100 Days in Cebu, Part 2

The hotel receptionist greets you “maayong buntag”. The cab driver listens to news and drama broadcast in the native tongue. Mass is said in Cebuano (and English). Newspapers printed in the local language are also more popular than the national dailies.

The Cebuano language is not very difficult to understand. Not for a hobbit who grew up in Bicol, where plenty of words are quite similar to some Cebuano terms. Despite the familiarity of some words, there were many times though that this hobbit was caught toungue-tied. He freaked out when none of the words sounded like nouns and verbs. Totally clueless, all he could manage was a yes or no, a shaking of the head, or worse, just a blank stare.

As days pass, the confidence in interacting with locals improves. These were among the few words learned: palihog, ngohiong, gamay, dako, buntag, gabi-i, usa, pila, and gikan among others. Relying on context for meaning is still handy, but less of freaking out.

Well, it just needs some getting used to. That Cebuano accent will be a piece of cake soon. Thanks to the people of Cebu who have been very pleasant and kind. Love love love to you!


ArisMape is a travel insider at ABS-CBN's Choose Philippines. He loves orange, halo-halo, and PowerPoint, and hates beef, slow internet, and long taxi lines. His pastime is watching people watch other people. He swears on the power of smartphone. His half-life? Thirty.