Friday, November 19, 2010


Showbiz Lengua: Chika & Chismax about Chuvachuchu (Anvil Publishing), a compilation of the columns that I write for the monthly YES! Magazine, is now off the press, and available at National Book Store, at P295.

Here's what reviewers say:

... it’s not a dictionary, but a collection of ruminations on contemporary language (riffs on riffs).

And the author is Jose F. Lacaba a.k.a Ka Pete of Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage, Mga Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran, the screenplays of Bayan Ko: Kapit Sa Patalim, Sister Stella L and others, and the Showbiz Lengua column in Yes! magazine.

Ka Pete ponders the etymology and usage of taray, kikay, krung-krung, carry-carry, kaposh, and other “words that usually have no dictionary existence” that have crept into everyday Filipino speech anyway.

You need this book to explain why we sound like this today.

“Ka Pete, chumuchorva! Pagsa-Safire, kinarir! Plangak!”
Jessica Rules the Universe website
October 6, 2010
You can read the full review here:

“I don’t claim to be a linguist or a lexicographer,” Lacaba writes in the first entry of his new collection, Showbiz Lengua: Chika & Chismax about Chuvachuchu (Anvil, 2010). “I just happen to be a diligent consulter of dictionaries.” Self-effacing as that might sound, it isn’t that easy. It’s apparent to the reader that Lacaba is not just referring to a trusted set of tomes and reference books that he has referred to with unwavering devotion since the late Sixties. Reading the book, a collection of columns the author has so far written for the popular showbiz monthly, Yes!, one gets the impression that he’s actually very open-minded if not indiscriminate in finding sources for the definitions and uses of language, consulting and referencing books, newspapers, tabloids, and the Internet in his columns. In this regard, Lacaba is no snob. He who wrote the now-classic “Notes on Bakya” certainly can’t be accused of cultural elitism. Lacaba’s stated diligence in finding the meanings of words can be described as—to use a term discussed in the book—kinarir.

In a 2005 column that he titles “Spokening,” Lacaba cites the question on a televised debate show, “Kailangan ba ang perfect English para umunlad ang bansa?” That question,” he writes, “was not about adequate English, or competent English, or even excellent English, but about perfect English….And the survey showed an overwhelming majority of texters saying: Yes!

“Oh wow! If the informal, that is, survey results are indicative of the thinking of the general population, then this country is doomed, starting with showbiz linguists.”

It is at this point that the younger Lacaba of the Free Press and the elder statesman of Filipino literature today meet and converse…

Lacaba’s writings on language, first in his column for the Manila Times, “Carabeef Lengua” and now for Yes! in “Showbiz Lengua” are as revelatory. It is a celebration—albeit a cautious one—of being Filipino, of the virtues of being part of a so-called mongrel race in an increasingly blurry world. But more than that, they are enjoyable reads that appeal not only because they entertain but also instruct. Again, to refer to the author’s earlier essay, he writes that because of pop culture in the form of movies and comic books, he seldom had difficulty in “communicating with people born and bred in a different dialect.” With his new collection, he continues to explore that fascinating terrain of Filipino culture, transmitting back to us a comprehensive reportage on a truly and happily alien species: ourselves.

“English—Pinoy Showbiz Style”
Philippines Free Press
Posted on October 5, 2010
You can read the full review here:

…long-time fans of Jose “Pete” Lacaba will find Showbiz Lengua a highly amusing, though quite surprising detour from his earlier books like “Mga Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran” (1979), “Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage” (1982), “Sa Panahon ng Ligalig” (1983), “Sa Daigdig ng Kontradiksiyon” (1992), “Edad Medya” (2000), and “Kung Baga sa Bigas” (2002).

Except for “Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage,” a compilation of on-the-spot reports on the First Quarter Storm that in 1982 won the National Book Award for nonfiction, all the other books are collections of Lacaba’s poems.

For the first four decades of his writing life, Lacaba’s works mostly focused on social and political contradictions that hounded Philippine society. Prolific and versatile, he spun poems and wove commentary, even put lyrics to music and wrote searing screenplays that gave meaning to powerful films like Angela Markado (1983), Sister Stella L. (1984), Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (1984), Orapronobis (1989), Eskapo (1995), Segurista (1996), Bagong Bayani (1996), and Rizal sa Dapitan (1997).

