Random | Ala Eh! Interesting and/or Funny Batangueño Words and Expressions

Batangas: Lalawigan ng Magigiting
photo source: Google street view

As I have mentioned in my About page, I am a Batangueña, though I was born in Pangasinan (my mother is a Pangasinense). My father is a full-blooded Batangueño and I was raised there. When I first started my work here in Manila, my officemates usually kid me with "ala eh, batangueña ka pala" (translated as "oh, you're from Batangas") imitating how Batangueños say "ala eh". Batangan or Batangas Tagalog is a dialect of the Tagalog language and is used mainly in the province of Batangas, though neighboring provinces like Cavite, Laguna and Quezon sometimes used it, too. It has strong accent placed normally on the last syllable of the word. The sentences usually end with the word "eh", too. Batangan also has this characteristic of separating and changing the vowel of the last syllable of the word, making the vowel the last syllable. For example, in Batangas, gabi (night) is pronounced as "gab-e" rather than "ga-bi".

Batangan or Batangas Tagalog usually elicit laughter and/or shock from other Tagalog speakers. Listed below are some of the interesting Batangan words you may have heard from Batangueños out there.

  • Ala eh - the most common Batangan expression stereotyped with Batangueños. This phrase normally signifies hesitation or disagreement to something and is usually present at the beginning of the sentence. For example, Batangueños would say "Ala eh, ikaw na la-ang mag-isa." which means "Go, just do it by yourself."
  • Are - pronounced as "a-re", which means "in this place" or "here". This word is normally used when pointing out misplaced thing that is usually nearby. For example, Batangueños would say "Are ga o, di mo ga makita? Ikaw ga'y bulag?!" which means, "Here it is, can't you see it? Are you blind?".
  • Bahite - meaning broke or with no money. During this quarantine time (because of COVID-19) here in the Philippines, I would normally see Batangueños post saying "Bahite na ako eh" which means "I have no money" or "I'm already broke".
  • Banas - meaning "hot" or "humid" though Manileños associate this word with trouble or displeasure. For example, Batangueños say "Kabanas naman ngay-on ah" which means "It's so hot today".
  • Barek - which means "to drink alcoholic beverages".  A common expression in Batangas: "sinsay muna dine at tayo'y makabarek" which means "come here, let's drink (liquor)".
  • Basaysay - which means "bahay" in Tagalog or "house or home" in English. I didn't know this term actually, I just got the meaning based on the context of the sentence it was used. I saw this on a Batangueño post in FB about the government's call on COVID-19 that says "Tumimo sa basaysay" which means "Stay at home".
  • Gulamot - another term I usually see on Batangueño posts nowadays (again, because of the quarantine) which means "kamay" in Tagalog or "hands" in English. So the famous COVID-19 pandemic expression "always wash your hands" when spoken in Batangan is "ika'y pirmeng maghugas ng iyong gulamot"
  • Hikap - which means "gala" in Tagalog or "to wander or go around" in English. See Tumimo below for the sample usage.
  • Laywan - which means "bubuyog" in Tagalog or "bee" in English. I recently saw my cousin's post about getting honey from a beehive near his house and this is what triggers its inclusion here. An example usage of this word: "Ika'y mag-iingat sa laywan" which means "Be careful with the bees". 
  • Liban - which means "tawid" in Tagalog or "to cross (the street)" in English. Batangueño students who are studying in Manila: "Liban na tayo" or "Tayo ng lumiban"; Manileño friends: (staring); Batangueño: interpreting his own words then say "Tawid na tayo" or "Tayo ng tumawid" which means "let's cross the street". Manileños or other Tagalog speakers stares because they thought "liban" means "to skip classes".
  • Mamay - a Batangan word for "lolo" or "grandfather", it's also used to refer to elderly male Batangueños. This is one of the famous Batangan words too because normally, Batangueños use mamay when they want to prove or confirm something. For example, Batangueños say "Ay totoo yu-on, itanong mo pa sa mamay" which means "It's true, you can ask grandpa about it".
  • Papagayo - which means "saranggola" in Tagalog or "kite" in English. I normally see this word nowadays too because in Batangas, summer season is associated with kite flying, especially with male teenagers. And adults too, actually. An example use of this word: "Tatayog ga naman ya-ang papagayo mo?" which means "Will that kite fly high?".
  • Pirme - which means "lagi" in Tagalog or "always" in English. See example usage of pirme in the gulamot entry above.
  • Pumirme - another Batangan word for "tumimo". See definition and example of tumimo below.
  • Sakol - which means "to eat with bare hands".  An example use of this word: "Kasarap namang kumain nang nakasakol eh" which means "It's good to eat with our bare hands".
  • Tumimo - which means "tumigil" in Tagalog or "to stay (in one place)" in English. This is normally used to tell the children to stay in one place or inside the house. For example, Batangueño parents say "Hikap ka ng hikap, ika'y tumimo/pumirme sa bahay" which means, "You're always moving (or going) around, stay at home". 
  • Ulaga/Usbaw - a Batangan derogatory word which means "stupid" or "foolish". Though a derogatory term, this word is usually used as an expression between friends joking around so is usually taken lightly. For example, Batangueños say "ika'y ulaga" to a friend which means "you are foolish".
  • Utay-utay - which means "dahan-dahan" in Tagalog or "take it slow or little by little" in English. For example, Batangueños say "Utay-utay la-ang, pasasaan baga't matatapos din ya-an" which means "Just take it slow, in time, it will be finished".
  • Yayao - which means "aalis" in Tagalog or "leaving" in English. This word usually elicit a shocked expression from non-Batangueños because they thought the person is bidding farewell because he is dying. Batangueños normally use this word as follows: "Ako'y yayao na" which means "I'm leaving".
I hope you've learn something about Batangas and Batangueños from this random post of mine. If you have Batangueño friends, ask them to read the samples to you in a true Batangueño way. Enjoy and have fun!


~ oo00oo ~

Because of this COVID-19 pandemic and the Luzon lock down, I now have more time browsing through FB posts of my Batangueño relatives and friends. Reading through their posts make me smile somehow, despite the fears and worries brought about by this COVID-19 disease. I imagine hearing them say these words and phrases with true and legit Batangueño accent to non-Batangueños and how non-Batangueños would react to them. Anyway, this is what happens when boredom strikes, you write random post haha.


~ oo00oo ~

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad! Jesus died for us because He loves us and He has risen to fulfill His promises to us. He will always be there for us, moreso during these trying times. Let us all rejoice and be grateful to Him for the gift of life and for saving us all from our sins. Let us also pray for His guidance and protection to us all and let's pray that this COVID-19 pandemic ends soon. God bless and Happy Easter everyone. #StayHealthy #StaySafe #StayHome please.

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