeapit sa kaeaha."

    Welcome to Boracay! :D

  9. Hahaha! Sabi ng classmate ko, ang Kiniray-a, parang puro consonants lang. Hahaha.

    And with regards to the 2nd comment: WHAT. Parang Korean/Hangul lang :))

  10. haha...i know that second's aklanaon right?..haha...much better if you hear it live--mas nakakaaliw talaga!ika nga ng classmate ko na galing roxas city, capiz:"mawala lang ako kahit saan sa panay region, wag lang sa aklan kasi hindi niya ko talaga maintindihan!"take that!even someone from the ilonggo speaking region said that!...i can roughly translate the words aforementioned:
    kaeaha-kalaha of course!/karahay(cebuano)/frying pan

    and i might add also one thing, never be allowed to be called "yaw-ay," sor it meant ugly!
    have fun learning!

  11. nagakadlaw man ko sa jeepney na scene

  12. siguro tinulok ta na ka sang mala-in kung ako to gnhambalan mo sang hipos bala. hahaha. budlay man gd magsulod sa west med.


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