Unofficial Kathcake

I finally texted my only batchmate in town to watch Barcelona: A Love Untold together! I was super happy that there was someone I could text who didn’t think Pinoy movies were beneath him. Haha. C is a fan of Daniel Padilla while I could say I’m unofficially (coz don’t you need to be in an actual fans club?) Kathryn’s fan. She’s got a lot of anti-fans but my sis and I love her. She’s so cute!

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Indio Bravo: The Life of Jose Rizal

Indio Bravo: The Life of Jose Rizal is written by Asuncion Lopez-Rizal Bantug with Sylvia Mendez Ventura and illustrated by BenCab. It aims to introduce young people to Jose Rizal and provide an intimate narrative about his life. It is published by Tahanan Books for Young Readers. Rizal scholar Ambeth Ocampo, the National Historical Institute, National Centennial Commission, the Spanish and German Embassies of Manila are also credited for their assistance in making the book.wp-1472917244715.jpeg

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Pagpamalandong Matod sa Pinulongan


Omg. I am embarassed by my poor grasp of my very own language. I can explain. I picked-up and used Bisaya growing up. I use it to communicate with my family, friends and people in general. I did not learn it formally in school nor did I read Bisaya literature so my fluency is practical and conversational. English was what I learned in school. Like most Filipino students, I was exposed to English grammar and literature lessons. If I want to express emotion, I speak in Bisaya. With letters and formalities, English is the language of choice.

Last year, my mom brought a copy of a Bisaya magazine and I could not “read” it. There were too many words that were “deep” or seemed “antiquated” (but they’re not!). I realized that my vocabulary was SUPER limited. I could not believe that I spoke and grew up with a language but could not even appreciate an article or literary piece. Even this blog entry is in English. So I have taken up the challenge of expanding my Bisaya vocabulary with the help of Bisaya magazine and blogs that publish Visayan poems.



Philippine Languages

I once had a bet with my unknowing boss who said Tagalog was our language and the rest are dialects. I insisted we had 8 major languages and he vehemently disagreed. Of course I only bet when I’m sure. His was a common mistake.

Most people think of Philippine languages, that are not Tagalog, as dialects. Dialect is a variation of a language. Bisaya, Bikol, Waray, Hiligaynon, Pangasinense, Kampampangan, Ilocano are not variations of Tagalog. Always, I want to correct that mistake but don’t bother. Let me satisfy that itch:

The Philippines is an archipelagic country with diverse languages. We have 8 major languages: Tagalog, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray, Pangasinense, Ilocano, Bikol and Kapampangan. Major only because these are spoken by huge chunks of the population. We actually have more than eight languages.

Those 8 languages are not mutually intelligible. I will not understand my grandfather if he speaks to me in Pangasinense. He will not understand my Bisaya either. Those are two different languages.

If I speak in Kagay-anon with someone who is from Bohol, we will be able to understand and have a conversation despite differences in pronunciation or a few terms because these are dialects of Bisaya. Just like a Batangueno will understand a Caviteno if they converse in their own dialect of the Tagalog language.

In the end, I won the bet and got myself a free bottle of wine.


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I wrote this with the intention of submitting it to the Doreen Fernandez Food Writing Contest. However, I was unable to finish and ended up editing and submitting it to World Nomad’s Passport and Plate Contest instead. It’s still up on their website along with other entries from all kinds of food lovers around the world. I am re-posting it here:

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On Language

I grew up speaking Cebuano (or commonly known as Bisaya). Everytime people, mostly Tagalog-speaking, comment on  someone’s “off” accent in English  as “Bisaya kasi”, it really turns me off. Most of the time, I don’t say anything because I find it exhausting to argue. Sometimes I want to retaliate by saying, “I’ve heard a lot of Non-Cebuano people say em arrr teee with a rolled R when they say MRT. Or they say wan tertiii, again rolling the R, when they want to say one thirty. Also they say sirkel when they want to say circle.” I could get as stereotypical as they are and inform them that the best English speakers I have met in the Philippines are Cebuanos and Ifugaos. But I keep my mouth shut because again I am not as aggressive as I really want or ought to be. Plus, how better off am I if I judge people by the way they pronounce things?
However, I do wish that teachers would especially make the effort to be critical about what they say in class because they have the power to influence children. If anything, they should encourage children to be more articulate in ANY language they are comfortable with. And how I wish we were all comfortable in our language no matter what it is. During one of our field work in college, one of our Matigsalug interviewee shared that some Matigsalug children sometimes did not want to speak their language in school because the Visayan children would make fun of them. This time, it’s the Bisaya who think they are better off in a so-called hierarchy of languages/ethnicity. To even think that there should be a hierarchy of ethnicity is limited, too linear and actually HORRIBLE but this is what society perpetuates. I write more comfortably in English than Bisaya but I speak more comfortably in Bisaya than in any other language. It’s never black and white. It’s complicated but it’s also exciting. That’s the beauty of diversity.
Note: This post was brought on by a news clip from Al Jazeera about languages that are used less and less.