Malay Relation with Kapampangan Language and Culture
by Alejandro S. Camiling, CPA with Teresita Z. Camiling, BSE, MA

Some modern-day linguistic researchers and archeologists claim that Filipinos including Kapampangans originated from China via Taiwan. However, based on oral traditions, it is believed that the early Kapampangan settlers along the river banks of the Rio Grande de la Pampanga in the Island of Luzon of the Philippine Archipelago were descendants of Malayan pioneers from the Malay Peninsula and from Singarak Lake of West Sumatra. These Malayan adventurers brought their advanced civilzation, their unique culture, their traditions and a language of their own and founded their dynasty based on the social foundations of freedom and economic prosperity.

The aforementioned belief based on tradition, is strengthened by Juan Francisco de San Antonio's Cronicas de la Apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio (Manila 1738) and Francisco Colin's Labor Evangelica, Madrid 1663 (Native Races and their Customs) that Pampangos (according to tradition) originated from the largest island of the Orient, which is that of Sumatra or Trapobana.

It was indicated that in the midst of the island of Sumatra there was a large lake, on whose surrounding marge many different peoples had their abodes. A Kapampangan who had lost his way reached that place who was interviewed by Fr. Colin himself, and having discovered that there were men there of his own build, language, and clothing, approached, and entered into conversation with them in his own elegant Kapampangan tongue. They answered him in the same speech, and one of their men said: "You are descendants of the lost people who in former times, left here to settle other lands, and have never been heard of since."

Based on what is written in "The Philippine Islands -1493 - 1898", a 55-volume series English translation from the originals by Emma Blair and James Alexander Robertson in the early 1900s, it is difficult to determine whether the Kapampangans came directrly from Sumatra, or settled first in Borney, because of the nearness of its lands and domains, and thence passed on to settle the islands of this archipelago although it appeared from the statements of some who had been in Borney for a time that they even found there sufficient indications that the Kapampangan people, some came from Sumatra and some from Malayo.

The fact that many islets are lying in a row and near one another, with which Borney is closely connected, there is less difficulty in changing their abodes from one to the other; and it is believable that the Tagalogs,  Kapampangans and other civilized races who were found in this archipelago, and who were almost alike in language, customs, bodily proportions, and clothing, came immediately from Borney, some from some provinces and some from others. This may be the reason for the little difference that is found among these Philippine ethnic groups.

The similarities in ancient customs, clothings, religion, food and languages seem to validate the connection between Malays and Kapampangans. However, over the years, contact with other nationalities made it difficult to preserve the purity of both languages and culture. Bahasa Malay and culture had been influenced by people from China, Portugal, Spain, Great Britain, Netherlands, India and other foreigners.

Kapampangan language and culture just like other Philippine languages and culture were also greatly influenced by Spaniards, Britons, Americans, Chinese, Japanese, Hindus,Arabs and other nationalities. As proof of the similarity of the old Malay and Kapampangan languages, here is a listing of Malay words taken from a standard Bahasa Malay - English Dictionary which are also Kapampangan words with the same meaning:

Malay and Kapampangan Words With Similar Meaning




abu    abu    ash (of fire, cigar)
achi    achi    elder sister
ah    ah    Ah! As a cry of surprise
aku    aku    I, me
alipan alipan    centipede
alun    alun    long rolling waves, surge of the sea
almanak    almanak    almanac
amanah    amanah    trusteeship
ambun    ambun    dew, vapor
am'pat    apat    four
anak    anak    child, children
anai-anai    anai, aneh    termites
anam    anam    six
andas    andas    surface support
angin    angin    wind
angkap    angkap    rack or shelf in part of a native house
angkat    angkat    lift, rise
aniaya    aniaya    to do injustice, tyranny
anting    anting-anting    pendant
api    api    fire, flame
arang    arang    affront
aria    aria    lower away
armada    armada    fleet of warships
asin    asin    salt
asu    asu    dog
atap    atap    roof, roofing thatch
ayun    ayun    swaying, swinging
babi    babi    pig
baldi    baldi    pail, bucket
balu    balu    widowed
balut    balut    wrap up
banat    banat    beat
bandera    bandera    banner, flag
bangis    bangis    cruel
bangkal    bangkal    a name for certain trees
bangku    bangku    bench
bangun    bangun    get up
bankai    bankai, bangke    body (corpse)
bangsa    bansa    race (of men)
bapa    bapa    uncle
barnis    barnis    varnish
baru    baru    new (of clothes)
basah    basah    wet
batu    batu    stone, rock
bau    bau    smell, scent, odor
bazar    bazar    bazaar
belak    bilak    hold open fold or crease
belanga    balanga    earthenware pot for cooking
belikat    balikat    shoulder-blade
belimbing    balimbing  carambola, trees with ridged fruits
beranda    beranda    veranda
berat    berat    dull of wit
biabas    biabas    guava
bilang    bilang    count
bingka    bingka    cake made of rice flour
biola    biola    violin
bisa    bisa    can
biskuit    biskuit    biscuit
bistek    bistek    beefsteak
bobotok    bobotok, bobotu    tidbit in banana leaf
bola    bola    ball
bolsa    bolsa    clothes-bag
bomba    bomba    pump, squirt
bongsu    bongsu    youngest
buaya    buaya    crocodile
bubung    bubung    roof
buka    buka    open (mouth)
bulan    bulan    month, moon
buloh    buloh    bamboo
bulu    bulu    body-hair, quills
bumbong    bubong    roof
bunga    bunga    interest on money
butoh    butoh    penis
cha    cha    tea
chicu    chico    sapodilla, Achrus sapota    
chili    chili    bird pepper
chinela    chinela    slipper
chinta    sinta    caress (esp. of love)
daeng    daeng    slicing into thin strips and drying in the sun
daing    daing    fried fish
datang    datang    come, arrive
dato    dato    grandsire
daya    daya    trick, deceive
didal    didal    thimble
dinding    dinding    partition, wall
diwata    diwata    deity
djeneral    heneral    general
Dominggo    Domingo    Sunday
donia    donia    lady
du'a    adua    two
dungu    dungu    stupid
durian    durian    the thorny fruit, the soursop
fabrik    fabrika    factory
falsu    falsu    false, counterfeit
fe'sta    pista    festivity
fiscal    fiscal    fiscal, judicial officer
gagu    gagu    dumb
galgal    galgal    irritable
galigata    galigata    a skin-eruption
ganap        ganchu    crook
gantang    gatang    the Malay gallon
gangsa    gangsa    goose
gas    gas    kerosene oil
gasal    gansal    odd, uneven (of numbers)
gatal    gatal    itchiness, lewdness   
gelagok    gelagok    gulp down
gerilla    gerilia    guerilla
gevernador    gobernador    governor
gigil    gigil    chatter (of teeth)
gigit    gigit    biting
giling    giling    grind
gogok    gogok    gulping down water, the gurgle of water
gulai    gulai, gule    vegetables
gunting    gunting    shears, scissors    
gurami    gurami    a freshwater carp
guru        guru    teacher, spiritual or lay
gusi    gusi    a kind of jar
ha'-ha'    ha'-ha'    sound of laughter
hoi    hoi    Hey there!
hora    hora    time, hour
hukom    hukom    doom
ia    ia, ya    he, she, it
ibus    ebus    palm, used in mat-making
