Dapa -- Number 5 in a series of articles about Tagalog Words and everything Tagalog.

Dapa (to fall prostrate) is an interesting word. When a toddler is tottering unsteadily, she will keep on falling (nadadapa). One mother will rush to the child and chide her, “Huwag kang takbo nang takbo, para ‘di ka madapa!” (Don’t run so you won’t fall!) Meanwhile, another mom will say, “O, nadapa ka na naman, bangon at sa kabila naman!” (Idiomatic  - You’ve fallen again, get up and fall some more! [This is a way of encouraging the child.])


Walang gustong madapa (nobody likes to trip off), but most of the time, a fall is accidental. You stub your toe against a jutting root while rushing for a jeepney-ride home and you fall flat on the ground. Nadapa ka. 
But how about, 

     “Nadapa ka na minsan, e, huwag mo nang ulitin pa” 

     Literal-"If you have fallen once, then don’t repeat it."

     Idiomatic-"Learn your lesson from this bad consequence."

Here, there is the context of intention. The pagkadapa becomes the result of a wrong decision. To this, the proud will answer,

     "Kung saan ako nadapa, doon ako babangon" 

     Literal-"Where I fell, I will rise up from there."

     Idiomatic- "Leave me alone, this is my life now, I can do this."


Then there is nagkakandarapa with its root word dapa. To be in a state of pagkakandarapa is to be in obsequious busyness because one wants to please an influential or powerful individual. Example:

     “Noong piyesta, nagkandarapa ang mga tao rito sa paghahanda” 

     Last fiesta, people were falling all over themselves, [or falling-flat-on-their-faces-busy] in preparing the feast.

     Bakit? Why?

    “Eh, darating kasi si Gov. at mga alipores niya” 

     The governor and his officials were coming.

Nagkakandarapa is how the general population perceived the action of the Philippine president in one of her visits to the United States. For her travel the government spent $1.5 million in transportation and accommodation because many delegates and hangers-on flew with her unnecessarily. She was going to the White House to shake hands with the President of the USA. Meanwhile, her company just wanted to have a free ride to the States.

     Halos magkandarapa si Presidente sa paghahanda para sa pagdalaw niya sa Presidente ng Estados Unidos. 

     The President nearly fell over her face in preparation for her visit to the President of the United States.

This was at a time when the country was recovering from the devastation of Typhoon “Frank” and people were lining up for cheap rice. At that time as well, an ocean liner had sunk along with some 800 passengers, and the families were clamoring for just compensation. While the people were in their worst state (dapang-dapa na), the President was having the time of her life, spending people's taxes unwisely.


The popular Tagalog movie “Babangon ako at dudurugin kita” (I will rise up and crush you) is a story of a woman who is oppressed by circumstances that go from bad to worse. After a series of bad luck, she resolves to pick up her life and vows to avenge her miserable (dapang-dapa) existence.

In the context of misery, to be nagkakandarapa is to get dangerously busy in the planning and execution of the ways and means of getting back at the root and cause of all problems. Yet there is another way of falling prostrate, that is, before God alone, the real supreme being, high above all things. Magpatirapa tayo sa pagsamba sa Kanya. (Let us fall down to worship Him).


In the Old Testament, King David pleaded to God to save his dying child. He fell prostrate in prayer, nagpatirapa at nanalangin. To fall prostrate in prayer is to take the humble (pagpapakumbaba), helpless (kawalan ng kakayahan), and submissive (pagsuko) position. From this position of weakness before Yahweh, David received strength. His military prowess became formidable. His geographical boundaries expanded. His nation’s wealth grew, and his people enjoyed peace and abundance.

It is high time for the Filipino nation, who claim to be the only Christian nation in Asia, to fall prostrate in prayer  before the Almighty (magpatirapa sa harapan ng Maykapal). For, “…if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

  • “Noong piyesta, nagkandarapa ang mga tao rito sa paghahanda.” (Last fiesta, people were falling all over themselves, [or falling-flat-on-their-faces-busy] in preparing the feast.) 
  • Nadapa ka na minsan, eh, huwag mo nang ulitin pa.” (Literal-If you have fallen once, then don’t repeat it; Idiomatic-learn your lesson from this bad consequence).
  • Kung saan ako nadapa, doon ako babangon. (Literal-where I fell, there I will rise up; Idiomatic- leave me alone, this is my life now, I can do this). 
  • After a series of bad luck, she resolves to pick up her life and vows to avenge her  miserable (dapang-dapa) existence.
  • Magpatirapa tayo sa pagsamba sa Kanya. (Let us fall down to worship Him).

"Dapa" is to fall on one's face, see what she has got to say about "face"

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