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Rizal and the Chabacano[1]

by Emmanuel Luis A. Romanillos

      A rare literary piece in Chabacano is preserved in a Spanish classic of the Propaganda Movement. No less than Dr. José P. Rizal’s literary masterpiece contains a rare dialogue in the creole dialect. You can find the amusing and endearing conversation in Chapter 28 titled Tatakut of his immortal El Filibusterismo. Here now is the hilarious conversation between a Manila student and the owner of a candystore on the arrests of some people perpetrated by colonial authorities:

En Manila, en una dulcería que había cerca de la Universidad, muy frecuentada por estudiantes, se comentaban las prisiones de esta manera:

―Ya cogí ba con Tadeo?” preguntaba la dueña.

―Abá, ñora, contestaba un estudiante que vivía en Parián, pusilau ya!

―¡Pusilau! ¡Nakú! ¡no pa ta pagá conmigo su deuda!”

―¡Ay! No jablá vos puelte, ñora, baká pa di quedá vos cómplice. ¡Ya quemá  yo ñga el libro que ya dale prestau conmigo! ¡Baká pa di riquisá y di encontrá! ¡andá vos listo, ñora!”

―¿Ta quedá dice preso Isagani?

―Loco-loco también aquel Isagani,” decía el estudiante indignado;  no sana di cogí con ele, ta andá pa presentá! ¡O, bueno ñga, que topá rayo con ele! ¡Siguro pusilau!

La señora se encogió de hombros.

―Conmigo no ta debí nada! ¿Y cosa di jasé Paulita?

―No di faltá novio, ñora. Siguro di llorá un poco, luego di casá con un español.[2]

The popular versions of the Fili in English, French and various native dialects—that left the Latin and Tagalog phrases untouched—have strangely, absurdly and inexplicably translated the peculiar Chabacano dialogue, and in the process they have cast our endearing Spanish dialect into oblivion. Only the Filipino version by the José Rizal National Centennial Commission (1961) and Priscilla Valencia’s English rendition (1978) have conserved the Creole Spanish conversation.[3] Doubtless, Rizal’s purpose in including it in his work was to inject local color in the narrative through the Chabacano dialogue. Humor is very clearly the novelist’s intention: the sweetshop owner’s response shows an ill-focused selfish concern over the non-payment by the executed creditor. Nevertheless, the Filipino and English translators did not see it that way. Unfortunately, true to the appropriate Italian adage traduttori, traditori [meaning, translators, traitors], the translators betrayed the novelist’s intention. Their myopic attitude has likewise contributed to the disappearance of the Spanish dialect even from our literary tradition.

A similar precarious situation of Chabacano is observed in the province of Cavite, where it is gradually but ceaselessly pushed by force towards its gradual disappearance. It had already vanished from the Manila districts of Ermita, Quiapo, Malate, San Nicolás, Binondo, Santa Cruz, Trozo and Paco in the postwar years. In Ternate, Cavite,  only 3,072 residents spoke Chabacano as their mother tongue in 1990, that is, 40 percent of the total population. In 1995, we find only 22.47 percent of the Ternate population of 14,215. The decadence of our creole Spanish is observed more notably in Cavite City. In 1990 there were only 3,405 Caviteño speakers of the city’s total population of 91,480.[4] The 1995 figures  slightly with 3,316 speakers of the city’s 92,391 (or 3.59 percent). In the glorious days of 1942, some 18,000 Caviteños and 12,000 residents of Ermita in Manila spoke Chabacano, according to estimates made by H. Otley Beyer (1883-1966).[5] Chabacano in all its other variants, however, fares quite well with a total of 424,273 speakers in the whole archipelago (up from 292,630 in 1990).[6]    

Rizal’s postcard in Chabacano

The national hero of Calamba, who was lodged at Victoria Iriarte Hotel in Hongkong,  once sent a postcard to Pedro Alejandro Paterno. The card was postmarked 9 February 1888.[7] Rizal wrote:

Ñol. Aquí está nisós con ñol Iriarte. Yo di andá na Londrés, di pasá por Estados Unidos. Pronto di visitá con vos. Ya mandá nisós expresiones con el mga capatid y otro pa suyo.

