Ways to learn Cebuano

My mother warned that I should learn Cebuano before I come to live in Cebu. I lived with my family all my life. And she’s afraid that my husband (or anyone) would sell her only daughter out if I can’t understand what they’re saying. ^^’ True in fact, my in-laws rarely converse in Tagalog even if I’m around.

My husband says when Cebuanos go to Manila, they had to speak in Tagalog despite difficulties in speaking the language. In the same way, Manileños/Caviteños need to speak Cebuano when they come here. He further explains the pains they had to go through in school to learn the Philippine language and how tough his former Tagalog employer was when he required all his Cebuano employees to speak in Tagalog when he’s around.

So in order for me to adapt, I took note of several ways by which I could learn the language and speak it:

1)   Learn from someone close to you

Ask someone to casually teach you basic Cebuano expressions. In my case, I ask my husband about a conversation or expression I can’t understand and he translates it for me. I ask for the meaning of words I often hear from housemates, officemates and locals.

Just see to it that you ask someone patient enough, especially if you’re like me who constantly forget terminologies or confuse pronunciations and definitions. You wouldn’t want someone to walk out on you and say ‘Ay ambot sa imo!’

2)   Buy a dictionary

must have tool

Learn Conversational English, Tagalog and Cebuano in 24 Hours by C.S. Canonigo

Head to the nearest bookstore and grab a copy of a pocket dictionary. The Cebuano-English-Tagalog guide is very handy in case your Cebuano friend or family is not around. I bought mine at National Bookstore for 75 pesos only. Browse it before you sleep so you’ll save some vocabulary for tomorrow’s istoryahan.

3)   Watch TV Patrol Central Visayas and Cebuano TV commercials

Cebuanos love being updated with current events so at 5:00 pm, expect the neighborhood TV tuned in to TV Patrol Central Visayas. Local news in and around the City is reported in Cebuano. Consider also that TV news reporters speak slower and are more syllabicated in pronouncing, hence you could follow proper pronunciation of words.

You wouldn’t find this convenience if you’ll be listening to a family conversation. Chances are, you’d either be lost in track or you’d just phone a friend later. Tune in also to TV commercials. The repetition of words intended to establish recall is helpful for someone learning the local language.

4)   Listen to the radio

The FM and AM airwaves in the Visayas region wouldn’t bring you Jam 88.3 or Magic 89.9. Trust me. I’m missing the K-pop and J-pop segment on Jam already!

But don’t snub the radio just yet! Take this to your advantage. Listen to Love Radio or the local commentators on the AM stations. Do this while cooking, sweeping around the house, or while doing the laundry. You wouldn’t notice how you’d soon absorb local humor and politics.

5)   Eavesdrop on local Cebuanos

Yes. I know its bad, but I’m guilty in doing this. Unsuspecting locals wouldn’t know I’m listening because some would know I’m Tagalog. I often stay quiet. But I somehow manage to pickup on their conversation bit by bit. And then I’ll save some terms to ask Mr. H later on.

6)   Read the forums on Istorya.net


Grasp information from forumers on Istorya.net

What the heck! – you might say. Yes, this is serious. You can find a topic on almost anything at Istorya.net. If you Google up something related to Cebu, Istorya.net always shows up on the list. It’s their version of PEX (Pinoy Exchange). And how the heck are you gonna understand? Use No. 1 & 2. J

7)   Read signages around you

jeepney sticker

Barya lang sa umaga

Finally and the easiest of all!

Signages around the City often enrich one’s learning of the Cebuano language. You wouldn’t be needing No. 1 & 2 for this one. It’s more of using your IQ and common sense on understanding what it means. Some examples: “Ayaw pangihi dinhi.” “Sinsilyo lang sa buntag.” “Load na dinhi.” “Serbisyong delmar.” – Comment if you know what these mean. ^__^


Cheap ways to de-stress diri sa Cebu

Yesterday, I attended 2 job interviews. I commuted independently without the help of Mr. H – 4-5 rides of jeepneys I guess. There weren’t any traffic jams; smoke, heat and dust I endured during the travels were tolerable. I could still breath some fresh air courtesy of mountains surrounding the City. I didn’t have major language barrier problems since I’m used to the byahero lingo in here. Some must know for Tagalogs & Foreigners:

Para! = Lugar nya/Manaog

Baba = Naog

Sa tabi lang = Lugar lang

Paabot po (ng bayad) = Palihug

Bayad = Plete

Galing sa = Gikan sa

I was hungry after the last job interview. The carinderia that used to be beside the road was gone and to think I already have mild ulcer… Anyhow, I sufficed with a cup of coffee back at Mr. H’s office and another half cup of local tsokolate which I economically sipped while waiting for their out of office meeting to conclude. We went home around 9 pm and with no time to cook, we settled with instant noodles and our favorite char-grilled chorizo matched with puso sold outside.

Yesterday ended and we woke up late today feeling a little bit rejuvenated but still stressed – as in the things we were thinking from morning until before we slept remain running in circles through our minds. Although there were quite a few opportunities that we’re working on as well, we really ought to do any of our usual stress relieving regimens.

So far, this is how we cope…

1)   Jogging for me, Yawyan/Arnis practice for him

I wasn’t really eager for this one before. Considering how slow a runner I am and how my endurance hasn’t been physically challenged for some years now, I was always hesitant about this ‘idea’. But Mr. H allowed me to buy a new pair of rubber shoes to replace the broken one I had back in Cavite. It was sweet of him but his true ulterior motive was to eliminate my excuse for why I can’t jog or go climbing with him. =_=’

NOT A GANG WAR! Arnis sparring at Ayala Parking Lot in Cebu.

Cebu City Sports Complex

Cebu City Sports Complex. A sports venue open to the public.

