Boholano: The Language of Bohol

In Visayas, the Visayan language is translated into many forms, depending on the actual location. The three main dialects are Cebuano, which is spoken in most parts of Visayas, especially in Cebu, Siquijor, and Bohol; Ilonggo, which is used in Negros and Panay; and Waray-Waray, which is spoken in Samar and Leyte. Among those three dialects, different versions are also born. Most of those versions differ slightly from the original. Still, the locals who use them feel proud enough to have the distinction.

Bohol is a unique place that has its very own language. The Boholano dialect is a separate language from the ones Cebuanos use. It is a rip off of the Cebuano but characterizes some differences. There are a couple of phonetic distinctions in the Boholano dialect that makes it distinctive from Cebuano.

The Boholano dialect, in all its pureness can be heard in far-flung areas of Bohol. In the city area, especially in Tagbilaran, the language is almost interchangeable with the Cebuano language. There are also other parts of Bohol, aside from Tagbilaran, that uses Cebuano. It would be quite difficult, even for an all-knowing tourist to spot the difference, thus, you will have the impression that the locals speak one and the same dialect.

One has to be wary to notice the difference. The most specific differences between the widely used Cebuano and the locally used Boholano language is in the way ‘y’ and ‘k’ are spoken. In Boholano language, ‘y’ sounds ‘j’ while ‘k’ sounds ‘h’.

Tourists, however, must never be afraid to understand the locals and be understood as well. A lot of Boholanos speak English aside from Filipino and Cebuano. This is an interesting aspect that actually draws tourists. It is always difficult to mix with the locals when you do not know how to talk like them. That is never a problem when you are in Bohol. One of the reasons Bohol tourism is glowing is the fact that the locals worked hard to be friendly as possible. Being aware that learning English is the easiest way possible to deal with all kinds of people, they did not wait another moment to study.

Touring Bohol and hearing the locals speak their own dialect is truly a sight on its own. It is far more interesting to note, of course, that you will never lose your way while you are at it. Boholanos are very versatile. They can easily adapt to many different cultures and many different kinds of people.