Adiós, ñol Maguinoo.

                                                          Rizal [rúbrica]   

Rizal informed Paterno that he was with Mr. Iriarte. He was to leave for London and pass by the United States on the way to Europe. He would pay them a visit very soon. The nationa hero extended his regards to the brothers in the Propaganda Movement and to the Maguinoo or Gentleman, Pedro Paterno himself.  

Chabacano letters and postcards to Rizal

A great short-story writer, novelist and poet of the Golden Age of Hispanic-Filipino literature, Ermita-born Jesús Balmori (1886-1948) demonstrated his skill in Chabacano in his short story Na maldito arena (On the Cursed Sand). Jaime C. de Veyra (1873-1953) observed in his time that “the Spaniards who heard the dialect spoken found more reasons to ridicule than appreciate it. “This happened,” continues De Veyra, “when V. P. López used it in his novel El filibustero (The Subversive). But it was not that way with Cauit (pseudonym of a Creole born in Cavite, Rizal’s friend and contemporary in Madrid, Evaristo de [sic] Aguirre), who showed hilarity in Chabacano.”[8]

Evaristo Aguirre, Madrid-based poet and essayist, maintained a regular correspondence with Rizal for almost three years. It started with Rizal’s postcard sent to him from Paris on 1 January 1886, followed by a 25 January letter. It was only in September 1886 when Aguirre finally knew of Rizal’s whereabouts and wrote him his first letter. In May 1887 he mailed to Pepe or Che Rizal in Berlin a postcard with the following message:

Querido Ché: ¡Masiado también vos! ¡Curioso vos! Pensaba yo tallá vos con nisós na Manila....  ¿No caso? Ta dispidí vos conmigo na lotro día; agora, ¡tallí pa vos! ¡Bueno! Ya recibí yo el cuatro mñga libro: ya vindí el tres, uno con ñol Teban, otro, con ñol Dandoy [Eduardo de Lete] y otro pa, de quedá conmigo. Taquí ya nisós mñga cababayan; ¡lintic!: ¡bueno sana topá rayo con todo este mñga jindut de cachichao! Mañana sana de escribí yo con vos, lalgo y corrido. Agora, 15, piesta de  S. Ysidro y de todo este mañga  pangoso de cachichas. Ta reclamá nisotros bueno, bueno, dahil no pa contento ellos di traí nisós cababayan, te dale tuduvía un trato menos conveniente. ¡Bueno sana tisá duru! Allí ya vos; voy, premero. Cauit.[9]

Evaristo Aguirre wrote lengthy letters in Spanish to his fellow propagandist Rizal. A total of twelve seemingly endless letters and two postcards shed light on the activities of the Propaganda Movement in 1886-1888. “In spite of his being of pure Spanish blood,” writes John N. Schumacher, “his letters show that he considered himself purely Filipino, and his nationalism was of the most ardent.”[10] The Caviteño propagandist’s correspondence of 11 November 1888 was his last; Rizal broke with him in his 8th November letter. It is very unfortunate that not one letter sent to Aguirre, a close ally of Eduardo Lete, has been preserved for posterity.

Only a handful of Rizal’s correspondents kept his letters. The mere possession of Rizal’s novels or letters and association with him had meant either incarceration, torture or deportation. The Kawit-born español insular died very young. In his exile at Dapitan in Zamboanga, Rizal would gravely mourn him and other deceased colleagues in the Propaganda in a 1895 letter: “How many friends of my youth have passed away! Abreu, [Evaristo] Aguirre, [Anacleto] del Rosario, Antonio Paterno... How lonely we the living are becoming! Here I live alone and I live only on memories, the memories of good friends.”[11]

A letter was mailed to Rizal on 6 September 1887 from a house at Rambla Canaletas, Barcelona, where Rizal’s staunch defender and most faithful colleague Mariano Ponce resided for a long time before the transfer of La Solidaridad newspaper to the Spanish capital. The sender was J. Peilifen. Teodoro M. Kalaw, getting the clue from the initials, thought it could be Jose Ma. Panganiban, the brilliant propagandist from Camarines. Most probably, J. Peilifen  was Dr. Máximo Viola’s pseudonym. A scrutiny of the style and content strongly suggests it. Dr. Viola is known among Rizal scholars and students as the Savior of the Noli for having loaned money to Rizal for the printing of the Noli.  He had learned that the famed novelist—his travel companion in Germany and Austria—had returned to the Philippines in August. The penultimate paragraph of the Bulakeño physician’s letter says:

