Respect All Languages

Filipino is simply Tagalog and Manila-based one, at that.

I could understand those who were born and bred in Manila and never had any close/strong ties to the provinces to think and feel that Tagalog, under the the new name of Pilipino/Filipino, is the be-all and end-all of languages in this archipelago. Especially so that it was taught (and maybe still is being taught) that all the other almost 200 Philippine languages are simply dialects.

I could understand because I was one too.

But. We all grow up. We go through more academic learning. We see the world. Aren’t those enough to open our eyes and minds?

Understandable still if one fails to go through more years of learning due to poverty and thus stay non-aware and non-caring of the language issue. What is not understandable and acceptable are those who have gone through colleges and universities and those who are in the academe and deliberately mislead a lot of people for reasons I really couldn’t fathom. Isn’t truth worth to be the one which should be taught?

Tanggol Wika. Tama. Tama ngang ipagtanggol ang sariling wika. Mga wikang katulad ng Kapampangan, Cebuano, Ilokano, Pangasinense, Kinaray-a, Hiligaynon, Ilonggo, Akianon, at marami pang iba. Tagalog ay Tagalog at hindi Filipino. Ang ipinagtatanggol ninyong Filipino ay Tagalog ng mga taga-Maynila at hindi ang Tagalog ng mga nasa Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite.

I am not a scholar. I am not an academician. I simply am a college drop out who was born in this country and was raised with English as a first language and who has since learned to respect the rich diversity of languages and cultures in this archipelago.

Kill a language and an entire culture dies with it. And there’s this one person who wants to start the ball rolling by wanting to shoot ‘pointblank in the head’ every single one of the so-called ‘regionalists’ who are simply protecting this country’s languages and cultures.

Sadly, being published by Rappler and Philippine Daily Inquirer lends this person a sheen of patina of believability by those who are not resourceful and interested enough to dig deep about one’s own country.


let go

being with you.
holding your hand.
watching you sleep.
stroking your hair.
hearing your snores.
waking up with your caresses.
making you coffee.
feeding you fruits.
filling your beer glass.
seeing you eat heartily of the food I prepared.
staring at you leaving the place where i belong.

yes, it made me happy.
and yes, it made me sad.

thank you
for the chance.
despite of the fact
that it was never love,
on your part,
from the very start.

let go.
let me go.
i should let go.

let me go.
and maybe,
i can finally let go.

but remember,
i am here
and will always be here.
until you let me go.

Tagalog, not Filipino.

What is the Filipino language, anyway? It’s just but something coined to rename the Manila-based Tagalog in the hopes of unifying a richly diverse archipelago that is Manila-centric.

I know of a university in this country which does not have Filipino as a required subject – a student has a choice between Filipino and English. This practice by this university did not in any way made Filipino obsolete as a subject and as a course. I think, the university always has served as a rich source of and for Filipino language experts.

In fact, most of the products of this university are well versed in using the Tagalog-based Filipino, English, and their own language. Filipinos, for a lack of a better term, are bilinguals and or multilinguals. Take for instance, Tarlaqueños. From the cradle, they are exposed to Ilokano and Kapampangan. At school age, English comes in. Pangasinense also comes in. That is four languages for a native of the northern part of Tarlac. In adulthood, one will surely pick up at least one other language especially when one becomes an OFW.

In a way, it is funny in this example: ‘nakain’ versus ‘kumain.’ Filipino grammar says that the former is wrong and the correct word is the latter. How come then that there are Tagalog-speaking places around Manila that treat the latter word as the correct one?

In my entire elementary, high school, and college Filipino subjects, never did I hear about a Tagalog dialect. There is only Filipino. But Filipino is simply just a Manila-based Tagalog, as I said above. How to explain then ‘nakain vs kumain?’ With all the new changes implemented in the Filipino grammar, maybe this has been addressed. I hope so.

But am hoping more that the issues about the other Philippine languages be also addressed. Forcing everyone to just kowtow to the Filipino as the national language (and Baybayin as the national script) just creates more divisiveness than unity.


sa kahabaan ng friendship highway na aking binabagtas,
isang hapon na gising na gising pa rin ang araw,
usad-pagong ang mga sasakyan.

katulad ng nakasanayan,
ang aking isang tenga ay may nakapasak na earphone
kung saan nanggagaling ang musikang laging kasama.

katulad ng nakasanayan kapag nag-iisa,
sinasabayan ng mala-palakang boses ang pinakikinggang kanta,
na wari’y walang ibang tao sa mundo.

at dahil halos hindi nga gumagalaw ang mga sasakyan,
at dahil dalang-dala sa kantang sinasabayan,
hindi namalayan ang pagtigil ng isang naka-bisikletang lalaki.

huli na ng namalayan
na sumandaling nakinig pala ang lalaking naka-bisikleta
sa aking munting konsyerto sa gitna ng buhol-buhol na mga sasakyan.

ang laking malas naman niya.

No Turning Back

A few steps forward and then a glance back. Longing for whatever I still can glimpse back there.

Suddenly, a glimmer renders me immobile. I stand there and stare back until something forces me to take more steps forward, however grudgingly.

More steps. More back glances. Every step forward is leaden. Until a turn looms.

With quickening steps, I eagerly rush towards it. But alas, it leads farther away from whence I came. The road back has become too hazy until there’s nothing left to see of the road I am pining for.

Trudging and unseeing, I move along the roads that appear. The only respite I have has disappeared. Only the memories are left to accompany me on my blind journey.

There really is no turning back. Several more turns and even the memories will dim and fade. Until there will be nothing left anymore.

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Paquibat ning Caiantabe Dapot e ia Uatas.

Ot pepasubung ka?
Ot pepaitambun ka?
Ninu wari ila ban mangutkut keka
keng kulkul a dapat karela?

Ot peipagupu ka?
Bandi de wari ing kekang pangatau?
Bandi de wari ing kekang kaladwa?
Pisali mu wari karela?

Busni mo reng mata mu.
Lauen mu ing kekang sariling sala.
E mu kailangan ing sala a seli da
libe ning karelang kaladwa.

Tagimpan, o, tagimpan.
Tagimpan, ali katutwan.
Nasa ning pusu, malyaring mipaltutu,
dapot mas maralas, deti susulapo.

Gunting ampong labaha gamitan kareng bwak.
Kumwa ka naman tabak ban aputut mu
reng taling peluput mu keng sarili mu.

At linisan na ka ning uran.

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