A little explanation about “Kaliyawan!”. It is a Sama Dilaut or Bajau expression. The rootword really is quite controversial, but my theory is that it came from the word aliyaw, lit. ‘vanishing’ or ‘unseen’, as in the metaphysical spirit world. The Sama Dilaut believe in some saytan or malevolent sea spirits who would, for some reason, make people disappear, or in indigenous language ‘aliyaw’ . It is an expression used both positively and in negative sense. When the Sama Dilaut express joy they’d cheer the person with “kaliyawan!” and everybody laughs as this expresses their awe and wonder about something, an act or deed that is out-of-this-world. Kaliyawan here translates as “Awesome!”.Hence, an expression of joy and glad-tidings, as well. Kaliyawan! is also an expression of malevolence, anger or disgust, as when older people reprimand the young ones from committing mischief they also shout in an angry tone ‘kaliyawan!’ which is as though wishing the poor child to be ‘aliyaw’ , to banish andhence, Kaliyawan! means “Be gone!”. So this compendium of stories and anecdotes that Lumah Ma Dilaut publishes in my name then appropriates this term “Kaliyawan!” both as an expression of praise, hope, cheer, rage, disgust, rant with what’s going on in Mindanao and Sulu…and especially a critic on the worsening situation of discrimination and impoverishment that render indigenous and minority communities such as the Sama Dilaut voiceless and invisible by pushing them more and more to the margins. – Mucha Q. Arquiza


About Mucha Q. Arquiza
Supports the preservation and promotion of indigenous knowledge systems

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