A group of around 70 academics, diplomats, Philippine history and Spanish language enthusiasts attended the viewing of the documentary film El idioma español en Filipinas (The Spanish language in the Philippines), held on 22 November 2017 at the Real Academia Española in Madrid. The documentary is produced by the Asociacion Cultural Galeon de Manila, and written and directed by its President, Javier Ruescas. It explores the history and current state of the Spanish language in the Philippines through the testimonies of Spanish-speaking Filipinos.
In his remarks to the audience, Philippine Ambassador Philippe J. Lhuillier, who was welcomed and introduced by the Director of the Real Academia Española, Mr. Dario Villanueva, cited the massive influence of the Spanish language on all Filipino languages and acknowledged how this has contributed to the unique Filipino identity of being both Southeast Asian and Latin. “Although we are celebrating this year the 70th year of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Spain, the pervasive influence of Spanish in the Philippines attest to a deeper and much longer connection between the two countries and its people,” according to Ambassador Lhuillier.
The viewing was followed by comments and questions from the audience whose concerns were mostly concentrated on the preservation of Spanish and the possibility of its reintroduction in Filipino schools and universities’ curricula.
The film viewing was organized by the Asociación Cultural Galeón de Manila and the Real Academia Española, with the cooperation of the Philippine Embassy in Madrid as one of the latter’s year-long events to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Philippines and Spain.