ikat    ikat    tying up, stringing together
indu    indu    mother
ingat    ingat    be on one's guard, be mindful
ini    ini    this, these
inum    inum    to drink
ipil    ipil    a tree
itek    itek, itik    duck   
kabab    kabab    small lumps of meat roasted on a pit
kaka    kaka    brother (elder)
kakak    kakak    to quack
kalima    kalima    fifth
kambing    kambing    goat
kamera    kamera    camera
kami    kami    we (my friends or party)
kampilan    kampilan    broad sword
kangkong    kangkong    a herb eaten as spinach
kapit    kapit    stand close beside, support
kapitan    kapitan    captain
kapok    kapok    cotton-tree
kareta    kareta    carriage
katok    katok   rapping, hammering off
kawal    kawal    guard
kawat    kawat    wire, cables
kaya    kaya    power, wealth
kechap    kechap    ketchup
ketok    ketok    knock
kilap    kilap    a flash
kilik    kilik    carry under the arm
kisut    kisut    crumpled, ruffled
kokok    kokok    crow (of cocks)   
kompas    kompas    compass   
kontento    kontento    satisfied
kornel    kornel, koronel    colonel
kuali    kuali    frying pan
kubu    kubu    small hut or shelter
kuku    kuku    finger or toe nail, claw
kusut    kusut    tangled (of hair, thread)
kutil    kutil    wart
kutu    kutu    bug
lagi    lagi    still more
lahar    lahar    lava
laklakan    laklakan    gullet, throat
laksa    laksa    ten thousand, myriad
laksamana    laksamana    admiral
lambak    lambak    pile up
lambat    lambat    behind time, be slow
lampin    lampin    baby's napkin, swaddling cloth
lampus    lampus    through and through
lancha    lancha    ship' sailing boat
landas    landas    an anvil, chopping block
langau    langau, lango    stinging horse-fly
lapak    lapak    smack, thwack
larut    larut    to create an impression
latak    latak    dregs (of oil)
laut    laut    seas, ocean (of water, mud, fire)
liku    liku    bend (in river, road) winding    
lima     lima     five
limonada    limonada    lemonade
limpas    limpas    overflowing
lintah    lintah    a blood-sucker
lulun    lulun    to swallow unintentionally
lumpoh    lumpoh    paralyzed (esp. of legs)
lumut    lumut    moss, lichen, sea-weed
lunak    lunak    soft, fleshy
ma'    ma', ima    mother
mahal    mahal    expensive, dear
maharaja    maharaja    very royal as an honorific title
major    major    major
mama    mama    maternal uncle, uncle
mami    mami    a dish of vermicilli
manah    manah    heirloom
mangga    mangga    mango
manok    manok    fowl, bird
maski    maski    even though
mata    mata    eye
mati    mateh    to perish, death
mau    mau    be willing, desire, craving
melun    melun, milun    melon
menangis    menangis    cry (weep)
mesa    mesa    table
milyun    milyun    million
minum    minum    to drink
mipis    mipis, maimpis    thin
misua    misua    vermicilli
miting    miting    meeting
mula    mula    root, origin, beginning
murah    murah    cheap (of goods)
nangka    nangka    jack fruit
naranja    naranja    orange
nasi    nasi    boiled rice
nipis    nipis    thin, tenuous
nyaman    nyaman    pleasant (of food)
nyamok    nyamok    mosquito
oi    oi    Hi!
oto    oto    automobile
pa'hat    pa'hat    chisel
pait    pait    bitter, bitterness
pakan    pakan    to feed (of animals)
paku    paku    to nail, peg
palsu    palsu    counterfeit
palu    palu    hitting hard with a rigid weapon, clubbing    
panah    panah    arrow, bow    
pandai    pandai, pande    knife-grinder    
pandak    pandak    short
pandan    pandan    screw-pines used for fine basketry and mats   
pangat    pangat    stuffing (fish) and stewing it in a rich spicy sauce
papaya    papaya    papaya
pasu    pasu    vase, flower pot
pau    pau    a wild mango
payong    payong    umbrella
pesta    pista    festival gathering
pigura    pigura    figure, design, sketch, picture, portrait
pinggan    pinggan    plate (porcelain or earthenware
pipa    pipa    pipe (smoker's)
pipit    pipit    finch, sparrow
