Bahala Na

Posted on Aug 30, 2009 in BA, HA, LA, NA

I find it interesting that in ilonggo, people say things like:

hindi, bala?,
gaano ka da, bala?

We also like to say things like

hala, mo! or

hala, lagot ka gid d’a karon!

Are bala and hala derivatives of bahala na and used as words to emphasize the meaning of a sentence?

We do know that Bahala Na is a Filipino attitude. It is also a saying that indicates, to our westernized minds, a fatalistic tendency. Others, of a more familiar with the meaning that they trust in higher power, or that they are aligned with Divine Will in that moment (even if they themselves are not totally sure of what to think or what to say.)



Use your inner artist’s eye to try to detect in these forms their meanings.

Before you scroll down to the deeper meanings that have been interpreted, please take a moment to look at the symbols and interpret them on your own.

Sit in quiet while you look at them. Can you see the subjective and/or metaphorical meanings in the various baybayin above? Take your time.

Now that you have tried to perceive the meanings of the baybayin with your inner eye… try the following meanings on for size and see how similar yours and the meanings here align.**

  • BA is the symbol that represents “female”(babae, bai, ba-i) or the Feminine Principle. The shape represents the internal form of the uterus of women.
  • LA is the symbol that represents “male”(lalaki, laki) or the Masculine Principle. The shape represents the external form of the reproductive organs of men.
  • HA is the symbol that means air, breathe or spirit(hangin, hahanga, ginhawa). The wave represents the flow of air.
  • NA is the symbol to indicate “now” or “being present.” The downward line represents the present moment in a progression of time. Another interpretation is that one is facing a double door.

*Baybayin translation courtesy of C. Cabuay’s online application)

**Interpretation background thanks to the baybayin artistry and intuitive interpretations of Mary Ann Ubaldo, Baybayin Jewelry Artist | and Rhodora “Bing” Veloso, author of Saysayin ng Baybayin.


  1. This is very interesting… my grandma used to say “balaha” na as her expression. Usually she used baybayin on her personal notes. We take it for granted but I realized now how important it is..
    Gimingaw nako sa akong apohan..

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you for sharing, Adianez. What is the meaning you understood from the way she said it?

      Post a Reply
  2. Thank you. Being an Ilonggo (Panay Island) this is especially interesting to me. This “bahala na” attitude was derived from “Bathala na”; “Bathala” meaning God, being resigned to God’s Will. I remember this being taught in our Pilipino (now Filipino) subject at school.

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