Years ago, I dug deeper into a possible repository of my mother tongue—the internet.

I was hesitant at first as possibly there could be none. Until I found a book, scientifically written and has preserved the dialect I woke up with.

Bisaja—scientifically known as Utudnon—is a hybrid dialect that was beautifully mixed. It is only spoken by five barangays: Kilim, Candadam, Gabas, Utod (Guadalupe) and Pangasugan.

The influx of dayos impacted the dialect, as it evolved through time. The dialect we speak today was a bit different several decades years ago.

Letters where omitted as words became shorter and loan words were later added to the dialect and has replaced others that have existed.

Before: Kiyabaw

Now: Kabaw

If I speak to a Waray, he can only understand a word or two. If I speak to a Bisaya, he would laugh as the words sounds funny. If I speak to a Cebuano, he will cringe at the way I talk.

Bisaja: Kujog ko sa injo bayay.

Bisaya: Kuyog ko sa inyo balay.

Cebuano: Kuyog ko sa inyo bay.

English: I’ll come with you at your house.

Cursing is a part of the dialect, it is not rude but should be used in caution. It’s fairly normal to casually curse not to someone but as an expression or emphasis.

Bisaja: Uli! Panitan ta ka sada ay.

English: Go home! Or else, I will skin you.

The dialect has no sing-song tune when spoken but has a distinct difference between regular Bisaya or Cebuano.

Key Difference vs. Bisaya

J “dyi”

In Bisaja, the first thing to be noticed is the J sound. Most Bisaya words with Y is equivalent to the J sound in Bisaja.

bajabas / bayabas / guava

dajon / dayon / enter

hujop / huhop / blow

husajon / husajon / to settle

kujog / kuyog / come with

Y (L)

Some Bisaya words with letter L has an equivalent of Ys in Bisaja.

bayay / balay / house

saya (sayâ) / sala / sin

waya (wayâ) /

wala / none

I “ee”

Tagalog speaking people regard Bisaya/Cebuano as people who are hard-tongued, this is also true to Bisaja. The “e” sounds are pronounced as “i”.

zero (siru)

lighter (laytirr)

U “oo”

In Bisaja, it is almost the same with Bisaya/Cebuano. The difference is how “o” sound changes to “u”. In a word with multiple o/u sounds, only the last o is retained while the others are written in u. But all are pronounced as u or ù.

upod (upùd)

robot (rubut)

B (V)

In most Filipino dialects, letter V is non-existent. That’s why when loan words becomes prominent in usage, the v sound is changed to b sound.

available (abilabul)

volume (bulyum)

T.V. (tibi)

P (F)

Like the b sound, letter f becomes p in Bisaja. beef loaf (bip lup) corned beef (korn bip) fan (pan) feet (pit) Also, when speaking in English, the pee sound unintentionally becomes fee or pfee. This is rare and uncommon.

five (pfive)

four (pforr)

Philippines (pilipfins)


When saying words with a letter r in it, it is usually spoken like vibrating/emphasizing the r.

asukar (asukarr) / sugar

karton (karr-tùn) / carton

Southern Kana

Southern Kana is a dialect of southern Leyte and in Southern Leyte; it is closest to the Mindanao Cebuano dialect at the southern area and northern Cebu dialect at the northern boundaries. Both North and South Kana are subgroups of Leyteño dialect. Both of these dialects are spoken in western and central Leyte and in the southern province, but the Boholano is more concentrated in Maasin City.

Speakers of these two dialects can be distinguished by their distinctive modification of /j/ into /dʒ/, as in the words ayaw (don’t) is turned into ajaw; dayon (come in) – dajun; bayad(pay) -bajad. Like the Mindanao dialects, they are notable for their usage of a vocabulary containing archaic longer words like kalatkat* (“climb”) instead of katkat.


Southern Kana can be further distinguished from Boholano by slight vocabulary differences, such as arang (“very”), for northern kana hastang, and standard dialect kaayo.

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash
© 2017 Onie Maniego and The Paper Drafts Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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