Ya ta escribí yo una vez con vos y ta enviá yo al mismo tiempo la crítica del Diluvio de vos novela. La Publicidad también ya publicá en dos números un estudio crítico acerca sa aquel mga capítulo agrio y amargo particularmente, y ta decí pa que aquel dao novela de vos encierra mucha verdad, y ta asegurá pa que ang gumawa o ang kumatha había escrito con mucha prudencia. Mariano Ponce ha de publicar un estudio crítico naman at kung mayari ipadadala ko sa iyo, ñol.[12]

La Publicidad, a Barcelona newspaper, had as its correspondent Miguel Morayta, a pro-Filipino journalist and future founder of the Masonic lodge Gran Oriente Español, one of the numerous lodges that played an active role in the Philippine anti-friar, nationalist movement. El Diluvio was a Republican periodical published also at Barcelona. Both papers carefully wrote about the propagandists’ activities in Spain.

Dr. Viola’s last line—except the final ñol—may be deemed an excellent illustration of the very unusual, albeit now-extinct [or probably non-existent] medium of communication called Spangalog, the unsuccessful marriage of Spanish and Tagalog. Definitely, the phrases are not Chabacano. In Chabacano it would be: “Di escribí Mariano Ponce un estudio crítico y, si hecho ya, di mandá yo aquel con vos, ñol.”

Rizal en route to the Philippines        

On his first return to Manila in 1887 after a European five-year sojourn, the Calamba hero had enough time to refresh his communication skills in Chabacano. He met two Filipinos proficient in the lengua de tienda, a term he alluded to the Spanish creole dialect. Rizal had boarded the steamer Djemnah at Marseille, France, and mailed a letter on 7 July 1887 to his good friend and Ateneo classmate Fernando Canon[13] who was then in Barcelona, describing his fellow travelers’ language proficiency to Canon:[14]

We are some fifty passengers... I am the only one who can talk with all of them, for the Chinese speak only Chinese, French and English; the English, English and a little French; the German, German and a little French; one Japanese, only Italian and the other Japanese only German beside their native tongue.  Furthermore, there are two Filipino servants who understand only market language. We played chess.

Of this first homecoming, eminent historian and biographer Gregorio F. Zaide and daughter Sonia wrote in their textbook: “There were about 50 passengers, including 4 Englishmen, 2 Germans, 3 Chinese, 2 Japanese, many Frenchmen, and 1 Filipino (Rizal).”[15] The father-and-daughter historical research team strangely ignored our first ever recorded Chabacano-speaking OFWs (overseas Filipino workers). Understandably, they opted not to mention the two English prostitutes who were traveling companions of three Chinese men. The biographers further said: “Rizal was the only one among the passengers who could speak many languages, so that he acted as interpreter for his companions.” This is plain conjecture. Nowhere in Rizal’s narrative do we read of his interpretation job.  To make matters worse, the Zaides erroneously quoted their source as page 190 of the Epistolario Rizalino I (Aguirre’s letter), instead of page 290 (Canon’s letter).

Mi Último Adiós          

A fine translation of Rizal’s Mi Último Adiós is the Chaba-cano version done by Alfredo B. Germán (1906-1975).[16] Truly this is among Germán’s remarkable contributions to Chabacano literature. Último Adiós is deservedly ranked as one of the best translations of Rizal’s magnum opus in any Philippine language and dialect. It is superior to the Zamboangueño version. German’s work attempts to render the classic alexandrine verse, rhyme scheme, internal rhymes and poetic meter of the original, let alone the hero’s emotions and thoughts, and make it with flying colors. Definitely, traduttori, traditori cannot be said of him. So we take pride in quoting the full Caviteño version:

                      Último Adiós

Adiós, patria idolatrada, país del sol querido,

Perla del playa del Oriente, perdido Edén;

Yo ta dale a ti mi vida, tristi, dolorido;

Si sana más brillante, más fresco y divertido

También todo esto yo di dale para tu bien.

