Lapulapu or Lapu-lapu? How to Use a Hyphen in Cebuano

The rule on the use of a hyphen and a dash in Cebuano writing is the same as in the English rule. The Akademiyang Bisaya is adopting the rule in English grammar on the use of a hyphen and is now being use in our Cebuano tabloids.

If you notice, “nalupog” is not written the way we speak the word as “nalup-og” in all write-ups in our tabloids. It’s because separating the word with a dash or a hyphen doesn’t follow the rule and it will just distort the word.

Here’s my presentation during my Cebuano Journalism class at the USJR in Cebu City.

Like other rules, there are always exception to the rule:

  • In both oral and written forms, a hyphen is necessary to separate “g” from prefixes like mag when it is directly followed by a vowel. Example: mag-abot, nag-usik-usik, pag-abot, etc.
  • There are also other Cebuano root words that need a hyphen because the one with a hyphen has different meaning with the same word without a hyphen. Example: laway (saliva) vs. law-ay (lewd)

Mga Sayop sa Pagsulat ug Pagsibya sa Cebuano

This powerpoint presentation is part of my lessons in my mass communication class at the University of San Jose-Recoletos in Cebu City where i had been a part-time instructor for five years. The audio files in the original presentation can not be played in the slides below. However, i painstakingly discuss each slide after the presentation.


My apology for not updating this presentation. It’s been a while i haven’t touch this piece worth of sharing to all of you. Thanks. ILY all. 🙂


Live Outdoor Broadcast

Live Outdoor Broadcast

Maayong Adlaw.

Radio broadcasting is a passion. TV-casting is glamorous. Newspaper reporting is once-upon-a-time exclusive for the English-writers.

Today, the Cebu media has bear the fruits cultivated for years by the vanguards of our own Cebuano dialect. Our local tabloid in Cebuano language—BANAT NEWS and SUNSTAR SUPER BALITA enjoyed much wider readership than the regular paper.

Cebuano journalism is a fashion that AM radio broadcasters were once the only practitioners in the media. But today, Cebuano journalism proves to be an effective tool in delivering news to the great masses.

Our local TV news programs penetrated the inner strata of the mass abs-cbn_logoviewership because of its Cebuano news reports. Our radio stations in the AM (amplitude modulation) band faced stiff competition from all corners. Disc jockeys have, from time to time, rapped to the tune using Cebuano ad libs on the FM (frequency modulation) band.

Cebuano journalism is simply the use of our local dialect in the news reports and other articles in the media. But who coined the word “Cebuano Journalism”? Hundreds of journalism books never mentioned Cebuano journalism or Waray or Ilonggo journalism.

Maybe the deans of the various universities offering mass communication courses made this descriptive title of the subject in their prospectus inspired by the passion of the media in delivering the news in Cebuano dialect.

As far as I am concerned, the first TV news program in Cebuano language was the NEWSWATCH Cebuano Edition of RPN Channel 9 in 1987. I was part of its reportorial team with colleagues Bob Malazarte, Rey Martinez and Fides Palicte. Job Tabada was the brain behind it whose idea was to present to the Cebuanos a new brand of TV news program. At that time, all TV newscasts were in English.

NEWSWATCH Cebuano Edition did not live longer for lack of support from the management of the network. Soon, we’d part ways but I and Bob Malazarte reunited at the newly reopened ABS-CBN Channel 3 Cebu in July 1988.

ABS-CBN was keen on putting up a competitive local news program versus the well-established English news program of GMA-7 anchored by the respected Architect Melba Java. Soon after its reborn, ABS-CBN Cebu launched on August 28, 1988 the TV Patrol Cebu using the dialect as its medium with three virtually unknown personalities as its anchors: Nanette Tapayan, Robinson Yap, and Vicky Hermosisima. The original news staff of TV Patrol Cebu includes me, Bob Malazarte, Titus Borromeo and Bingo Gonzales as our news chief.

TV Patrol Cebu caught the attention of the masses and soon, in just about three months, we stole the ratings from GMA’s English Newscast. GMA-7 was forced to fold its news program paving the way for a Cebuano News Program–Balitang Bisdak. Veteran radioman Bobby Nalzaro was pirated from Bombo Radyo and has been GMA’s main news anchor until today.

