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.
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.
older sister or someone who you relate to as an older sister even if she’s not really an older sister.
it’s up to you.
a little house you make yourself, to play in.
traditional nipa hut — literally a “square house” because it’s just one room, four walls, in a square or rectangular shape.
native boat made from a hollowed log with sides nowadays made of plywood.
food you take with you, or pocket money to buy food — my dad’s baon was a pot with rice and vegetables, or fish.
village or barrio, in politics its the smallest local government unit.
gang, but not with the bad connotation of gang — just a group of friends, running mate, crew.
ships – specifically the oceangoing ferries that carried people and goods all the way to Manila.
traditional mens formal wear — a long shirt that hangs to mid-thigh.
helping each other, looking out for one another.
what you pound with a pestle — I guess that means its the mortar of “mortar and pestle”.
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.
young coconut, taken when the skin is very thin and soft, and the juice is fresh and amazing.
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.
undershirt, from the Spanish.
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.
a type of sea snail, very tasty!
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.
a type of seashell that looks like a small conch.
amazing desert made from coconut milk, coconut milk, tubers, tapioca pearls, and sago.
a type of vine used for making baskets and other things.
mother – but in my case we used this to refer to my grandmother and used ‘nanay’ to refer to my mom.
a type of native dessert – grated cassava with some fillings, mostly young coconut
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.
a type of delicious bread.
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.
a water buffalo.
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.
which is a section of bamboo used as a jug
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.
a suitor “makes ligaw” — to profess your affection.
the mortar part of a mortar and pestle.
a blue marlin.
older man, a term of respect.
a children’s game.
a ground bird who makes a sound that sounds like its name. some kind of pigeon or dove, I think.
the palm that goes into making thatch for huts.
bigfoot like creatures, cannibals, that live in the forests of Samar. They are very shy and just lie down wherever and sleep there.
to spank or slap, usually as a punishment, as in punishing a child.
a large thatch-roofed structure with open sides where the owners and workers dry the coconut and make it into copra
whenever you make a trip, you must bring home a pasalubong — a gift that tells people you were thinking about them.
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.
a kid’s game played with two sticks, a big one and a little one. This also called ‘chatu’ in tagalog.
a stick like bamboo, mostly used as an interior divider in a house to make separate rooms or bedrooms.
breadfruit – not normally thought of as food for people in the Philppines.
its a banana that you can boil lake potato, but i suggest boil it when its almost ripe, its more yummy that way.
the main room of a house — from salon, Spanish.
a sailfish, smaller than a blue marlin but still exciting.
small variety stores — a small one is our 7-11, a larger one more like our version of a Walgreens.
split bamboo, that is woven to make walls for native houses.
a native, traditional healer or Shaman.
the crispy, brittle, burnt rice left at the bottom of the pot after cooking lots of rice over an open fire.
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.
a purple sweet potato.
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”.
nothing, no more, finished. As in — do you have any money? “Waray na”…