Na campo di batalla luchando cun delirio,

Muchu ya dale el vida sin duda, sin pesar;

No vale nada el sitio: ciprés, laurel o lirio,

Entablau o campo abierto, combate o cruel martirio,

Todo igual para quien ta amá su Patria y su hogar.

Yo di murí al ver el claridad despertadora

Qui el sol ta traí después de tanto oscuridad;

Si tu quiere grana para teñí tu aurora,

Taquí mi sangre, derrama tú na justu hora

Cun oro del luz naciente y su suave intensidad.

El sueño mio cuando yo pa muchacho inocente,

Y aquel cuando yo pa joven lleno di vigor,

Todo para mirá un día, perla del Oriente,

Seco tu ojos negro, alto tu limpio prente,

Sin raya, sin arruga, sin rastro di dolor.

Ensueño de mi vida, esperanza y consuelo,

‘¡Salud!’ ta gritá mi alma qui tan pronto dí salí.

‘¡Salud!’ Qué bunito caí para subí tu vuelo,

Murí para lugrá tu vida, bajo tu cielo

Murí, y aquí na tu tierra para siempre dulmí.

Si tú un día di mirá crisí na mi sepultura

Entre el grueso yerba, un flores llano y sin olor,

Atraca tú y dale un beso a mi alma pura;

na tumba frío di sintí mi prente el prescura

Di tu cariño y, di tu resuello, el calor.

Dijá qui el luna dale su luz suave y bunito,

Dijá qui el día traí su color brillante y audaz,

Dijá qui el viento quijá con su jumbada o grito;

Y si na mi cruz bajá y pará un pajarito,

Dijá que el pajarito cantá su canto di paz.

Dijá que el vapor subí por el calor ardiente,

Y na cielo quidá puro cun mi suspiro en pos;

Dijá qui un buen amigo llurá mi fin doliente;

Y si di noche ta rizá por mí algún gente,

Rizá también, Patria mía, para mi descanso a Dios.

Rizá para el muerto sin suerte, viejo o criatura,

Para todo qui ya sufrí tormento sin igual,

Para nisós nana qui ta quijá su amargura,

Rizá para huérfano, viuda, preso en tortura,

Y para ti, para lligá tu redención final.

Y cuando el noche oscuro ta cubrí el cementerio,

Y solo maná muerto qui ta hasí bantay allí,

No disturbá su descanso, ni su misterio;

Y en caso tu di uí son di lira o salterio,

Yo aquel, querida Patria, yo qui ta cantá a ti.

Cuando mi tumba ya quidá ya dejao en banda

Y nuay más cruz ni piedra para marcá su lugar,

Dijá qui ará el hombre y miñá cun azada

Mi mga ciniza antes qui todo quidá nuay nada

Y el polvos silví como alpombra de tu hogar.

Si no vale nada más cunmigo el tu olvido;

Yo di cruzá tu aire, y tu campo yo puede vé

Fino y limpio, yo di quidá un nota na tu oído;

Perfume, luz, mga color, rumor, canto, gimido

siempre di repití el espíritu de mi fe.

Amada Patria, dolor sin igual, sin amparo,

Uí, Filipinas, mi último adiós;

Tú ya cuidao cun mi tata y todo quien yo caro,

Yo di andá donde nuay más esclavo, nuay bárbaro,

Donde el fe no ta matá, y donde sólo rey el Dios.

Adiós, tata y nana, y mga hermano del alma mía,

Maná amigo de mi niñez, del tiempo qui pasá;

Dale gracias por mi descanso del fatigoso día;

Adiós, mi dulci estranjera, amiga y alegría;

Adiós a todo. Yo di murí para discansá.[17]

We have a rather mediocre Zamboangueño or Chavacano translation by Mrs. Norma C. Conti. In her version gone are the rhyme scheme, the internal and external rhymes, the classic alexandrine verse. Sin pesar has strangely become sin mucho pensar. Gone, alas, is the poetic language and beauty of the original. Read for yourselves excerpts of the Chavacano version:

                Mi Ultimo Adiós

Adiós, mi país adorada, región del sol querida,

Perla del mar de oriente; el di amon perdido Edén!

