Arts and Culture

Pangasinan Words That Came From Spanish

Filipino language has, without a doubt, thousands of loan words from Spanish. But did you know that Pangasinan, one of the major languages in the Philippines, has a lot of borrowed words from Spanish as well?

This goes to show that the Spanish influence isn’t limited to the Filipino language only. Apparently, the Pangasinenses have a lot to thank for.

Here are some Pangasinan words that came from Spanish:

“Ispiho”

That sounds thick but Pangasinan words are pronounced that way. “Ispiho” means “mirror” in English, “salamin” in Filipino, and “espejo” in Spanish.

“Ripa”

A friend from Costa Rica used this word in one of his posts on social media. It immediately rang some bells because we used to have “raffle” draws in our quiet neighborhood in Pangasinan.

“Ripa” came from the word “rifa” in Spanish.

“Asucar”

This is easy enough to understand because it’s “asukal” in Filipino. The word came from “azucar” in Spanish.

“Unano”

My Mexican friend always teases me with this word. It means “small,” and it came from the word “enano” in Spanish.

Without consulting the dictionary, I already knew its meaning because one of my neighbors in Pangasinan has this nickname. Apparently, he’s small as well.

“Kansyon”

It means “song” in English and “canción” in Spanish. I wonder why Filipino deviated with “kanta.”

“Tsamba”

It means something like “luck.” It came from the word “chamba” in Peninsular Spanish.

“Garita”

In Pangasinan, we go to the “garita” to buy stuff we need at home; this word means something like “sari-sari store.” However, its Spanish counterpart has a slightly different meaning.


These are just some unique Pangasinan words that have Spanish origins. With more than three centuries of Spanish occupation, I’m sure that there a lot more waiting to be discovered.

Do you have something to add to the list? Share it with us on social media!


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Arvyn Cerézo
Arvyn Cerézo is the editor of La Jornada Filipina, the first and largest Spanish-language news magazine in the Philippines. His work has appeared in South China Morning Post, Publishers Weekly, AudioFile Magazine, Asian Review of Books and Book Riot. You can find him on arvyncerezo.com.

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