Philippine Gay Language: A Pidgin

Inquiries about the meaning of the gay language in the Philippines have been raised including the origin of the terms used. The Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia defines it as “a vernacular language derived from Englog, and is used by a number of gay Filipinos. It uses elements from Tagalog, English, and Spanish, and some are from Niponggo, as well as celebrities’ names and trademark brands, giving them new meanings in the context of this unique language” (Wikipedia). This is supported by studies which show that the terms have evolved due to the contribution coming from the different dialects and languages in the country introduced and used by the speakers themselves, the ‘gays’.

As an observer, I was encouraged to conduct this similar study of which the output will give a back up explanation to some intelligent assumptions facing it as form of communication used by the people of the third sex, and come up with a clear concept about its meaning. The result will also help provide some reasons of its emergence in the country.

Specifically, my study aimed to: (1) determine the meaning of the gay language in the Philippines; (2) trace the origin of some terms in use; (3) provide a brief explanation of its emergence in the country.


The gay language in the Philippines is a 'pidgin'. Filipinos of the third sex decided to come up with a form of language that is only peculiar to them to facilitate communication among the members with a slight intention of concealing the real message behind the information being expressed.

My point of considering the gay language as a ‘pidgin’ is in reference to the Wikipedia, online free Encyclopedia that defines it as “a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common, in situations such as trade , or where both groups speak languages different than the language of the country in which they reside (but there is no common language between the groups). A 'pidgin' language is, fundamentally, a simplified means of linguistic communication, as is constructed impromptu, or by convention, between groups of people. A 'pidgin' language is not the native language of any speech community, but is instead learned as a second language. A 'Pidgin' language may be built from words, sounds, or body language from multiple other languages / cultures. 'Pidgin' languages usually have low prestige with respect to other languages.”

This gives a clear idea to consider the gay language as a ‘pidgin’. This is also strongly supported by the discussion in a research paper entitled "The evolution and Expansion of Gay Language in the Philippines" (cited in in which the researcher stated that “discrimination of gays have paved way to the creation of a code of communication which only gays could use.”

This claim is strongly agreed by 100% of the participants of my study as reflected in the survey questionnaire I administered to them. On the other hand, my survey proved that this ‘pidgin’ is brought by the intention of these group of people, the gays, to observe confidentiality of whatever issues or business they have in such a way that nobody can comprehend it except those who belong to the groups.

Apparently, this ‘pidgin’ has spread throughout the country since the speakers are mostly part of the Arts industry. The spread could be inevitable like a ‘virus’ for some of the terms sound amusing that bring pleasure to the ears. This gives us the analysis about the gays’ attitude of being ‘jolly’ and ‘funny’ as reflected in the choice of words they use.

The emergence of the gay language can be likened to the need of the computer experts to come up with various technical terms to be used as ‘common codes’ by the users in operating the computers. These ‘common codes’ can be considered a ‘pidgin’ which can only be understood by users who are computer literate. This idea is supported by the study conducted by Stephen Hinde and Guillaume Belrose entitled “Computer Pidgin Language: A new language to talk to your computer?(cited in /techreports /2001). In this study, Hinde and Belrose (2001) points out the need to have a Computer Pidgin Language (CPL) purposely to teach people a new language that is efficient for dialogues with computers. Their study is inspired by the aim “to create a completely new language that people would have to learn and practice to facilitate easy operation of the gadget.”

For some consideration, it is learned that the words and terms used in this ‘Philippine gay language’ quickly undergo changes due to the speed contribution shared by the ‘speakers’ who come from the different places in the country . This also results to the variance of the terms affected by individual dialects.

Examples of the gay language based on the data gathered in Southern Mindanao are:

1. Ang - (adj.) means ‘old’ (syn. ang mangga; mangage)
2. Bangles - (adj.) means ‘dull; unintelligent’ (syn. bobang)
3. Biyao – (adj.) means ‘handsome’ (syn. biway)
4. Borlogs - (v) means ‘to sleep’
5. Boy George - (n) means ‘pork’
6. Brain - (adj.) means intelligent’
7. Chaka - (adj.) means ‘ugly’
8. Chipipay - (adj.) means ‘cheap’
9. Dadats - (n) means 'money' (syn. datung)
10. Gas - (adj.) means ‘hard’ (syn. gas abelgas)
11. Girlash - (n) means ‘girl’
12. Harija - (adj.) means ‘ mal-odorous smell’ (syn. Hara; haring)
13. It is - (demo. Pro) means ‘this’
14. Kohang - (v) means ‘to get’
15. Kohangera - (n) means ‘thief’
16. Kukkang - (adj.) means ‘big’ (syn. Kangkarots; kang; koh)
17. Lafang - (n) means ‘food’ (syn. Lapang; pan;, lapipang)
18. Madda - (n) means ‘mother’
19. Mahal kita - (adj.) means ‘expensive’
20. Murada (adj.) means ‘not expensive’
21. Natittay - (adj. means ‘died’ (syn. natayya)
22. Nawiwa - (adj.) means ‘lost’
23. Nomers - (v) means ‘to drink’
24. Obayun - (v) means ‘to buy’
25. One tao - (n) means ‘ a person’ (syn. one minuet)
26. Orocan - (adj.) means ‘fake; untrue’
27. Oyas - (v) means ‘to leave’; ‘to go away’
28. Pangka - (adj.) means ‘crazy’ (syn. to be)
29. Pekaboo - (v) means ‘to engage in sexual activity’ (syn. epek; oros)
30. Pocahontas - (n) means ‘bisexual’ (syn. Poca)
31. Rahsa - (n) means ‘rat’
32. Rhapsody - (adj.) means ‘delicious’ (syn. Marirap; maorap)
33. Rock-a-by - (adj.) means ‘destroyed’; ‘damaged’ (syn. narirak)
34. Sheta - (v) means ‘saw’ (past of ‘see’)
35. Talbog - (adj.) means ‘defeated; super ceded’
36. Tapeh - (n) means ‘shoes’
37. Tera - (adj.) means ‘bad’ (syn. Ters; thurs; Thursday; Theramyzine)
38. Tisa - (n) means ‘ gay’ ( syn. Tisa mae; yutis; kona)
39. Tuhing - (adj.) means ‘defeated’ (syn. tuhayla)
40. Umbag - (v) means ‘to hit’
41. Umbao - (n) means ‘ man’; ‘boy’
42. Wawang - (n) means ‘sweetheart’ (syn. wawing; wang)
43. Wis - (Ind. Pro) means ‘nothing’ (syn. was; witiring; warus; wiris; means ‘nothing’).
44. Wis epek - (adj.) means ‘not good’
45. Yading - (n) means ’fare; pay’
46. Yeh - (n) means ‘human waste’ (syn. bonel)

