Fishing at Night

Once a week we have a Bible study at our house with some of the members of our congregation- where we are the only native English speakers.  Usually it’s pretty early in the morning because it needs to be before everybody goes to work or school, and Saturdays they are often travelling up into the remote mountain villages.

Last week we read Luke chapter 5.  Here’s an excerpt:

“One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.  So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,  and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.”

In the discussion afterwards, one of the men explained to us that the reason this was amazing is not just because the men had fished all night and caught nothing, so there were no fish- but because they were net-fishing, and if you don’t catch anything at night fishing with nets, you are definitely not catching anything in the daytime.  Fishermen fish at night, he explained, because it’s dark and the fish can’t see them, so they catch more.  You don’t catch many fish during the daylight or during a full moon. 


This is Cebuano, which is not the local dialect (Bisaya, or Visayan), though there are many words in common. Locals here will tell me this is ‘deep Cebuano,’ but it’s not really completely clear to me what ‘deep’ means. One native Bisaya speaker who is fluent in English agreed with me when I asked if it meant more formal, like the difference between KJV and NIV, but his agreement was tentative sounding, and possibly only because I am more than old enough to be his mother.

The accent is almost never on the syllable English speakers expect it to be. O and U are quite similar, as are i and i.  Aw sounds like ow.  Ay sounds like eye.

Usa niana ka adlaw nagtindog si Jesus sa daplin sa Linaw sa Genesaret. Midugok didto kaniya ang daghang mga tawo tungod kay gusto silang maminaw sa pulong sa Dios. Didto sa lapyahan nakita ni Jesus ang duha ka sakayan. Nakakanaog na ang mga mangingisda aron sa paghugas sa ilang mga pukot. Ang usa ka sakayan iya ni Simon. Gisakyan kini ni Jesus ug gihangyo niya si Simon nga itulod kini ug diotay palayo sa daplin. Milingkod si Jesus ug nagtudlo sa mga tawo.

Pagkahuman niya sa pagpanudlo, miingon siya kang Simon, “Pagpalawod kamo ug itaktak ninyo ang inyong mga pukot aron makakuha kamo ug mga isda.” Miingon si Simon kang Jesus, “Magtutudlo,[a] tibuok gabii kaming nangisda, apan wala gayod kamiy nakuha. Apan tungod kay miingon ka man nga itaktak ang pukot, itaktak nako kini.” Mipalawod sila ug gitaktak nila ang ilang mga pukot. Daghan kaayo nga isda ang ilang nakuha ug hapit gani magisi ang ilang mga pukot. Unya gikamay nila ang ilang mga kauban didto sa lain nga sakayan aron tabangan sila. Pag-abot sa ilang mga kauban gipuno nila ug isda ang duha ka sakayan, ug hapit sila malunod tungod sa kadaghan sa mga isda. Sa pagkakita niini ni Simon Pedro, miluhod siya sa atubangan ni Jesus ug miingon, “Ginoo, pahilayo kanako tungod kay makasasala ako nga tawo.” Tungod kay natingala gayod si Simon ug ang iyang mga kauban sa kadaghan sa isda nga ilang nakuha. 10 Natingala usab ang mga kasosyo[b] ni Simon nga si Santiago ug si Juan nga mga anak ni Zebede. Unya miingon si Jesus kang Simon, “Ayaw kahadlok. Gikan karon dili na isda ang imong pangitaon kondilimga tawo aron maluwas sila.” 11 Sa dihang napadaplin na nila ang ilang mga sakayan, gibiyaan nila kining tanan ug misunod kang Jesus.


Here’s a youtube video of some basic phrases:

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