Chavacano is a Spanish-based creole language and known in linguistics as Philippine Creole Spanish. Initially, and as a means to express themselves, native speakers mixed Spanish with their respective dialect: Tagalog in Cavite, Ternate, and Manila; Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Moro languages in Cotobato, Davao, and Zamboanga. As a result, there are six variations of Chavacano: Caviteño, Cotobateño, Davaoeño, Ermiteño, Ternateño, and Zamboangueño.
Now used almost exclusively in Cavite City and coastal Ternate, Cavite Chabacano enjoyed its widest diffusion and greatest splendor in Spanish and American period of Filipino history, when newspapers and literary outputs flourished. Residents of Paco, Ermita, Quiapo and Malate shared this common tongue with those of San Nicolas, Santa Cruz and Trozo. During the Spanish regime, it was prevalent for Spaniards, both peninsulares and insulares, to use the creole in their negotiations with the townfolk. Cavite Chabacano was spoken with relative ease because it was essentially a simplification of Castillan morphology patterned after Tagalog syntax. Gradually and naturally, it acquired the sounds present in the Spanish phonological system, which had the authocthonous phonetics as core. After World War II, creole Spanish speakers within the capitol of the archipelago vanished.