Glossary of Waray Terms

Glossary of Native Terms

All of these words were used in the book and are here for quick reference. 

Some of these are Waray, some Tagalog, some are common to both languages.

alimango

a fat, juicy crab that lives in brackish streams or sometimes in farms.  similar to dungeness but sweeter and we LOVE the fat, it’s the best part.

ate

older sister or someone who you relate to as an older sister even if she’s not really an older sister.

bahala ka

it’s up to you.

bahay bahayan

a little house you make yourself, to play in.

bahay kubo

traditional nipa hut — literally a “square house” because it’s just one room, four walls, in a square or rectangular shape.

baloto

native boat made from a hollowed log with sides nowadays made of plywood.

baon

food you take with you, or pocket money to buy food — my dad’s baon was a pot with rice and vegetables, or fish.

barangay

village or barrio, in politics its the smallest local government unit.

barkada

gang, but not with the bad connotation of gang — just a group of friends, running mate, crew.

barkos

ships – specifically the oceangoing ferries that carried people and goods all the way to Manila.

barong tagalog

traditional mens formal wear — a long shirt that hangs to mid-thigh.

bayanihan

helping each other, looking out for one another.

bayo

what you pound with a pestle — I guess that means its the mortar of “mortar and pestle”.

binigiw

small baloto — a fishing boat, made of hollowed tree trunk and bamboo sides, powered by a paddle and a sail.  My dad always had a binigiw for fishing.

buko

young coconut, taken when the skin is very thin and soft, and the juice is fresh and amazing.

buwa

when a coconut is is about to sprout, it forms a spongy thing inside that is tasty and fun to eat, which we call a buwa.  there is a more technical definition in the book.

camisita

undershirt, from the Spanish.

cedula

government ID — during martial law you had to have one of these or else you woudl be suspected of being an NPA.

cemento na balay

a sturdy house made of cement or cement over hollow blocks.

dalu-dalu

a type of sea snail, very tasty!

encantos

the magic people who live in trees or caves in the forest, they are sometimes called fairies in english but that makes them sound too harmless – they are a bit scary.

ganga

a type of seashell that looks like a small conch.

gaway

ginataan

amazing desert made from coconut milk, coconut milk, tubers, tapioca pearls, and sago.

hagnaya

a type of vine used for making baskets and other things.

inay

mother – but in my case we used this to refer to my grandmother and used ‘nanay’ to refer to my mom.

iraid

a type of native dessert – grated cassava with some fillings, mostly young coconut

isda

fish.

jeepney

in Manila and large towns, jeepneys are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines They are known for their crowded seating and funky decorations.  Q: How many people fit in a jeepney?  A: One more.

kabak

a type of delicious bread.

kaguran

used for grinding coconut — a bench with a metal ball.  You sit on the bench and grind the coconut on the metal ball in front, pressing down.  If you are a tiny kid, the problem is, the back end of the bench pops up in the air when you push down, so you get another kid to sit behind you to keep it from popping up in the air.

karabao

a water buffalo.

kuya

older brother, or anyone who feels like an older brother — meaning someone who is a little older than you, but not old enough to be uncle (tito) or older yet, Manong.  Just kuya, older brother.

lakub

which is a section of bamboo used as a jug

lechon

a roasted whole pig.  Lechon actually refers to the manner of cooking, so technically roasted pig is lechon baboy.  But we just say lechon and everyone knows what it means.

ligaw

a suitor “makes ligaw” — to profess your affection.

lusong

the mortar part of a mortar and pestle.

malasugi

a blue marlin.

mano

older man, a term of respect.

muko-puko-ay

a children’s game.

nanay

mother

ngurukuru

a ground bird who makes a sound that sounds like its name.  some kind of pigeon or dove, I think.

nipa

the palm that goes into making thatch for huts.

onglo

bigfoot like creatures, cannibals, that live in the forests of Samar. They are very shy and just lie down wherever and sleep there.   

palo

to spank or slap, usually as a punishment, as in punishing a child.

pantaw

a large thatch-roofed structure with open sides where the owners and workers dry the coconut and make it into copra

pasalubong

whenever you make a trip, you must bring home a pasalubong — a gift that tells people you were thinking about them.

patentero

a kid’s game – played by drawing squares on the ground and dividing into teams, with one team defending the spaces drawn.

patuloy ang buhay

life goes on.  As in, we lost everything but we  survived the storm — so patuloy ang buhay, life goes on.

pitiw

a kid’s game played with two sticks, a big one and a little one. This also called ‘chatu’ in tagalog.

rapak

a stick like bamboo, mostly used as an interior divider in a house to make separate rooms or bedrooms.

rimas 

breadfruit – not normally thought of as food for people in the Philppines.

saba

its a banana that you can boil lake potato, but i suggest boil it when its almost ripe, its more yummy that way.

sala

the main room of a house — from salon, Spanish.

salasugi

a sailfish, smaller than a blue marlin but still exciting.

sangkay

a friend.

sari-sari

small variety stores — a small one is our 7-11, a larger one more like our version of a Walgreens.

sawali

split bamboo, that is woven to make walls for native houses.

tambalan

a native, traditional healer or Shaman.

tatay

a father.

tita

an aunt.

totong

the crispy, brittle, burnt rice left at the bottom of the pot after cooking lots of rice over an open fire.

tuba

coconut wine.

tutut

a type of crab that lives in the brackish streams near the mouth of river. This crab has a very hard shell, so you realy got to love it to enjoy it. The best way to cook is to make soup with cucunot milk.         

ube

a purple sweet potato.

waray

he people of samar.  The word itself means “nothing”.  I know, a strange name for our people.  Our language is waray-waray, which I guess is “double nothing”.

waray na

nothing, no more, finished.  As in — do you have any money?  “Waray na”…

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