Soon after the success of TV Patrol Cebu, other local television stations launched its own Cebuano News Program, like the state-run People’s Television News with Sam Costanilla, the ABC-21 News headed by Jojo Rafaeles, and later the CCTN’s Balita Karon with Manny Rabacal and Dante Luzon (used to anchor TV Patrol Cebu in the 90s).

SunStar Daily got its cue from TV Patrol Cebu in launching its Cebuano tabloid–Super Balita. It’s circulation is more than that of its English daily after the masses embraced it because of the Cebuano language it uses. Later, The Freeman’s own version of the Cebuano tabloid–Banat came out.

TV Patrol Cebu was admired for its use of the dialect but at the same instance we’d been receiving during our first months critiques on our “Bisaya” words. Our “Bisaya” was being questioned for its “revolutionary” or misfits.

A media colleague called our attention for the use of the word—NI-LANDINGinstead ofNITUGPA ang ayroplano. Our reply then was we are adopting what is being spoken by the youth and other people we’ve met on the streets. Our objective then was to be easily understood by not using “law’m nga binisaya”.

Many of our Cebuano writers called our attention on our usage of English words that we usually prefixed with Cebuano words: Ex.Nag-TOURinstead of NISUROY or NIBYAHE, gi-CONFISCATEinstead of GISAKMIT, gi-RAIDfor gi-ronda.

We didn’t usenapulo ug duhafor dose or twelve when writing numbers. We believed that we were better understood if we use the Spanish or the English words when it comes to numbers. We found it very hard for our listerner-viewer to easily grasp the Cebuano for numbers.

We admitted, though, that there were mistakes in the use of Cebuano words on our news program. A caller, who introduced himself as a member of the LUDABI, told me that it’s wrong to say “tsansa”for chance hence an appropriate word ishigayon/kahigayonan.

The former USIS (United States Information Service) Director in Cebu , Karl Nelson, visited our newsroom one afternoon and took a view on the large map of Cebu City in the wall. He quipped, “Asa man and utlanan dinhi sa Cebu ug Mandaue?” I felt guilty and told myself here’s a G.I. Joe who speaks well our lingo. At that time, we usually used “boundary” instead ofutlananin our scripts.

When technology was available that gave us more flexibility in our scripts, a spelling problem of the Cebuano words occurred. We have to superimpose char-gen (texts made by a character generator) over our video for some details. We occasionally ended with a misspelled Cebuano words. We only knew it when our attention were called by some “concerned citizens” (probably, members of the LUDABI).

Today, we can still read misspelled Cebuano words in the tabloids and on the char-gen and graphics of TV news reports. What’s wrong with us? Why can’t we spell correctly our very own Cebuano words?

Haaay… Maayo pa ang English kay atong gitun-an sukad grade one. Ang Binisaya wa’ gyud nato tun-i. Probably, I am logically right. We didn’t study our own language.

Ang maayong balita—Cebuano journalism has been offered in the mass communication course in some schools in Cebu. The students are being prepared to write scripts in Cebuano as if they don’t know their dialect.

However, an instructor like me has a dilemma what rules and whose rules should be followed? Since June 2007, my class has studied grammar and spelling guides written by 3 authors. Many of their supposed rules in Cebuano grammar and spelling have conflicting details.

For instance, one author who is an associate editor of a magazine says that“O”should always be used in the last syllable of any Cebuano word.

While another author who happened to be from Mindanao says in his Visayas-English dictionary that “O”should only be used in the last syllable if it is before the letters: K, G, NG, N, L, Y. His examples are:tambok, tagok, hulog, salog, silong, dabong, tipon, baton, habol, putol, kahoy, tumoy.

The rule for “O”did not stop there. If it comes before the letters:D, S, T—Ushould be used if it is stressed (Ex. Tamud, takus, kamut);Oif unstressed (Ex. Tuhod, kumot).

If it is beforeB, M, and P,the second author says it should always beU.Examples: taub, lawum, dakup, kulub, salum, gahum.

Pastilan! Naglibog na ang akong mga estudyante. According to a writer, the correct usage ofOandUhas been debated for decades. Tomas Hermosisima once wrote—“ANG SAMOKAN NGA O ug U” (BIsaya, August 5, 1964).

