Let’s do “Dabawenyo speak”


[Someone from the Mindanao 1081 e-group posted this. He said a friend forwarded this to him and shared it to the loop. I’m not really sure if this was part of a full article or a blog entry.

Just the same, I’m sharing this here just to open some discussions. Ang masabi ko lang, eh ano ngayon? At least Dabawenyos have distinction truly its own.]

How can one distinguish a Davaoeno from a Cebuano? or from a Cagayanon?

Difficult? Easy. Davaoenos are one of the most unique people in the world. We can easily stand out if we are placed in a crowd of Filipinos from other parts of the country. And how, you say? Language.

Davao City, aptly called the melting pot of cultures, is home to many dialects. Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilonggo, Ilocano, Chavacano, Moslem,Bicolano. Name it, we speak it. If the Filipino language is a composition of all the dialects and languages in the Philippines, you might as well say that the language we speak in Davao City is the real Filipino language, and not Tagalog.

More…However, since it is a hodgepodge of different tongues, it is sometimes funny to hear ourlanguage “bastardizing”, for lack of a better word, the other dialects.

Strangely, that distinguishes us from the rest. Try these…

In stating a fact, Manilenos say, “Talagang mabait si Weng.” In Davao, we say. “Mabait bitaw gyud si Weng”.

Too assertive? One asks, “Ano nga `yong pangalan mo?”. In Davao we say,”Ano gani `yong pangalan mo?” (or worst, ngalan) When somebody commits a mistake or surprises someone, we always never fail to say, “Halaka!” Duh!



We are fond of re-constructing the language.

1) There’s the GI+ verb, such as,”Gisabi kasi ni Helen na mag-absent si Bernard bukas”, or “Ginanon ni Lalai si Belinda sa mukha”. You’ll never find “ginanon” in any dictionary, I swear.


2) There’s the KA+adjective, as in, “Kaputi gyud ng mukha ni Yang-yang”or “Kapayat gyud ni Jason ngayon.”


3) The MAKA+ verb form, such as, “Maka-inis talaga si Albert, uy!” or”Maka-uwi talaga ako ng matagal ngayon”.


4) The NAG+ verb, as in,”Nagsabi kasi si Tita Prescy na pupunta daw tayo ng airport” or “Hindi pa man siya nagdating, uy!”


Adding new words or new meanings to old words to the dictionary is one of our favorite past time.


NAKIN: “Alam man nakin `yan ba!”, “Saan nakin kita nakita gani?”.


KU-AN: “Ku-an daw ang gawin mo”, “Si ku-an kasi ano masyado”. (No sense at all.)


ANO: “Na-ano ka diyan, Bryan!”, “Ano man yan si Van,uy!”.


HA: “Lake-ha na ng tiyan ni Lulu uy!”, “Gwapa-ha niyauy!”


BEH: “Sige daw beh, dare!”, “Pakipasa daw ng ballpen ni Tzaris beh”.






KAY: “Huwag na, Wowie, kay nandito naman si Norma”, “Umupo ka muna kay nasa-CR pa si Elma.”

To express disgust for someone, we utter, “Gago kaba diay para maniwala sa kanya”, or “Ano man yan siya uy!”, or when pestered when doing something, you’d quip,”Huwag lagi ba!” On the other hand, when we praise somebody’s extra special deed or talent, our Davaoeno tongue slips words like,”Kuyaw lagi `yan siya!”, “Galenga niya uy!”, “Ayusa niya uy!”, “Kuyawa ni Orly uy!” or “Hindi ako makatu-o sa ginawa niya!”.

Hay, makatawa talaga. Ooops!

There are just too many words to mention. Just check out the words you spew everyday. Sometimes you just laugh at yourself when you realize that you’ve just said those very words. No matter how long you stay in Manila or in the States, the moment you’re back in Davao, your tongue feels as at home as you do. Language is the very soul of every being.

You just can’t do anything about it. Or as how we say it, “Anuhin man natin yan?”

Istambay: Your comments are welcomed! If you wrote this piece, please let us know. Thanks.


About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

6 responses to “Let’s do “Dabawenyo speak””

  1. kath says :

    hehe.. i’ve heard all of those from my dabawenyo and dabawenya relatives and all i can say..nakakahawa! 😀

  2. George says :

    Never heard of those kind of phrases from the people i knew came from Davao. My girlfriend is a proud Davaoena, but she speaks plain Bisaya or specifically Cebuano. She’s a Chinese descent Davaoena but she speak better Cebuano than some Cebuano Chinese in our school i knew. And I did visit Davao too, all the people i met or talk with speaks no difference here in Cebu. I wish i could go visit Davao again and get some fresh and sweet pomelo.

  3. Rowie says :

    That sort of language is shameful as we Dabawenyos turn out as uneducated when it comes to our own language/dialect. I hate hearing people speaking in broken tagalog nor bisayan….why can’t they just chose which one they would like to speak or doesn’t know how to construct the right grammar? That make sense? And worst, even at schools teachers are using this sort of language which is totally wrong, no wonder many students are like them…..Foreigners are a lot better than our students…..they speak our dialect almost perfect. Think about the future of this kids?

  4. ninoalmendra says :

    Nice! Being married to a Davawenya, this is something I can use from time to time. Salamat for sharing it! Mabuhay Kabayan =)

  5. Nadine says :

    I am from Davao. Nowadays, most of the Dabawenyos speak cebuano. Cebuano and Dabawenyo dialects are not the same. Dabawenyo dialect is an almost extinct dialect which only the old people of Davao know. Even I don’t know how to speak Dabawenyo, only my grandfather’s generation uses it to comminicate amongst themselves. Ask the old Palma Gils, they speak fluent Dabawenyo.

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