Barkada, Tropa, and Other Filipino Words of Spanish Origin

These Filipino words from Spanish will surprise you.
by Mario Alvaro Limos for Esquire PH   |  Aug 23, 2020
Image: Unsplash
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On July 31, a post on Facebook became viral for decrying a new restaurant in Washington, D.C. named Barkada Wine Bar. Barkada doesn’t serve Filipino food, but its American owners thought to use the word ‘Barkada’ because they wanted to pay homage to friendship, camaraderie, and every beautiful thing the word denotes.

Jessica Millete accused the owners of Barkada of cultural appropriation and white privilege in her viral Facebook post.

“What makes you think it's okay to take a word from another culture when you pay no respect or homage to the culture itself? No Filipino items on your menu, no Filipino flavors incorporated, no Filipino winemakers included, not even in your decor?” said Millete.

“Not to mention, the Philippines was colonized by SPAIN and SO much of your wine menu is from there!” she added.

Wait, what? So much of their wine menu is from Spain? Maybe because barkada is actually a loan word from Spain!

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You see, the Filipino word barkada and the Spanish word barcada actually refer to a ship filled with cargo or passengers. Its root word is barco (ship) supplemented by the suffix ada, hence, boatload in English. Its informal meaning refers to a group of people or friends.

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Surprised? Wait till you read about the following Spanish words you thought were Filipino.

Tsismis

Tsismis comes from the Spanish word chismes, which means gossip. There is an Ilokano word for gossip and it is sayangguseng.

Asikaso

Asikaso is derived from the phrase hacer caso, which means to pay attention or to take notice. The Filipino alternative to this loan word is tuon or pagtutuon.

Tropa

Just like barkada, tropa means a friend or a group of friends in Filipino. In Spanish, tropa means troop.

Sige

Sige comes from the Spanish word sigue, which means go ahead.

Maski

Maski is the Filipinized version of the Spanish phrase mas que, which means more than or greater than.

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Asar

Asar is a loan word from Spanish which means to roast, as in to subject someone to ridicule or criticism.

Gusto

Gusto is another loan word from Spanish which means pleasure or like. An alternative Filipino word for gusto is nais or hangad.

Lugar

In Spanish, lugar means place. The alternative Filipino word for place is pook.

Lakwatsa

Lakwatsa comes from the Spanish phrase la cuacha, which means to waste time by doing pointless things. In today’s lingo, it means gallivanting.

Trabaho

Spaniards in colonial times used to shout “trabajo!” while whipping Filipino slaves to encourage them to work harder. It means work. The alternative Filipino word for trabajo is hanapbuhay.

Intindi

Intindi comes from the Spanish word entiende, which means understand. The alternative Filipino word for it is unawa.

Kuwento

Nope, you got it wrong, kuwento is still derived from a Spanish word. It comes from cuento, which means story. A related Filipino word istorya, which also means story, comes from the Spanish word historia or history. The alternative Filipino word for cuento is salaysay.

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Kubeta

Kubeta or toilet is the Filipinized word for cubeta or bucket, barrel, or keg. And now you have an image of how they did business back in those days. It involved a bucket, barrel, or keg.

This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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