Whew! Grabe! Kadugay na diay ani gilalisan.

By the way,Uis always use at the first and middle syllables of any Cebuano word.

I have collected (not physically but mentally) some mistakes in the usage of Cebuano words:

A Cebuano tabloid reports:

Ang torneyo mosikad ugma diha sa Cebu City Sports Center.”

I went over the English paper for the English version of the report and I’d found out that the Cebuano word—mosikad is the writer’s translation for “kicks off”. Simply, we can write instead:

Ang torneyo mosugod ugma diha… “

We still hear this line from a police reporter in the radio:

Angwa’ mailhing’ suspetsado…”

Suspect, according to a dictionary, means—“a person who is suspected, esp. one suspected of a crime, offense, or the like”.In short, a suspect has already been identified.

An appropriate line for the radio reporter would be:

Ang wa’ mailhing’ kawatan/tulisan/mamumuno…”

On TV news, char-gen and graphic titles often have mistakes like these:

Dan Legaspi” (No, it’s not a name of a person but it referred to Legaspi Street. The right way–Dalan or Da’an Legaspi)

“Ug and Og” (UG is the conjunction AND,is a particle. Examples: Ikaw ug ako; Mopalit ko og lapis.)

There are words that are written in Cebuano but their binisaya pronunciation would sound as if the reader doesn’t know how to pronounce it correctly like the examples listedbelow:

Drayber(driver),naytklab(night club),plaslayt(flashlight),hayskul(high school),obertaym(overtime).

Bisaya-a bai uy!– The usual reaction of those who hear broadcasters reading their scripts in Cebuano tongue. My suggestion is to retain the English spelling so that anyone who reads it pronounce it properly.

I have been texting “Inday Tikay” on her Saturday’s radio program of these fun bisaya words that I have tried to trace its origin in a fun way. It’s joke time! :

Lusyang,means batan-ong babaye apan mura na’g cuarenta anyos. Gikan sa English phrase—LOSE YOUNG.(lol)

Depresyon,originated from the English wordsDEEP PRESS which means in Cebuanoimudmod pag-ayo.(lol).

Kultura,means naandang buhat nasunod gikan sa katigulangan from EnglishCULT SUREwhich means cults are really practicing it. (lol)

Haplas,lana or lotion gamiton pagpadangog sa pagmasahe . From the English wordsHALF LAST—katunga ra ang epekto sa masahe ug pabilin ang katunga nga gibati sa lawas. (lol)

Mama,babayeng’ may anak na. In English,MOTHERwhich means MAMA DEAR. (lol)

Lagsik, abtik, mura’g wa’y sakit, sabaan, sige’g katawa. In English,LAG SICK—means lisod masakit. (lol)

That’s all Cebuano folks

Job Tabada–more than a journalist

job-newsI had attended the necrological service for the late veteran journalist Job Tabada last Friday at the the Bradford Chapel along Osmena Boulevard.

CDN Publisher Eileen Mangubat was scheduled to speak on behalf of Job’s colleague in the media. But Eileen did not appear when her name was first called. I stood up from my seat. I was alone from the media at that time. I’d approached Jovannie–Job’s eldest son and former colleague in the media.

I told Jovannie his father has a great contribution in the media, especially in the television news. Jovannie asked me then to speak which i accepted thinking Eileen was not coming. However, she came in just as me and Jovannie were talking.

Eileen spoke about her experience with Job while he was one of the editors of the paper. Other speakers before Eileen talked about Job’s visionary qualities. I took queue from it and told the mourners present during the service that i had a chance working with Job wayback in 1987.

Though, working with him was a short stint but it was fruitful and meaningful to my TV news career.

job-tabadaHe was my news director in RPN Channel 9 when i worked for him in the first ever Cebuano newscast– NEWSWATCH Cebuano Edition. This is the greatest feat that i’d told to Jovannie that his father achieved a biggest contribution to the broadcast industry.

Job was the first to introduce a Cebuano TV Newscast in Cebu. I remember him telling me that the “masa” needed a newscast in our dialect. He was indeed a visionary as we witness today almost all TV stations are broadcasting their local TV news program in Cebuano.

More than that Job was my first mentor in the TV news. The knowledge i acquired from him was the beginning of my career in TV news.

We always remember you, Sir Job.