- "There is no evidence of any prose literature, but ordinary Visayan speech was itself rich with metaphor and colorful imagery, and their poetry must have been even more so. A high proportion of the dictionary terms have both a literal and figurative meaning, and a wide selection of pejorative terms to apply to common objects when angry. Men, women and children are referred to by the name of birds and animals they resemble in appearance or behavior. Or trees and baskets whose shapes they share. The well-dressed are like the brilliant kankanog butterfly, the red-faced like dapdap blossoms, and a timawa commoner who is treated like a datu [elite] is timinduk—a big banana. Conversely, kusi parrots come in three kinds: the little green ones are slaves, green ones with red breasts are timawa, and the real beauties with red and green plumage all over are datos. Somebody who is articulate and talkative is likened to luxuriant foliage, while one who speaks ill of his own relatives is like a big bat—because these creatures are believed to defecate in their own face when hanging upside-down. … One who buckles down and overcomes some difficulty is a guhuk, digging stick, the Visayan equivalent of a plow. Finally, a tired oarsman calls his oar a kabkab when irritated—the heart-shaped leaf of the malu-ibon vine—and a cat is called musakany or mosaraw in such sentence as “Damned cat stole my food again!”
from Looking for the Prehispanic Filipino: and Other Essays in Philippine History by William Henry Scott. Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1992.
* The Visayans (or Bisayans) are the people who live in the central islands of the Philippines, including the islands of Samar, Leyte, and Cebu, where Ferdinand Magellan landed in 1521. Cebu is also the site where Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived in 1565 to establish the first Spanish settlement, which led to the colonization of the Philippines by Spain.
**Alonzo Mentrida's 1637 Diccionario de la Lengua Bisaya, Hiligueina y Haraya de la Isla de Panai and Mateo Sanchez's Vocabulario de la Lengua Bisaya written in Dagami, Leyte between 1615 and 1618.