Sunday, January 11, 2009


KALUGURAN DAKA, PALSINTAN DAKA, BURI DAKA. Eloquent expressions of romantic love abound in the Kapampangan language, but the best of course, will always be -- "I do!". Newlyweds Bene and Manda sent this photo to Mr. and Mrs. Candido Lazatin with the dedication: "Tanggapan ye pu ing retratu mi, tanda ning emi pamangalingwan..".

“O Jo, kaluguran daka…kaluguran sobra-sobra…Kasara da reng mata, pantunan daka” (O Jo, i love you..i love you so much. As soon as my eyes close, I search for you), so goes the Kapampangan hit song of 2008, first sang by pulosadors and made immensely popular by the recording of a certain Ara Mura . It is not even an original tune, but one borrowed from Dan Hill’s “Sometimes When We Touch”, a smash hit in 1978. So widely sang was this song that it was even performed on national TV and spawned a half a dozen versions from Totoy Bato clones. The tune may have been adapted, but it is the sentimental lyrics--of a suitor’s vow of undying love, a love without limits--that hit the right chord in the hearts of the lovstruck and lovelorn.

“Kaluguran daka” is the typical way to profess one’s love, and it may sound insufficient at first hearing. “Kaluguran” is also the term for a “friend”, and certainly, a loved one is more than just that. But “buri daka” is even more anemic. According to the 18th c. Kapampangan dictionary compiled and annotated by Fr. Diego Bergaño, “buri”, means ‘mere liking it’ (versus “bisa”, which means ‘liking with affection’). But when conjugated, the meaning of “buri” changes: “pangaburi” means ‘affection’ or ‘love’. “Micaburi” refers to those who ‘agree to love each other’, while “makisangburi” refers to the act of ‘persuading parents opposed to a romantic relationship’.

“Lugud” is defined as ‘passion, affection’. Early Kapampangans apparently did not use this word much to refer to romantic feelings. To describe one as “malugud” is to mean ‘one with passion, affection and compassion’. “Caluguran” or ‘queluguran’ is ‘the one loved in this manner’, not necessarily, a sweetheart.

Fray Coronel, in his 1621 grammar book, Arte y Reglas de la Lengua Pampanga, took note of the phrase, “caluguran daca”, which means ‘you are beloved of me’. The other forms of “lugud” though had negative connotations: “malugud” is ‘illicit lover’, and two people engaged in an illicit relationship are “micalugud”. To go around this, early Kapampangan lovers used “buri da ka”, which was safer, even if it is devoid of intensity.

“Sinta” (cinta, in Bahasa Indonesia), on the other hand, means ‘love that always carries the pain and anxiety to enjoy one’s beloved’. Thus, “palsintan daka” means ‘I desire you’ or ‘I have feelings for you’. Its usage is more prevalent among Tagalogs, and if one were to say “palsintan da ka” today, he would be dismissed as old-fashioned and passé.

There are more ways to describe the nuances of love and the objects of one’s affection. A person inflamed by love has a “pusung micacalucu’ (a heart filled with ardent love). It is not uncommon for someone to dedicate a photo of his with the opening line: "Maluca queng bibie queca ing larauan cu.." (It is with ardent feelings that I give you this picture of mine..). Meanwhile, the feelings of a person madly in love emanates from his “busal king lub” (core of his being).

“Liag" is a term of great endearment, hence, when one is ‘meliag’, he is profoundly fascinated by his object of love. “Cuyug” describes an ‘inseparable partner, like a pair of doves’; hence, ‘cacuyug’ means someone with a partner. “Balintatauo” refers to the darling of the eye, while “mipagdiwata’, is the act of worshipping a beloved, in the same manner that one adored idols and anitos.

Perhaps, the best description of true love, is recorded by Bergaño by way of a morbid, but eloquent expression of what a Kapampangan would do in the name of love: “Tadtaran da cu man, ing catadtad a mitalandang, yang maquiasawa queia”: ‘They may cut me into small pieces, but one of these little pieces is enough to marry her!’. Ouch! See what love can do!

(*NOTE: Feature titles with asterisks represent other writings of the author that appeared in other publications and are not included in the original book, "Views from the Pampang & Other Scenes")


doddie tayag batac said...

Kapampangan is a truly wonderful dialect. Although I speak it myself, having been raised among Pampango folk, I cannot claim to grasp its depth; not as you do. Great job! I'm really learning a lot from your blog. Thanks.

alex r. castro said...

Thanks Dodie. One time, I posted a Kapampangan article in a so-called culture and history forum. One ignorant member gasped and replied, "Kapampangan! God, one of the least mellifluous dialects!". As if languages are designed to be all "mellifluous"..

Anonymous said...

This is a good attempt to explain common terms of endearment as used by Capampangans. It is also good that you quote from Capampangan books. I do not understand why you, Holy Angel University and the Center for Kapampangan Studies keep refering to the 1732 book. I doubt if the 18th century book of Fray Diego Bergano titled Bocabvlario de Pampango en the same as the 1860 because it is not. I think you are referring to the edited and revised version published in 1860 and translated by Fr. Venancio Samson. Vocabvlario de Pampango. Editors of the 1860 book were not named and certainly was not done by Bergano because he died in 1747. The 1860 book not only has different orthography but also definitions not found in the 1732. Just to cite an example; part of the definition of the word Balatung has notes that refer to the 1837 Flora of M. Blanco published more that a hundred years after Bergano's Bocabvlario. Mind you also Fr. Samson is not a native Spanish speaker and certainly did not use 18th century English/Spanish dictionaries which are more appropriate for these works. Jun Sibug