What is the meaning of BAHALA NA?

When we were editing my book, “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”, a phrase popped up few times and caught our attention. That was when we decided to change the title of the book and published it with the new title, “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”.

“Bahala na” is a philosophical expression Filipinos used when they are confronted with problems. They will say “Bahala Na”, meaning “come what may,” “whatever will be, will be,” ‘leave it to God’, like the Spanish word “que sera, sera”.  

“Bahala na”,comes from the phrase Bathala na, where Bathala means God. Bahala also means trust or custody. Na is used as an adverb of time just like already. So it can literally be translated as God already or God will take care already. It is used in the context of “Trust in God”, “God will take control”,“Leave it to God” because God will provide. In a sense, it can be construed as a negative attitude in life, a defeatist or fatalistic attitude where you are only willing to do so much and leave the rest to God. Some people believe it makes you irresponsible, careless and lazy. On the other hand, it stops you from worrying about your problem during uncertain times. It relieves stress knowing you did everything you could and God will take control of the rest.

When faced with challenging situations, Filipinos can do a daring act and they leave everything to God hoping God will take care of them. They accept what comes their way, appreciate what they have, and God will take care of the rest. In time of tragedy, they are not easily discouraged. They know they have done their best and with a strong faith, they leave everything to God, knowing God is on their side. True, the term signifies an attitude intended to surrender to fate which can be construed as a negative attitude but it enables them to take a chance and accept what fate has to offer. It can also be viewed as a positive thinking, in the sense that it gives them strength and confidence to tackle any job head on in the hope that everything will turn out for the best if God wills it.  

“Bahala na” is used in different ways such as:

  • Bahala na come what may
  • Akong bahala sa ‘yo.I’ll take care of you
  • Bahalawhatever
  • Bahala ka na – it’s up to you
  • Bahala ka na ngait’s up to you
  • Bahala na ang Diosit’s up to God
  • Bahala na kayoit’s up to you or the decision is yours
  •  Bahala na silaleave it to them
  • Bahala ka na sa akin – you’ll take care of me
  • Bahala na sina nanay at nanay – it’s up to mom and dad
  • Bahala na kayong lahat – it’s up to all of you
  • Bahala na kong anong mangyari.he/she will accept whatever will happen
  • Ikaw ang bahala d’yan you’re in charge of that.
  • Ipabahalato leave the responsibility to someone else
  • mabahala to be concerned, to feel worried.
  • Palagi ka nalang bahala nayou are always saying come what may
  • magwalang-bahalato disregard
  • walang-bahalignorant,negligent
  • Nabahala ako sa narinig koI was distressed by what I heard

In Cebuano, a dialect of Cebu province, “Bahala Na”  is translated as mahitabo kung mahitabo; dili na mahinungdanon kung unsa pa may mahitabo o dangatan. I think I’ll stay with Bahala Na. It’s easier to remember.

Copyright © 2013. By Rosalinda R Morgan, author of BAHALA NA (Come What May.

All rights reserved. What is the meaning of “BAHALA NA “?

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About SCLMRose

Having retired from the business world, Rosalinda is now pursuing her great love of books by catching up on her reading which she had no time before. She also writes historical novels and rose gardening articles and is the editor of the award-winning newsletter, The Charleston Rose. All her books (The Wentworth Legacy, The Iron Butterfly, and BAHALA NA (Come What May) are available at www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan. On her spare time, she enjoys gardening and volunteering in her neighborhood.
This entry was posted in BAHALA NA (Come What May), Philippine Culture, Philippines, Positive Thinking, Tagalog Language and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What is the meaning of BAHALA NA?

  1. Pingback: 10 positive ways to say "Bahala na" in English.Pinay.com

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