These terms are derived from few dialects in the country. The English language is also a source of which some words are derived from. Consider the following:

1) ‘Ang’ is derived from Tagalog ‘matanda’ meaning ‘old’.
2) ‘Bangles’ and ‘bobang’ are derived from Tagalog ‘bobo’ meaning ‘dull'; 'unintelligent’.
3) ‘Borlogs’ is derived from Tagalog ‘tulog’ meaning ‘to sleep’.
4) ‘Boy George’ is derived from Tagalog ‘baboy meaning ‘pork’.
5) ‘Brain’ is derived from an English tern ‘brain’.
6) ‘Chipipay’ is derived from an English term ‘cheap’.
7) ‘Dadats’ is derived from colloquial Tagalog ‘datung’ meaning ‘money’.
8) ‘Gas’ is derived from Tagalog ‘matigas’ and Tausug ‘matugas’ meaning ‘hard’.
9) ‘Hoh’ is derived from Tagalog and Tausug ‘mabaho’ meaning ‘bad odor’.
10) ‘Kuhangera’ is dived from Tagalog ‘kuha’ meaning ‘take’.
11) ‘Kukkang’ is a derivation of the word ‘koh’ originally derived from Bisaya ‘dakuh’
meaning ‘big’.
12) ‘Lafang’ is derived from English ‘food’.
13) ‘Madda’ is derived from an English term ‘mother’.
14) ‘Nawiwa’ is derived from Tausug ‘nalawa’ and Tagalog ‘nawala’ meaning ‘lost’.
15) ‘Nomers’ is derived from Tagalog ‘inom’ and Tausug ‘minum meaning ‘to drink’.
16) ‘One minuet’ is derived from English ‘one’ + ‘minuet’ to say ‘one man’ since some
Filipinos from the countryside pronounce the word ‘man’ as ‘min’.
17) ‘One tao’ is derived from English ‘one’ + ‘tao’ meaning ‘one person’.
18) ‘Oyas’ is derived from Tagalog ‘layas’ meaning ‘to stay away’.
19) ‘Pangka’ is derived from Tausug ‘dupang’ meaning ‘crazy’.
20) ‘Rhapsody’ is derived from Tagalog and Tausug ‘sarap’ meaning ‘delicious’.
21) ‘Rock-a-by’ is derived from Tausug ‘nalarak’ meaning ’destroyed’.
22) ‘Tapeh’ is derived from Sinama ‘tapeh’ meaning ‘shoes’.
23) ‘Tera’ is derived from Tagalog ‘ingitera’ meaning ‘envious’.
24) ‘Tisa’ is derived from Bisaya ‘bayot’ meaning ‘gay’.
25) ‘Ubayun’ is derived from an English term ‘buy’.
26) ‘Umbagun’ is derived from Bisaya ‘umbag’ meaning ‘to hit’.
27) ‘Umbaw’ is derived from English ‘boy’.
28) ‘Wawang’ is derived from Tagalog ‘asawa’ meaning ‘spouse’.
29) ‘Wis’ is derived from Tagalog ‘wala’ meaning ‘nothing’.
30) ‘Yading’ is derived from Tagalog and Tausug ‘bayad’ meaning ‘fare; pay’.
31) ‘Yeh’ is derived from both Tagalog and Tausug ‘ta-e’ meaning ‘human waste’.

Other terms are derived from a person’s name whose personality is reflected in the words. Examples:

1) Chaka - is derived from an international singer Chaka Khan.
2) Gas Abelgas - is derived from a Filipino TV News reporter named Gas Abelgas.
3) Harija - is derived from someone named Harry who is believed to have body
4) Orocan - is derived from a plastic product called Orocan.
5) Pocahontas - is derived from the American-Indian Walt Disney’s character

As a researcher, I concluded that the ‘gay language’ in the Philippines is truly a 'pidgin' considering its meaning based on the factors why it is formed by the speakers, and its features serve as a fact or proof.

My study also concluded that just like other 'pidgins' in the world, this ‘gay language’ will soon become a ‘Creole’ if acquisition continues since it is noted, based on the oral interview, that some women in the country are beginning to acquire this ‘pidgin’ through constant contact with the speakers.


1.Stephen Hinde and Guillaume Belrose (2001). Computer Pidgin Language: A New Language to Talk to Your Computer?
4.Wikipedia, the free Online encyclopedia

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