Alegre ta dale yo contigo mi vida, trite y sumiso,

Si este era más brillante, más fresco, mas floriao,

Siempre contigo yo ay dale, para tuyo y tu bien.

Na magá campos de guerra, peleando con delirio,

Otros ta dale contigo di ila magá vida, sin duda, sin mucho pensar;

hende importante si donde man el sitio, ciprés, laurel o lirio,

Plataforma o campo abierto, combate o cruel martirio,

Igual lang este todo na hora de necesidad del país.

Magá sueño di mío cuando antes batâ

Magá sueño di mío cuando jovencito, todo lleno de vigor,

Para mirá contigo algún día, perla del mar de oriente,

sin lágrimas na ojos, el cara alzao con orgullo,

Hende tan murucullo, nohay raya na frente y sin manchas de vergüenza.

Mi Patria, mi ídolo, dolor de mi magá dolores,

Querida Filipinas, uwí mi último adiós.

Allí contigo ta dejá yo todo — mi familia, mi amores.

Ay andá yo allá donde nohay esclavos, verdugos, ni opresores;

Donde el fe hende nunca ta murí, donde Dios el quien ta reyná.

Adiós mi tata’y nana y hermanos, trozos di mío alma,

Amigos desde diutay yo, allí na mi perdido hogar.

Dale gracias cay yo ay descanzá ya del fatigoso día;

Adiós, dulce extranjera, mi amiga, mi alegría,

Adiós con todo con quien yo ta amá, morir es descanzar.[18]


When and where did Rizal learn the Chabacano? We can only conjecture as we cannot provide any exact answer. But the hero himself offers us a clue in his memoirs: he could have learned it during his Ateneo years. He wrote that he frequently visited his grandmother in Trozo, Manila, where Chabacano was a prevailing dialect. Or he could have acquired it from schoolmates who resided in the Chabacano-speaking districts of Manila. After all, nothing was impossible to the gifted man from Rizal. He eventually mastered the such difficult languages as Latin, Greek, Arabic and Japanese. He was equally proficient in Italian, German, French, among other Romance languages.

The myriad benefits from acquiring a new tongue  were not new to Rizal. In January 1889, our national hero advised  Marcelo H. del Pilar to learn foreign languages, saying: “This [knowledge of a new language] will open to you the treasures of a country: that is, the knowledge, the learning treasured in the language.”[19]

Rizal would be delighted to know that our Hispanic linguistic legacy has withstood the ravages of time. So, we can enthusiastically proclaim with Rafael Palma (1874-1939), who wrote almost five scores ago, that: “The shadow of Spain shall be a pilgrim on our land over the years. We shall still speak her language, we who grew up hating her for her institutions and her people, we who with the passion for freedom decapitated her with the ax of the Revolution.”[20] Over 420,000 Filipinos―according to the 1995 national census ―shall continue speaking the language of Cervantes in the Chabacano tongue; so do millions everywhere in the country in their native tongues teeming with countless Spanish loan words. Truly, the soul of Spain lives on!


I. Articles.

El chabacano, in Oficina de Educación Iberoamericana, La lengua española en Filipinas: datos acerca de un problema, Madrid 1965, 21-24.

Alfredo Germán. Chabacano, in Filipino Heritage. The Making of a Nation viii. Manila 1978, 1986-1988.

Guillermo Gómez Rivera. Almost Spanish, in Filipino Heritage vii, Manila 1978, 1755-1758.

Virgilio S. Mendoza. The Pride of Caviteños, in 419th Foundation Year and 50th Charter Day Souvenir Program, Cavite City 1990, 50-54, 61.

Antonio Quilis, Celia Casado Fresnillo. La lengua española en Filipinas: estado actual y directrices para su estudio, in Cuadernos del Centro Cultural 27 (1991) 37‑63.

Emmanuel Luis A. Romanillos. El chabacano de Cavite, ¿Crepúsculo del criollo hispanofilipino?, in Linguæ et Litteræ 1 (1992) 9-14.

