Friday, August 14, 2015

Buwan ng Wika: Being Filipino


      August has always been celebrated as a Buwan ng Wika since 1997 when President Fidel V. Ramos declared it to be a month-long celebration under Proclamation 1041. It used to be known as Linggo ng Wika which was set from 13th-19th August in 1955 by President Ramon Magsaysay under Proclamation 186 coinciding with the birthday of Manuel L. Quezon, the father of the National Language. Buwan ng Wika, is celebrated in most schools all over the Philippines by displaying different Filipino costumes, singing Filipino songs like the harana (serenade), organizing programs that demonstrate balagtasan, sabayang pagbigkas (speech choir), malikhaing pagbasa, and comical skits, and running contests in essay writing and poster making using the Filipino language. This yearly celebration of the Buwan ng Wika is a very important event that reminds us of our being a Filipino. What does that mean for us?

We know from history that we have been colonized for over 300 years by the Spaniards and after that the Japanese and then the Americans. Much of our culture and language have seen their influence. During the Spanish colonization, there were more negative impacts on the attitudes and behaviors of the Filipinos as observed by Jose Rizal at that time. The Spaniards’ influences caused more division than unity among Filipinos which is why he wrote his Noli Mi Tangere. I can not forget how he depicted Dona Victorina de Espadana in this novel. A funny woman with obviously a great deal of pretentions and feigned sophistication. And no matter how hard she tried to hide behind her superficial appearance, it does not erase the fact that she is a Filipino. 

The coming of the Americans further influenced Filipinos in terms of education, the way we eat, follow the American culture and most of all, to choose American products. We still see these kinds of people in our society.  

The influence of different foreign cultures  have permeated the Filipino culture brought about by globalization. Most Filipino youths and even adults are now shaped by the contemporary changes in our society. Our behaviors, attitudes, values, traditions, lifestyles and even principles have changed through the years but keeping in touch with our own identity as Filipinos is something we should be proud of amidst a changing world.  We are Filipinos and who we are is what makes us different.  

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