Philippine Embassy Madrid Concludes Month-Long Buwan Ng Wika Program

On 5 September, the Philippine Embassy in Madrid successfully concluded the cultural program it organized for the entirety of August, in celebration of Buwan ng Wika (National Language Month) 2020.

The theme for the annual celebration was “Wika ng Kasaysayan, Kasaysayan ng Wika” (Language of History, History of Language) with the sub-theme “Ang mga Katutubong Wika sa Maka-Filipinong Bayanihan Kontra Pandemya” (Native Languages in Philippine Civic Unity Against the Pandemic).

Throughout the entire month of August, the Embassy created online events and initiatives catering to the Filipino community as well as other viewers from Spain and abroad, raising public awareness about the Philippines’ various languages while simultaneously highlighting the deep cultural and linguistic ties between the Philippines and Spain. All the events were organized under the guidance of Ambassador Philippe J. Lhuillier and through the Embassy’s Cultural Section.

The highlight of the program were the webinars on Philippine languages, which collectively attracted several thousand views on Facebook and generated mainstream media coverage.

The webinar on “Philippine English in the Oxford English Dictionary” on 15 August featured Dr. Danica Salazar, editor for World English at the Oxford English Dictionary. The discussion highlighted the uniqueness of Philippine English, Filipino words that have entered the Oxford English Dictionary, and why Filipino words are gaining traction in the wider world. In particular, Dr. Salazar’s statement about the validity of Filipino English received significant exposure on Facebook as well as mainstream media coverage.

This event was followed on 23 August by a webinar on “The History and Future of Chabacano,” featuring Dr. Roberto Torres of Western Mindanao State University (for Zamboanga Chabacano) and Dr. Marivic Lesho of Ohio State University (for Cavite and Ternate Chabacano). The speakers discussed the origins of Chabacano as the only Spanish creole in Asia, and how it has continued to survive. The event attracted a sizable audience, particularly from Zamboanga and Cavite viewers, becoming one of the Embassy’s most-watched videos to date.

The final webinar was titled “Baybayin: Yaman ng Ating Lahi,” held on 5 September with special guests Ms. Citadel Cruz and Mr. Ricky Calipusan, Jr. as Baybayin artists and resource speakers. During the event, they spoke about how the ancient script of Baybayin is garnering more appreciation within modern Philippine culture for. The discussion was followed by an interactive workshop where viewers learned to write several words in the Baybayin script.

In addition to these livestreamed events, the Embassy wrote and published its “featured word” poster series throughout August, which consisted of brief animated clips and static image posters highlighting words of interest from several Filipino languages. Of these, two sub-series centered on pre-colonial Filipino words and loanwords that came from Castilian.

The Embassy also promoted the NCCA / Sentro Rizal singing competition “QuaranTinig: Patimpalak sa Pag-awit,” receiving and posting entries from fourteen Filipino contestants singing Filipino songs. Other online initiatives in the Embassy’s promotions during Buwan ng Wika included a virtual tour of historical places and museums in the Philippines (Ayala Museum, Yuchengco Museum, and Fort Santiago) and sharing Filipino language instruction videos by