The Filipino language comprises of 116 dialects that are commonly used by its people as their means of communication in different parts of the Philippine archipelago. Some of the major dialects used are Tagalog, Ilocano, Kampampangan, Batangueño, and Bikolano in Luzon; Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Antiqueño, Ilonggo, Karay-a, Boholanon and Waray in the Visayas; and Bisaya, Maguindanaonon and Chavacano in Mindanao. All of these dialects are still being used by its locals until now, and this preserves our culture as a Filipino.
It is so amazing when travelling the Philippines, because you left one part of the country and land on another part of the country and the people doesn't seem sound the same. For example, your flight is from Manila to Cebu. Manila uses Tagalog as their dialect, so when they greet you Good Morning!, they will say "Magandang Umaga!". And when you arrive in Cebu, they will greet you again Good Morning!, saying "Maayong Buntag!". Filipino does not differs only on words but also in accent, intonation, and pronunciation.
I was born as a Cebuano but raised in Mindanao. My mother is Kampampangan and my father is an Ilocano. At home, we use a mixture of Tagalog and Bisaya. But when I'm with friends, I talk in Bisaya and Ilonggo since there are lots of Ilonggos in Southern Mindanao. That means I can speak Cebuano, Bisaya, Tagalog, Ilonggo and somehow speaks and understands Kapampangan and Ilocano dialects.
Tagalog as a Subject
The diversity and complexity of Filipino language makes me somehow confused because there is only one dialect that is being practiced by most Filipinos, and that is Tagalog. For many years of studying, grade school, high school and college, Filipino has been always a subject for all students, yet one question remained hanging on my mind, Why Tagalog?
There were many instances that I have debated this question with my Filipino teachers from High School and College that resulted of my low grades during finals.
A debate is an art of reasoning and how you defend your own side by giving insights and ideas of a certain subject. But having this debate will only question me, Am I a Filipino?
Tagalog became the "National Language" as selected by the Surian ng Wikang Pambansa (National Language Institute) on July 14, 1936 as based on the following factors:
- Tagalog is widely spoken and mostly understood by most Filipinos - my Filipino teachers asks me this question, Are you a Filipino? Then why don't you speak Tagalog? It's obvious that I'm a Filipino, and speaking my own dialect does not affect of being a Filipino.
- Literary tradition which means more books are written in Tagalog - this was 1936, right? no computers and still using the typewriter.
- Not divided into smaller and divided languages like Visayan or Bikol - Not the whole Luzon speaks Tagalog.
- Tagalog has always been used in Manila (the nation's capital) - It is only used in Mega Manila and nearby provinces.
- Was used during the 1896 revolution (a part of Philippine History) - Was Lapu-lapu spoke Tagalog during 1521? This was also a part of history.
Tagalog VS. English
Philippines is known as to be the second country in the world who knows how to speak and understand English language. On the other hand, it is one of the basic subjects that had molded me to be more confident that made me achieved my current job.
But another question is that why most Filipino Masters a.k.a. "Tagalog Advocates" really wanted to make Tagalog as the main language to be used in teaching. As what it was transcribe, other subject in English will be changed to Tagalog or "Filipino". Here are the following:
- Civics and Culture - Sibika at Kultura
- Music, Arts and Physical Education - Musika, Sining at Palakasan
- Mathematics - Matematika
- Science and Technology - Siyensya at Teknolohiya
Would they also want to make English as Ingles? How would be our future generation be competitive enough in the global manpower if Tagalog will be the approach in their subjects in school. The quality of education nowadays is getting to its lowest point and all we need to do is to change this.
A new Filipino subject
Why don't we change the Filipino subject into a more formal, non-discriminating, much informative way of approach. Instead of just learning Tagalog as a language, why don't we give some basic introduction of some major dialects here in the Philippines. It is like integrating Filipino and Sibika at Kultura. With this approach, students would appreciate Filipino language in a non-confusing way.