So I was kinda forced into this, but later on appreciated it as well. We jog around the Ayala parking lot after office hours. Or on days when he’s not working, we run at the Cebu City Sports Complex. Sometimes, his fellow arnis and yawyan fighters meet up for sparring which lets me run alone (without a tyrant after my tails). XD I especially felt some sort of achievement when I was able to run the CCSC Olympic size running track for 2 laps. Last time, I was able to finish 3 laps!

You could definitely channel your inner angst/grudge/stress/rage in this physical activity and let yourself benefit from it.

Cost: Ayala parking lot (no fee); CCSC (PhP10/head before 5pm; PhP15/head 5pm onwards).

2)   Movie nights

I’m a fan of comedy films and he’s a fan of action flicks. Every other night, we try to find a movie to watch before bed. I only beg that for stressful days we watch something funny and uplifting rather than morbid violent ones. ^^’ Of course this is accompanied by late night snacks – usually peanuts or any left-over from edible groceries.

Anyone could use a good laugh after an anxiety-driven day!

Cost: PhP 20-30 pesos for midnight snacks

3)   Videoke

We rarely do this, but when we do its megalomaniac! There’s this cheap videoke bar aroung Mango Ave. – not the fancy ones but those catering to students with a tight budget. They have air-conditioned videoke rooms – more than 8 I think. What I like most is that they have new songs on the playlist/songbook! Definitely Katy Perry-Avril Lavigne-Rihanna!

We first went there with my college friends and then later on just the two of us. The bar also offers finger foods, meals and alcoholic drinks. But if you come in with a full stomach you won’t be paying a hefty price once you check out.

Singing your heart out can fine tune any broken string in your psyche!

Cost: PhP100 per hour (food/beverage not included)

4)   Camping

Mr. H. is a loyal and full-pledged mountaineer. And when he wants to take mind off things, a change of environment wouldn’t be such a bad thing.


Sunset at the campsite.

An ideal place is at RCPI in Lahug – a popular place for mountaineers without money as Mr. H says. The travel wouldn’t take 1 hour from the City. You can ride a habal-habal at JY Square Mall going up Mt. Babag. From the dropping point, its only 3-5 minutes hike up to the campsite which offers a spectacular view of Cebu City and nearby islands during the day. Night-lights across the panorama dissolve negativities and give you a moment of peace. The view from the top reminds you how small things are after all.

Temperature up the site could drop to 19 degrees. Waking up surrounded by fog and mist are also likely. It’s a tension reliever from the fast life in the City.

Cost: PhP250/head is a moderate amount and ensures you comfort and satisfaction for the transportation and food expenses on an overnight camping.

Now, now… what option to take later?

Feels like fresh out of college: Attending a job interview in Cebu

And so I’ve successfully surpassed my first job interview here in Cebu! ^__^

I’m in a half sleepless state now since I went to bed around 1am and woke up around 6 to prepare breakfast for Mr. H & me. He had a scheduled field service checkup this morning and couldn’t accompany me on my application. It must be Divine intervention though that the company’s location is just on the way to his friend’s house where we went partying last night. 🙂 Commuting alone went like a breeze! Mr. H was more nervous than I was. ;))

Unlike my real fresh-out-of-college job hunting days where traveling to Makati and Pasig was such a hassle, going to Talamban from Labangon isn’t so bad. Its only 2 jeepney rides and 30-40 minutes away. Its almost like being in Dasma… except for the occassional flyovers and a Gaisano or Robinsons mall popping every now and then on both sides of the road. You’ll know you’re in Talamban when you feel gentle to strong breezes of fresh air. Its actually heading to the mountain ranges of Cebu.

Mr. H doesn’t know the background of the company I’ve applied for — probably that’s why he was worried. {I told him just now upon arriving at his office :-p} Its a BPO company with clients based in the US and Australia. I got excited upon seeing they offer services for various print collaterals like brochures, posters, flyers etc. Upon arriving at the building (which is only a 2 storey commercial complex) – I doubted for a bit since I can’t find a signage of their office and people around don’t know where they’re located. So I read Ms. Sheila’s SMS and headed for the second floor which was entirely occupied by the company.

They look like they’ve just moved in and there are 3-4 rooms which seems to be in a mess. I found my way in and was interviewed without warning =_=… Good thing that despite the lack of sleep, I was still able to force myself to be a bit chummy. The interview was completely in English! Thank Goodness!!! I had a sudden cloud of comfort with the English language when, imagine being interviewed in Cebuano! LOLX!

After the interview, I was told to return around 12:30pm since there are still so many applicants undergoing a practical exam. I wasn’t given a clue as to what. I can’t make out with their computer screens what they’ve been tested with. So what the heck… I went outside and looked for a place to eat. The only place open though was this roadside karinderya where some Dodong pointed me to. The vendor was amiable though. She entertained me although they struggled responding to my Tagalog. I ordered some soda and siomai for lunch. Not long after, their avid customers came in for lunch. They all looked surprised to find a dressed up woman carrying a laptop (thank God I didn’t wear heels) eating inside — and they were all dusty and greasy.

It was odd but I managed to finish my food and thanked the lady who served me. 🙂 I went back up to the office to have my practical exam. And what do you know?! Its Logo Design – the most challenging in terms of graphic arts =_= The early morning effort to compile my portfolio went to waste. Curly, the guy who gave me the exam, told me I have 1 hour to finish the test. Thankfully he wasn’t that strict. I finished 5 minutes over the time given.

Sheila talked with me after the exam to discuss the needs of their clients and what they’re looking for. I’m having positive vibes about it, but I don’t want to be overconfident. It wasn’t the best logo design I made anyway. I’m just happy I made it through without shaking or being mentally blocked.

Will get a long sleep later! 🙂