____. El Chabacano de Filipinas, in Latin Humanism in the Asian-Pacific Area:   Heritage and Perspectives, Treviso, Italy 1999, 220-228.

Godofredo Samonte, Cavite’s Chabacano, in 419th Foundation Year, 50th Charter Day Program, Cavite City 1990, 55.

II. Thesis.

Alfredo Germán. The Spanish Dialect of Cavite. University of  the Philippines, Manila 1932.

III. Books and pamphlets.

José M. Alejandrino. The Price of Freedom. Manila 1949. 

Bernardino S. Camins. Chabacano de Zamboanga Handbook and Chabacano-English-Spanish Dictionary. Zamboanga City 1999.

Jaime C. de Veyra. La Hispanidad en Filipinas. Madrid 1941.

Epistolario Rizalino I (1877-1890). Manila 1930.

Homenaje a Emilio Aguinaldo, 20 febrero 1964, Madrid 1964.

Oficina de Educación Iberoamericana. La lengua española en Filipinas: datos acerca de un problema. Madrid 1965.

Rafael Palma. El alma de España en Filipinas. Quezon City 1995. [With a Filipino translation by Edgardo M. Tiamson and an English version by Emmanuel Luis A. Romanillos.]

Antonio Quilis. La lengua española en cuatro mundos. Madrid 1992.

José Rizal. El Filibusterismo. Manila 1908.

Emmanuel Luis A. Romanillos. Cantos y poesías de Cavite en chabacano y español (Professorial chair lecture). UP-Diliman, Quezon City 1996.

John N. Schumacher. The Propaganda Movement: 1880-1895. Manila 1973.

Keith Whinnom. Spanish in the Philippines. Hong Kong 1954.

____. Spanish Contact Vernaculars in the Philippine Islands. Hong Kong 1956.

Gregorio F. Zaide, Sonia M. Zaide. Jose Rizal: Life, Works and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist and National Hero. Manila 1984.


[1]A paper delivered before the officers, members and guests of the Friends of the Cavite City Museum and Library, Inc., as well as City Hall and DECS officials at the Cavite City Library on 11 December 1996.

[2] José Rizal, El Filibusterismo, Manila 1908, 227. Bellow is León Ma. Guerrero’s translation:

At a sweetshop in Manila, frequented by students because it was near the University, the following comments on the arrests, were being made:

‘Has Tadeo been arrested yet?’  asked the owner.

‘Missis, he has been shot already!’ answered a student who lived in the Chinese sector.

‘Shot! My sainted mother! But he hasn’t paid me his accounts yet!’

‘Not so loud, missis. You might be taken for an accompice. I’ve already burnt the book he lent me! They might have searched my house and found it. Look sharp, missis!’

‘They say Isagani was also arrested.’

‘That Isagani was an idiot,’ said the indignant student.  ‘He wasn’t going to be arrested at all but he went and gave himself up! Whatever happens to him he deserves it. Shot maybe.’

The shopowner shrugged her shoulders.

‘He didn’t owe me anything. But what will Paulita do?’

‘She won’t lack for sweethearts, missis. Maybe she will cry a little, then marry a Spaniard.’  The foregoing translation is in El Filibusterismo, Manila 1996, 194. The chapter Tatakut is rendered as Panic.

[3] The translations of Rizal’s Chabacano phases are printed in footnotes.

[4] National Statistics Office, 1990 Census on Population, Socio-economic Demographic Characteristics of Cavite, Manila 1992, 74, 69.

[5] Alfredo B. Germán, Chabacano, in Filipino Heritage viii, Manila 1978, 1987.

[6] Emmanuel Luis A. Romanillos, El Chabacano de Filipinas, in Latin Humanism in the Asian-Pacific Area: Heritage and Perspectives, Treviso, Italy 1999, 226-227.  The figures are culled from the 1995 census published in 1997 by the National Statistics Office. 

[7] A reproduction of the postcard is printed at the page opposite page 236 of José M. Alejandrino’s book The Price of Freedom (Manila 1949).

[8] Jaime C. de Veyra, 34.

