Cebu Vs. Leyte Series: The Dialect (Expression)

This is a blog series I am currently working on. More about this story at Cebu Vs. Leyte: Blogging My Double Life.

So, let’s start with “expressions” and the dialect in general.

By the way, in Southern Leyte, we do not speak Waray-Waray (as what majority of people would think of us that way). People in Northern Leyte (specifically those who are living near Samar) tend to speak more Waray-Waray than those who are in central or south Leyte. Ormoc City and Baybay City speaks the Visayan dialect much similar to Cebuano.


In Cebu, they say “sah” for affirmation.

For example:

English: You have eaten your breakfast, right?

Cebuano: Namahaw naman ka sah?

Leyte: Namahaw naman ka noh?

Note: Noh and sah are used interchangeably in Cebu. But in Leyte, we just use “noh”.

For me, the word “right” (that is used for affirmative question) is the perfect English term for “sah” or “noh”. Ironic with the “noh” and “right”.  LOL!


“J & Y”

No, no, no. Definitely not the JY Mall in Lahug, Cebu City. HAHA! I am referring to the

  • “ayaw” and “ajaw” “
  • “kuyaw” and “kujaw”
  • “dugaya” and “dugaja”
  • “niya” and “nija”

what else? … and the list goes on. Yes, quite similar to Bohol!

Probably, the “j” and “y” is the most notable difference between the Leyte and Cebu.

Perhaps you heard a joke that goes like: “Ninja ray mopatay ninjo” … IKR!

“H & K”

No, definitely not Hong Kong! HAHA! Aside from the “j” and the “y”, there’s also “h” and “k”. The h & k  usually relates to possession or ownership. For example:

Ako vs Ahu

Cebuano: Ako ng bag naas kilid.

Leyte: Ahu ng bag naas kilid.

English: That’s my bag on the corner.

Naku vs Nahu

Cebuano: Abe naku naa na ka sa balay.

Leyte: Abe nahu naa na ka sa bay.

English: I thought you are already in the house.


Definitely not Los Angeles. It’s the “wala” and “wa”. Though most Cebuanos definitely use this interchangeably, most from those who are from Leyte would find it unusual.


Not Central Europe! This is definitely the expression that, we, from Leyte find it the most unique. I usually have lots of friends from Cebu asking me about the expression.

We say “ce” to emphasize something we don’t like.

For example:

Laina ce sa lasa oi!

In Cebu, they just say “laina sa lasa oi”, no “ce”.

Meaning, the taste is really disgusting.

Other terms:

bali ra – In Tagalog, they usually say “buti nga sayo”. In Cebu, they usually prefer “mirisi”. In Leyte, we also use the term “mirisi”. The term “tagam” is also used in exchange of “bale-ra” or “mirisi”. Sorry, it’s kind of difficult for me to find the perfect English statement for that. I am already having a nose bleed. HAHA!

lihiro – means expert in English. In Cebuano, they use “maayo”.

For example:

Leyte: Lihiro kaajo to moduwa og basketball si Kuya.

Cebuano: Maayo kaayo to moduwa og basketball si Kuya.

lugar lang

In Cebu, you use “lugar lang” when you want tell the bus/jeep/tricycle driver to stop. In Leyte, we say “ari ra” or “diri ra” or “para”.

How we speak?

By the way, there’s also a slight difference when it comes to speaking the dialect. People in Leyte sounds like we are angry but in fact it’s just our normal voice. However, this is not applicable to all since there are also soft spoken people from Leyte. I think this are also applicable to some people in Cebu City.


Are you from Leyte? What have you experienced so far when it comes to using your dialect when you’re at a different place? Did other people find it unusual? unique? Or perhaps you’re a Cebuano or you know someone from Leyte? Were you surprised? Or what you have learned so far? The comment box is  yours my friend! Please comment down below. 🙂

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