Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Aba Ginoong Maria

By c.pio
Doctrina Christiana - 1593

Arcee Ofthepast Ito hindi nyo na maitatanggi, ano ba ang kasarian ni Maria? Lalaki ba para tawaging Ginoo? Hahaha Mga bulag (you cannot deny this one, what is the gender of Mary? Is she a man to call Mister? LOL Blinds)

The Aba Ginoong Maria is a tagalog translation of Hail Mary, a biblical narrative of who Mary is. This translation was written hundred years long before the advent of Ang Dating Daan – Church of God by Eli Soriano, Felix Manalo with his owned Iglesia ni Cristo 1914, Filipino members of Jehova’s Witnesses and other Protestant sects: unfortunately, this wonderful prayer was use by them to derogate the Catholic Church.

They have same ground of argument: If Mary is a woman, why do Filipino Catholics address her as Ginoo (Mister) – a clear masculine noun?

Ginoo: from Pre to Post-Spanish Era

Are they correct and we are blindly accepted the fact that we wrongly address Mother Mary with a masculine title?. As we have said, the Aba Ginoong Maria like other classic documents; a glimpse to historical period and cultural nature at the time of translation is a must to understand this word fully.  We must check first their definition of the word Ginoo during that period:

Copy from Stanford Library

The word 'Ginoo' according to Father Juan de Noceda and Father Pedro de San Lucar in Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala printed in Manila in 1860; was given to a ‘lady of rank’ while 'Maginoo' was addressed to a Male person. 

p.125 Ginoo pp. Principal Seniora

p.198 Maguinoo pp. Noble, principal Senor

One good literary example was the letter of Dr. Jose Rizal written in 1889 which read as follows: 

 "Pukawin ninyo ang sigla at sipag, maginoong asal, mahal na pakiramdam at huag isuko ang pagkadalaga sa isang mahina at kuyuming puso”

Even in Post-Spanish period, Ginoo was still use to address a female person. In 1905 English-Tagalog Dictionary compiled and published by Charles Nigg, (Note that this was compiled few years after American Government took-over the Philippines from Spanish Colony)

p.10 Babaying Guinoo -n- Lady; damsel

But if we compare this in today's definition since the word/s evolve, both Ginoo and Maginoo are specifically address only to a Male person... main reason why Church's detractors argue with us - they use it according to a modern definition without checking the past.

Maginoo - a Male Title

The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898
 Explorations by early navigators, descriptions of the islands and their peoples, their history and records of the catholic missions, as related in contemporaneous books and manuscripts, showing the political, economic, commercial and religious conditions of those islands from their earliest relations with European nations to the close of the nineteenth century,
Volume XL, 1690-1691


Juan Francisco de San Antonio, O.S.F.; Manila, 1738. [From his Cronicas.]

Of the former government and social customs of these Indians

462. I have already said that our brother and venerable father Fray Juan de Plassencia wrote in the convent of Nagcarlan and signed (October 24, 1589) a relation describing all the old customs of these Indians, in obedience to a request and charge of the superior government. That relation appeared to all a very truthful statement, as, in order to make it, his examination and vigilance were rigorous.

464. These Indians were not so lacking in prudence in the olden time that they did not have their economic, military and political government, those being the branches derived from the stem of prudence. Even the political government was not so simple among all of them that they did not have their architectonic rule--not monarchic, for they did not have an absolute king; nor democratic, for those who governed a state or village were not many; but an aristocratic one, for there were many magnates (who are here called either maguinoos or datos), among whom the entire government was divided.

465… In some districts, this man was called maguinoo, and in others dato.

After properly laid the facts, that the word Ginoo in Aba Ginoong Maria was indeed a female title, whom at that time this prayer was translated into tagalog, who then is blind?


Rizal's Letter to young women of Malolos

Question:  How sure we are that Dr. Rizal was referring to Ginoo not to Maginoo (a masculine title) when he wrote his letter to young women of Malolos?

Answer: The word Maginoo in his letter was derived from root word 'ginoo' and a prefix 'ma': in short he was referring to a Gentle Woman character - a well-mannered and considerate woman with high standards.


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  2. kahapon lng po nagtataka din ako kung bkit po aba ginoong maria ang pag pray ehh babae po si mari pero ngaun malinaw napo sakin ang laht salamt po ^_^

  3. i,m wondering, how about "GINOO" in the cebuano? does it refer to a diety?

    1. Ginoo in Cebuano/bisaya is God...

    2. Ginoo in Cebuano/bisaya is GOD.

  4. the mere fact that the translation is based on "Tagalog" Dialect and not in Cebuano, Kapampangan, Ilonggo so on, no other meaning for the term (ginoo) other than the meaning render by 'tagalog' dialect.

    cebuano for Hail Mary full of grace : Maghimaya ka Maria, puno sang grasya.

  5. thanks for this article, although the person from MCGI which I discussed and explained keeps on denying this TRUTH and its traditions, I have used this explanation to inform other Catholics in defense of a heretical teaching.

  6. Thanks for sharing!

    My grandmother, 78 years old, just asked me this question and I shared with her the content of your article... I think the question came from non-Catholic Christians that she knows...

    Please continue to do your good work and help us to know our faith batter... God bless you! :)


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