pistul    pistol    pistol
pitu    pitu    seven
piun    piun    pawn in class
poe'lau    pulo    island
puloh    apulu    ten
polis    polis, pulis    police
pongsu    pongsu, pungsu    anthill
puki    puki    vulva, female genitals
pukul    pukul    hit, beat, hammer
pulau    pulau    archipelago
punggok    punggok    stumpy
putu    putu    rice cake
raja    raja    king, prince
rambutan    rambutan    a popular hairy-rinded fruit
rami    rami    rhea grass
sa'    isa    one
sabong    sabong    dart each other
sabun    sabun    soap
sagu    sagu    mealy pith of the sago-palm which is of food value   
sakal    sakal    rap with the knapsack
sakit    sakit    sick, in pain
saksi    saksi    witness
saku    saku    bag
salah    salah    blunder, at fault, amiss
sanggul    sanggul    coiffure
santing    santing    beautiful, fine
sarong    sarong    skirt (for both sexes)
sawa    sawa    python
sayang    sayang    to regret, feel (something), pity
siasat    siasat    inquiry, investigate
siku    siku    elbow, angle (of road)
simpan    simpan    keep, store up
singgang    sinigang    boiled in salt and acid (of fish, flesh)
sipat    sipat    measure
sukat    sukat    to measure
suli    suli    descendant
suloh    suloh    torch, flare
sultan    sultan    ruler
sumpah    sumpah    oath
sumpit    sumpit    shoot with a blow pipe
sundang    sundang    a Bugis sword
susu    susu    breast
suit    suit, pasuit    whistle
takut    takut    afraid. fear
tali    Tali    string, line, rope
tambak    tambak    make embankment
tampal    tampal    patching, plastering
tampas    tampas    lopping off, flatenning with a knife
tampok    tampok    juncture of stem and fruit
tanam    tanam    to plant
ta'naman    ta'naman    plantation
tanda    tanda    mark, sign, evidencia
tanggal       tanggal drop off
tangis    tangis    weeping
tankai    tangkai, tangke    stem, stalk
tangki    tangki    tank
tapak    tapak    sole (of feet, shoe)
tatal    tatal    wood-shaving, small chip
timba    timba    small bucket
timbang    timbang    scale, weight
timbangan    timbangan    scale, balance
timbok    timbok, timbuk    hit with a fist
timbun    timbun    a heap (of wood, earth, rubbish, stones)
tinta    tinta    ink
tipak    tipak    portion, share
titi    titi, teteh    bridge
tiup    tiup    blew (of wind)
tj'inta    sinta    love
tolak    tolak, tulak    push away
tombong    tombong, tumbung    seedbud in an old coconut
tua    tua    old (aged person)
tuala    tualia    towel
tukil    tukil    bamboo cylinder for liquid or paper
tumbok    tumbok    punch, thumped
tumpo    tumpo    have a footing on (ground)
tunggal    tunggal    sole, alone, the one
tungku    tungku    trivet of stones
tuntong    tuntong    point, tip (of needle)
tusuk    tusuk    pierce, prick
ubi    ubi    yam
ulam    ulam    spiced vegetables, condiments
ulap    ulap    beckon
ulas    ulas    cover (of cushion, mattress)
umpok    umpok    pile, heap
ungkat    ungkat    drag up the past
upah    upah    payment for work done, wage, fee
upaya    upaya    resources, to the extent of one's ability
utak    utak    brain
utang    utang    debt

Facts about the authors:

Andro and Tess Camiling are conscientious students and researchers of Kapampangan history, language and culture. They wrote "The Province of Pampanga and Its People" and other articles including "Spanish Relation with Kapampangan Language and Culture", "President Diosdado P. Macapagal - In Retrospect" and the history of the towns of Apalit, Lubao, Masantol, Mexico, Minalin, San Fernando and Santo Tomas. Andro is a native Kapampangan based in Southern California where he is employed as an accounting/financial director at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and practices his CPA profession as a management and tax consultant. His wife and co-author of this article, the former Teresita Manalansan Zuniga of Lubao, Pampanga, Philippines is a public school teacher in Pasadena, California.