Filipino is the Language of the Advantaged

After reading the full text and while we are in the midst of all rants and negative reactions from the recent article written by James Soriano (entitled Language, Leaning, Identity, Privilege) published in Manila Bulletin website, the first thought that entered my mind is that childish Soriano has yet to experience the advantage of speaking a unique language.

I think Soriano will only appreciate the Filipino language not by just reading the classic and one of the masterpieces of Philippine literature entitled Florante at Laura or by merely listening to the Filipino language calisthenics of Fliptop (the modern day Balagtasan in rap form) but by going out to tour another country with a fellow Filipino.

Filipino language can be a great tool for safety if you are out of the country.  One specific case in point is when I and a fellow Pinoy went to Morocco.  We planned to walk and tour the labyrinthine medina in Fez but when we arrived at the gate of the walled city, we felt a sense of danger of being mobbed.  I and my friend spoke in Filipino so that no Morrocan can understand what would be our immediate plan so as to be safe.  Still in Morocco, when we ride a jampacked train we would speak in Filipino to remind each other to mind our belongings from pick pockets.  In this way, we can continuously enjoy our journey by staying safe and cautious without the locals ever knowing that we are suspicious of some of the locals behind or in front of us.

When you are on tour out of the country, Filipino language can be a mode to blurt out over the top emotions of anger when the situation calls for it just to steam out your feelings without offending a local.  When me and my family went to Guangzhou China (as part of our Hong Kong tour package), the tourist guide led us to one of the bargain shopping malls.  In one of the electronic stores, I tried to haggle with a store attendant to lower down the price of a memory card.  The sales representative was a pain in the neck with his demeanor.  I did not buy the memory card and before I stepped out of his store, I shook his hand, smiled at him and told him “Gago Ka!”  The sales attendant was smiling at me when I left his store.

At the other end of the spectrum, Filipino language can be a mode to steam out your uncontrollable infatuation without embarrassing yourself towards a local without this people ever knowing that you are ablaze with their looks.  When I and a friend went to Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia we need to take a bus ride from the town of Katoomba.  As we get up the bus, my friend noticed that the Caucasian bus driver was strikingly good looking.  We sat on the available seats just behind the driver.  While the bus is running, my friend could no longer contain her scrutiny about the bus driver and told me, “Grabe HR and gwapo ng nagmamaneho.”  With her usual comical and mischievous nature she told me in her normal sounding voice, “Siguro pinkish ang titi nyan!”  We laugh out loud throughout the bus ride without the driver and other passengers knowing what we were talking about.

Now for Mr. Soriano, one piece of advice, get out of the country with a Filipino fellow and enjoy, realize and appreciate the advantages of speaking Filipino.  You will surely use your pandiwa, pang-uri, pang-abay, pantangi and panghalip.

Kasi naman… Nagmamagaling… Di naman kagalingan…

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Quezon, Tagalog & Panggala-talk: A Linggo ng Wika Special

Today is the birthday of the guy whose face is on the twenty peso bill.  He is the same dude who is responsible why the female populace of this country can exercise their right to suffrage.  But his most popular feat and contribution in this country is his decision and declaration of making Filipino language the official and national language of the Philippines during the time when the two official languages of the country were English and Spanish.  He is Manuel L. Quezon, the father of this country’s national language.

This week, the country commemorates Linggo ng Wika (Filipino Language Week) which ends and culminates on Quezon’s birthday.  My earliest memory of me commemorating Linggo Ng Wika was during my grade school days.  I along with a bunch of classmates was summoned by our teacher to present a poem in an acrostic form during the Linggo Ng Wika program in our school.  If my memory serves me right, I was assigned to flash and state the verse that starts with letter N which was cut out from a red colored art-paper glued on a cardboard.

There are 175 dialects in the Philippines but the official Filipino language is based from the Tagalog language.  I being born and raised in the political and economic center of the country can speak, write and understand Tagalog.  In spite of this, Filipino is the school subject that caused me not to be included in the honor roll during high school because I garnered a grade of 79% during the third grading period in my 3rd year in high school. I must admit, Filipino is such a tricky thorny language.

Yet still, there is one dialect that I regret to have not learned.  It is the native tongue of my father – Panggalatok, the spoken dialect in the beautiful province of Pangasinan.    The only phrase I know in Panggalatok is “mangan tila!” which means “let’s eat!”  This is the common call I usually hear from my Panggalatok aunts and uncles every time they get to spend a day in our house in Pasay.

So today being the of peak of Linggo ng Wika, let me digress from Tagalog but instead give homage to the equally unique and exquisite Panggalatok dialect through this video which features one of the most admired classic songs in Pangasinan (which for sure my late father knows so well)…

Ang Tagalog ng “Noted By” ay “Nota Ni”

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

It was the cover that made me buy the book.  The cover design was so good that I decided to read on.  I don’t know what made me decide to continue reading until the end.  It may be because I have deprived myself for a long time on book-reading or may be because Hush Hush written by Becca Fitzpatrick was truly an action packed and fast-paced novel.  Or maybe it’s both.

I finished the book only for a day because I enjoyed the fact that the author gave me enough information to know what was going on and I never felt swamped with details which at times makes a novel a bit boring.  It’s a skill I admire about the author.  The pacing of the story was at a rapid motion yet it’s well-controlled.

I found the story to be creative and fluent but there are times that loopholes would crop up every now and then.  There were hilarious moments and impressive scenes yet there was a lack of yearning desire and chemistry between the main character (Nora) and the fallen angel (Patch) that would convince a reader that they were meant to be.  Overall, the book was okay.  It was a fun read but it is unlike the type that would take over my life in a few days after reading it.

Neks buk plis.