Saturday, March 6, 2010

That Religious Guy: From Como estas to Kumusta Ka

..... Hablas Español?
..... Nagsasalita ka ba ng wikang Español?
..... It's common knowledge that the Philippines was once a Spanish colony and therefore many of its languages still retain Spanish loan words. In 1987, the Philippine government abolished the mother tongue of the conquistadors as an official language and relaxed the requirement obligating all college students to study it. Many Filipinos have lamented the loss of this language from the mouths of younger generations, but they may soon be comforted in knowing that Spanish is making a comeback.
..... Under Philippines' Education Secretary Jesli Lapus and the Spanish education ministry's Jose Manuel Martinez Sierra, an agreement was signed restoring some life into the Spanish language in the islands. As of 2012, Spain will be training language teachers and sending electronic teaching aids to the Philippines. In addition to the help from Madrid, Spanish will become a compulsory subject in the Philippines.
..... There are only a few native Spanish speakers living in the Philippines; thousands more speak a creole language Chavacano. This minority of individuals have kept the language alive, due to hereditary tradition more than necessity. Still, some Filipinos are still trapped in a colonial mindset. They believe that learning Spanish is equal to selling out to the colonizing Kastila ("Spaniards" in Tagalog, coming from "Castillian"). Up until recently, speaking Spanish had its own stigma; hispanohablantes were supposedly elitist, rich, and supercilious. This ignorant stereotype, however, is just that, a stereotype. Learning Spanish and indeed other foreign languages broadens one's mind and perception of the world. Learning a language doesn't make one more close-minded.
..... 300 plus years of Spanish colonialism in the Philippines have left their mark in our religion, customs, cuisine, and languages. From our barrio fiestas to flan, Semana Santa to Santo Niño, and our surnames, Filipino culture has been spiced by the Iberian peninsula. It's time that we embrace our collective history and embrace the language of revolution, the language of Rizal and Bonifacio, the language of Spanish. I for one will do my best to take Spanish 1-2 senior year, just to get ready for the coming decades when Spanish will be revived in the Philippines. Hopefully in the years to come, Mexicans, Cubans, Spaniards, and other hispanohablantes will be able to communicate easily with their Filipino cousins.

- Jeremy Dela Cruz

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