[9] Epistolario Rizalino I (1877-1887), Manila 1930, 264. Here is Encarnación Alzona’s flawed translation: ‘Dear Che: You are too much! You are curious! I thought you were already with our people [sic] in Manila... Is it not? I [sic] bade you [sic] farewell the other day; now you are still there! ... Good! I received already four copies of your book; I have already sold three, one to Mr. Teban, another to Mr. Dandoy, and another is with me. Your [sic] compatriots are here already. Lintic! It will be good if lightning strike these Castilas [sic]! ... ! I was going to write you tomorrow long and in detail. Now [sic], the 15th, is the feast of  San Isidro and [of] all these... fastidious Spaniards. We demand to be treated well. Because they are not satisfied with our countrymen they treat them ill. Perhaps it would be better to be hard then! Farewell, I’m going ahead. Cauit.’ See National Historical Institute, Rizal’s Correspondence with Fellow Reformists, Manila 1992,114. According to Cavite folks, the phrase mñga jindut di cachichao literally means “persons with f―g foul-smelling feet.”

[10] John N. Schumacher, The Propaganda Movement: 1880-1895, Manila 1973,  53.

[11] Rizal’s Correspondence with Fellow Reformists, 726-727.

[12] Epistolario Rizalino I (1877-1887) 302. “I already wrote you once and sent you at the same time Diluvio’s criticism of your novel. La Publicidad also publishes [sic] in two issues a critical study of the chapters that are particularly sour and bitter, and I told you [sic] also that your novel, they say, contains much truth and [it further affirmed that] the one who wrote it or created it had written with much prudence. Mariano Ponce is to publish also a criticism and when it comes out I shall send it to you, sir.” See Rizal’s Correspondence with Fellow Reformists, 150.

[13] Canon finished his course in electrical engineering in Spain. In the Philippines, he was commissioned as a general of the Philippine Revolutionary Army.

[14] ‘Pasajeros somos unos cincuenta: un general Chanu (francés) con señora, 3 hijos y dos ayudantes; dos matrimonios franceses con 4 hijos; 3 chinos con dos p. inglesas, dos japoneses, 4 ingleses, algunos franceses, dos alemanes y yo. Yo soy el único que puedo hablar con todos, pues los chinos no hablan más que chino, francés e inglés; los ingleses inglés y un poco de francés; los alemanes alemán y un poco de francés; un japonés, italiano sólo y el otro, solo alemán, además de su idoma. Hay además dos criados filipinos que sólo entienden lengua de tienda—jugamos ajedrez.’ See Epistolario Rizalino I (1877-1887) 290; Rizal’s Correspondence with Fellow Reformists, 143. The English translator [Encarnación Alzona] overlooked the phrase: “The German [speak] German and a little French.” She further translated lengua de tienda into pidgin Spanish, instead of market language. I’m sure two Chabacano Caviteño scholars Alfredo Germán [were he alive today] and retired PNU professor Librada Llamado would not approve sneering at Cabacano as market language. Linguists tell us that the pidgin is the communication, the lingua franca of the first speakers, while the Creole tongue is that same language spoken by their children.

[15] Gregorio F. Zaide, Sonia M. Zaide, Jose Rizal: Life, Works and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist and National Hero, Manila 1984, 114.

[16] Alfredo Germán, historian and undisputed authority in Caviteño in his time, was born at Caridad,Cavite, on 30 September 1908. He acquired his M.A. degree from the University of the Philippines with his thesis The Spanish Dialect of Cavite (1932). Journalism was his avowed calling. In 1928 Nicanor Abelardo composed the National Heroes Day Hymn with lyrics penned by Germán. In 1963-1971, he was chief historical researcher of the National Historical Commission. He passed away in 1975. See National Historical Institute, Dr. José Rizal’s Mi Último Adiós in Foreign and Local Translations, vol. i, Manila 1989, 211; Virgilio S. Mendoza, The Pride of Caviteños, in 419th Foundation Year and 50th Charter Day Souvenir Program, Cavite City 1990, 52-53.

[17] National Historical Institute, Dr. José Rizal’s Mi Último Adiós i, 211-213.

[18]Ibid., 213-215.

[19] Rizal’s Correspondence with Fellow Reformists, 252.

[20] Rafael Palma, El alma de España en Filipinas, Quezon City 1995, 3.



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