Today I finally found the definition of a Waray-Waray word I keep stumbling upon.

kamíngaw: tigngaran (noun), tigtulidong (modifier). loneliness; silence; stillness; nostalgia. (Oyzon et al. 2013)

My excitement at finally deciphering a mystery was immediately eclipsed by an unusual sensation of understanding. I mean here a sort of understanding a word specifically in a place where it is used. Every time I had heard this word, I realized, someone was likely talking about a profound moment. I felt connected to their experience of loneliness by my own experience of loneliness here as a visitor to this place.

Kamíngaw: Now, I think of a time I went to MacArthur Park. It was a beautiful Saturday, and high school kids were gathered on the grass together, singing along with a guitar under the shade trees. I stood at the back of the MacArthur Landing monument, looking out to the sea, and failing to imagine what that historic moment might have looked liked. It exists so much now on reverence.

In that space there, alone–apart from the tourists, apart from the high schoolers, apart from feeling the significance of history, and facing an open sea: kamíngaw.


Oyzon, V. Q., Fullmer, J. M., & Cruzada, E. C. (2013). Syahan nga Usa ka Yukot hin mga Pulong nga Agsob Gamiton ha Winaray: Pagpurulongan nga Winaray-Inenglis para han mga Magturutdo ha MTBMLE. Commission on Higher Education with National Network of Normal Schools (3NS) and Leyte Normal University.


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