And just when everyone expected that Lacaba, now in his ’60s and an established icon of Philippine cinema and literature, was about to retire from doing social commentary, he turns around and practically does a Madonna, reinventing himself as “El Lenguador,” a tongue-in-cheek expert of words and phrases commonly used by Philippine showbiz denizens.

Why show business? Well, it could be because the entertainment business has been Lacaba’s immediate milieu for some years now. As executive editor of Summit Media’s YES!magazine, he most probably gets to read all the interesting and controversial happenings in the entertainment industry before everyone else.

Long exposure to showbiz talk has perhaps tickled his imagination to the point that he had to write about it. The result: Pithy discourses providing amusing insights on why Korean star Sandara Park is a “krung-krung;” what happens when someone thinks “kinakarir mo ang BF niya;” and how to say “sobra!” as one gets swamped by intense emotion…

Definitely, Showbiz Lengua is not a trivial pursuit to be dismissed by serious students of the fast-evolving Pinoybiz language.

Should the book be highly recommended? Well, if only for the almost scholarly effort to put rhyme, reason, humor, and fun to what many dismiss as mere kaartehan or kakikayan I’d say, “Plangak!”

“The Book of Lengua”
Philippines Graphic
Posted on October 11, 2010
You can read the full review here:

“Chuvachuchu," “Jologs," “Krung-krung" at “Kikay." Ilan lang ‘yan sa mga nakaaaliw na salita na madalas nating marinig sa mga showbiz personalities… na malamang ginagamit mo rin paminsan-minsan. Pero kagaya ka ba ng manunulat na si Pete Lacaba na nagtatanong kung saan nga bang lupalop nahugot ang mga salitang ito?

Karaniwang sa mga bading at mga personalidad sa showbiz natin naririnig ang mga kakaibang salitang ito, na noong una ay iilan lang siguro ang nakakaintindi. Pero sa paglipas ng panahon, naging karaniwan na ito sa ating pandinig at tila nagbago na rin ang kahulugan.

Ano nga ba itong “chuvachuchu" na parang nagtataboy lang ng aso? Ang “Krung-krung" ay tunog ba ng “ring" ng lumang telepono na pa-ikot pa noon ang dial? At itong “Kikay," hindi ba parang tunog ng maselang bahagi ng katawan ng babae?

Sa librong ‘Showbiz Lengua: Chika & Chismax about Chuvachuchu’ na akda ni Pete Lacaba, hinimay niya ang ilang “posibilidad" na pinanggalingan ng mga showbiz o gay lingo na ito. Isinama na rin niya ang iba pang “pinausong" salita na ang kahulugan ay hindi mo makikita sa mga diksyunaryo sa Filipino o sa mga translator sa Internet.

Pero paalala ni Lacaba sa kanyang libro: “Don’t ask me for lexicographic proof. My assertions here are based purely on chika, chismax and chukchak."

“Mga chika, chismax, at chukchak ni Pete Lacaba”
Posted on October 22, 2010
You can read the full review here:

Showbiz Lengua by Jose "Pete" Lacaba, our only certified word maven, a multi-lingual one at that, since he dwells with much expertise and panache not only on English word usage but, as shown in this collection of columns done for the monthly entertainment YES! Magazine which he helps edit, mostly on new additions to our Filipino and regional languages, plus a lot of chuvaspeak.

Published by Anvil, the book's full title is Showbiz Lengua: Chika & Chismax about Chuvachuchu. And there's no one else who can give us the rundown on such chic chump change of lilting language (possibly patois) than Ka Pete, who sagely scours dictionaries, interrogates area experts (as part of cultural research), and indulges in his own educated guesswork to fill us in on delightful new additions to our Pinoyspeak…

It makes for thoroughly enjoyable reading, this book. Trust Pete to entertain and enlighten you to the chuva max.

“New Filipiniana titles” (in his column “Kripotkin”)
Philippine Star
Nov. 1, 2010
You can read the full review here:

1 comment:


Will look for the book when I come home for a break, Pete.

Like Krip says, only Pete Lacaba can do this. I think only Ka Pete can tolerate and celebrate the new language of the Philippines' most vibrant art -- the movies.

Kumusta ka na, kaibigan?