Different Ways of saying “love” and “I love you” in Kapampángan

Whenever people ask me to translate words like “beloved” and “for the one I love” I always have to risk appearing like a nosy gossip for trying to ask further for the context in how the word will be used, or what kind of a relationship they have and how far they have gone in their relationship. I need to do this so that I can choose the most appropriate word they are looking for. Unlike English or Spanish, there is not just one way to say “love” and “I love you” in Kapampángan.

So I guess I just have to list them down and let the people choose what sort of “love” they actually mean:

IBUG and Pángaibúgan daka. The Kapampángan word ibug can be understood to mean ‘a craving,’ ‘a very strong desire’ or even ‘lust’ or ‘a bodily need.’ Kapampángans usually say “Maibug kung mî” when they want to pee. Ibug in this context refers to an urge that can not be stopped or controlled. So back in the days when Western Christian morality have not yet dominated our indigenous values, the words “É ku na áyaguantan ing pánamdaman ku kéka. Pángaibúgan daka!” (I can no longer control my feelings for you. I love (lust after) you!) were probably the sweetest words your lover has long been waiting for. With the dominance of Western Christian values, these are words that are now best whispered in the bed chambers rather than in public. Ironic how Tagálogs can still sing about “pag-ibig” and publicly utter the words “Iniibig kita!” in their songs. The Tagálog word “ibig” is what ibug is in Kapampángan and the Tagálog “Iniibig kita!” is the Kapampángan “Pángaibúgan daka!

BURÎ and Burí daka. The start of every romantic relationship always begins with Burí daka, which we commonly translate to English as “I like you” or “I am fond of you.” Children usually say this about their friends, their parents and the people they generally like. I remember a time when the words É daka burî ‘I don’t like you’ or É ra naka burî ‘I don’t like you anymore’ can actually break a child’s heart. So Kapampángan elders consider Burî and Pamurî as the “love” that children can understand.

SINTÂ and Pálsintan daka. Every child goes through this phase as they grow older. They suddenly discover a feeling much stronger than BURÎ but not to the level of IBUG. They are drawn to a Pálsintan, a person who becomes the object of their strongest affection, worship and adoration, to whom they have placed on a pedestal and can’t help but think of and always look at even if from afar, to whom they are willing to sacrifice all that they have and even undergo immense hardship just to make he or she smile.

Kapampángan elders consider this the most painful kind of love because the Pálsintan, the object of your Sintâ, does not necessarily have to love you back or may not even be aware of your existence. The Catholic Church however consider Sintâ the highest form of love and equated it with the love of God who gave his only begotten son to die on the cross even for those who do not love him back. Indeed Sintâ does seem to be the kind of love that does not ask for anything in return. That is why Kapampángan patriots and warrior-poets used the word Sintâ to describe one’s love for country: Ing Sintá king Balén kung Tíbuan or ‘The love for the country of my birth.’

MAL and Pákamálan daka. Kapampángans understand Mal to mean ‘precious,’ ‘valuable’ and ‘expensive.’ Hence you say Pákamálan daka to your beloved when you reached the point that you want to take care of her, watch over her, protect her and nurture her. You say Pákamálan daka when you don’t want to see them get hurt, when you wish no harm would come to them. This is similar to the Tagalog “mahal kita.” You call the people close and important to you, like your parents, your children, your love ones as Ding Pákamálan ku king bié (Tag. “Mga mahal sa buhay“) ‘those that you treasure and consider precious in your life.’

LUGUD and Kaluguran daka. Lugud and Kaluguran daka are perhaps the most common words for “love” and “I love” you that non-Kapampángans are very much familiar with. And because Lugud is being tossed around casually nowadays as simply the single-word equivalent of the English word “love” it seems to have lost its original weight in the Kapampángan psyche. Kapampángan elders used to say “Maliári mé mung sabian ing ‘Kaluguran daka’ nung kaluguran naká naman. Nung alí, pálsintan mé mû.” This roughly translates to: ‘You can only say “Kaluguran daka” if your beloved also “kaluguran” you, otherwise you are just “Pálsintan” him/her.’ The essential thing in saying Kaluguran daka therefore is that the person you love also loves you back. Otherwise, it is just Sinta. Lugud, therefore, is a two-way kind of love.

Since there are many ways to say “love” and “I love” you in Kapampángan, it is difficult to translate certain sentences containing these complex sentiments into English: 1) Maliári méng pakamálan ing métung a táwu bistá man é mé kaluguran, anti mó ing kapaté mung kapatad. É me kaluguran dápot pakamálan mé pa mú rin úling kadáyá mé. É mé buring pánasakitan da réng áliwâ. É mé mú naman buring ákákit mámagkasákit king bié na. Dápot é mu néman kaluguran (You can love (pakamálan) someone without necessarily having to love (kaluguran) him, like the brother that you always quarrel with. You don’t love (kaluguran) him but you love (pákamálan) him because you share the same blood. You don’t want people to hurt him. You don’t want to see him suffer. But you don’t love (kaluguran) him). 2) Wa, ing Balén mung Tíbuan súkat yang palsintan at pakamálan, dápot ing Indú táng Tíbuan kailángan téng luguran (Yes, you must love (pálsintan) and love (pákamálan) the country of your birth, but you have to love (luguran) your Indung Tíbuan). 3) É ra naka man kaluguran dápot bálang míkit kata lálú rakang pángaibúgan (I do not even love (kaluguran) you but every time I see you, the more that i love (pángaibúgan) you). 4) Kaluat da nakang pálsintán! Ót manggá man rugú ngéni é mu ku pa kaluguran? (How I love (pálsintan) you for the longest time! How come you still don’t love (kaluguran) me up to now?).

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