Thursday, 20 October 2011


by Earlie Doriman 
Imagine this with passengers on....
I felt like I have my own version of resurrection. For the longest time that I seem to brush off from the blogosphere, now at last I am able to get my pen back to writing a new post for my precious blog.
The past weeks had been very hectic. When the school’s autumn term opened early this September, I was totally restless with so many things, thoughts, and plans both at home and at work. My two growing boys, now two and three years respectively have learned to demand more quality play time with me and so I could not enjoy free space for my cyber love affair with blogging.

The impulse to write though is constantly nagging me and my mind is full of new topics to share, yet not been able to reconcile playing with the little kids and writing at the same time. I tried it many times but ended with many sort of troubles.
I already have many draft articles in my file but most of them are halfway to complete so I still have to sort them again, that in my useful times I could find better ending. But just recently while I was watching 24 Oras (24 Hours) with my wife, one headline helped me realize that the ‘Habal-Habal’ has conquered the streets of Manila and it is called exactly that. I wondered if the people of Manila have any inkling about the meaning of the name ‘Habal-Habal’. Growing number of motorcycle for hire are lining up small streets waiting for passengers to transport. The metropolitan has adapted the mode of transportation of the hinterlands and whatever reasons there maybe, Manilenos could at least have a feel of it and enjoy the ride of their lives. 
This is what you'll get!!
Habal-Habal, a single motorcyle for hire
I am no stranger to passenger motorcycle because there is a massive number of this mode of transport in my peaceful and beautiful hometown Mabini, Compostela Valley.  I used to take the ‘Habal-Habal’ immediately right where I got off from the ‘Bachelor Liner’, and where drivers followed the queue responsibly. In a matter of two minutes or so, as the driver speeds up his machine, I would be at the front doorstep of our house in Pangibiran – safe and sound.
Habal-Habal are  motocycles for hire and it is so common in the countryside and rural communities especially at interior hinterlands of Southerm Mindanao. It eventually invades routes in the remote areas of Cebu, Bohol, and other neighboring islands of the Visayas, where ordinary jeepneys are unavailable or roads inaccessible. 
So what seems to be bumpy about Habal-Habal? What does Habal-habal mean? While it is obviously a Cebuano or Bisaya term, it has also a meaning that would surely sound uncomfortable to conservative ears. 

As I rewind the news, I could not help but put a smile on my face as the funny thought creeps in and imagining that the news reporter has no single idea whatsoever about the term ‘Habal-Habal’, there appeared to be some sort of worthy joke . To simplify it, the term comes from the root word ‘Habal’. In Cebuano or Visayan dialect it means a sexual position or a sexual intercourse doggy-style. The term should have been exclusively used to mean animal breeding. For example, if a pig raiser wants his ‘ANAY’ or sow impregnated by a ‘BUTAKAL’ or hog, he would take the sow to the hog for ‘PAHABAL’ or breeding. Habal-Habal as a passenger motorcycle coins its name from it because the position the driver and the passenger takes on the motorcycle is similar to ‘Habal’ or a doglike sexual position.
For most people in Visayas and Mindanao, Habal-Habal has evolved to get on the fence of acceptance. Since this mode of transportation already forms part of everyday living, people use the term without malice or offense. But I would not be surprised if Manilenos would react if they realize the unsophisticated translation of Habal-Habal.
However, I find no wrong if we just put aside the derogatory translation of the word and just consider it a new term that could stand on its own. In anyway, this would not stop me from smiling when I remember the newscaster saying many times the ‘Habal-Habal’ over the nationwide television.


  1. hi my dr frnd just followed ur blog very nice visit my blog

  2. here is a collection of habal-habal pictures in mindanao: