I am seriously thinking if I should write this entry in my native language, but, I thought of doing otherwise (since there would be more opportunity for this to be understood from different parts of the world if I’ll use the language we’re all familiar with). I trust that you’d understand what I mean at the end of this post. :)
I am a Filipino. I was born and raised in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.
In history, my country has been colonized by the Spaniards, Americans, and Japanese; ergo, you can depict a mix of our culture with these three colonizers. However, we have adapted more of the Spanish culture. Though mostly, we Filipinos, have a westernized mentality – a fact that I’m not really proud of but I’ll never lose hope that someday we’ll all be proud of where we came from.
My country is a very beautiful place and the people here makes it all the more fun for any foreign visitors. If you don’t believe me, check what the Lonely Planet has to say about us! #itsmorefuninthephilippines :) The Filipinos are the most happiest people in the world I know. I mean, we can seriously smile even in bad situations (like what happened during the habagat); we go crazy on the answers of our representatives who got in the top five of Miss Universe; we keep it cool even when our territorial disposition is challenged; we laugh about the simplest things as the existence of Thor; and many more. Aside from my country’s scenic places and exuberant people, another treasured possession that we have is our language: Pilipino.
I think English is a beautiful language, but Pilipino (or as others knew as Tagalog) is something more beyond that. It pierces through your soul; it’s heartfelt. Biased, eh? Haha. But if you’ll learn our language, you’ll know what I mean.
Growing up in an Asian and a “developing” country (as we are called) – the media, the academes, the government – the world tells us that to improve and to be globally competitive, English is a must to learn. That’s okay in one part but some of us, including me, went a bit overboard. By that I mean, as far as I’m concerned, I have considered English as the language of the elite, of the high-end professionals, of the cool people, of the in-crowd. I so wanted to belong when I was a teenager, I wanted to be cool, and I thought I should use English as much as I could. The worst part, there were times that I felt ashamed of using Pilipino when conversing with some other peeps who can understand it but who can only converse using English language.
See? Too much colonial mentality. But thank God, I finally woke up from that nonsense crap. I am a proud Filipino but during those times that I think being well-versed in English would make you look smarter in front of others than using your own language, boy was I wrong. Yes, it might be true that to be globally competitive we need to learn the English language, just as in any business, Mandarin (correct me if I’m wrong) is a must. But that doesn’t make my native language, nor yours, less important.
A country’s language is like its most precious pride. It indicates independence, freedom and ownership of one’s own ethnicity. Its vastness and richness is a compendium of each generation’s contribution. It reflects the culture and artistry of the nation. It is something to boast and be proud of – something to be celebrated.
I hope that even when we, Filipinos, learn to speak in English, we don’t turn our backs on the language that we can say we own and we can use as own any moment we wish we could. This is one of the many treasures in our country that we can pass on and we must pass on to the next generation. Pilipino indicates the existence of Filipinos! :)
Ako’y Isang Pinoy
Sa puso’t diwa
Pinoy na isinilang sa aking bansa
Ako’y di sanay sa wikang banyaga
Ako’y Pinoy na mayroong sariling wika!