Buwan Ng Wika Essay Tagalog

Isinulat ni Gideon Lasco noong Mayo 30, 2012 para sa okasyon ng Buwan ng Wika, 2012.

Sa unang tingin ay mamumukhaan na natin ang bawat isa, lalo na kung kapwa tayo naghihintay ng bus sa terminal. Lalong lalo na kung ang terminal na ito ay ang Victory Liner Terminal sa Baguio, na kapag linggo ng gabi ay parang kampo na natin — kulang na lang ay may magtirik ng tolda.

At syempre pa, sa suot pa lang: makukulay na damit kahit hindi naman Pasko, naglalakihang bag na may supot pang nakabalot, dog tag kahit di naman sundalo, tungkod kahit hindi naman pilay…at iba pang kakaibang gamit. Mabuti na nga lang at sanay na ang mga mamang guard ng LRT at MRT sa atin, kung hindi, isang bangungot ang aabutin sa mga estasyon ng tren tuwing Sabado ng umaga sa paghahalungkat ng ating mga bitbitin.

Madaling makita ang isang mamumundok, kung ang pagbabasihan ay itsura. Ang tanong: Ano nga bang ang kahulugan ng pagiging isang mamumundok?

Ito’y mahirap na tanong. (Sabay lingon muna sa tanawin upang mag-isip — ako’y nakasakay sa isang tren dito sa Japan habang sinusulat ko ang sanaysay na ito)

Siguro, umpisahan natin sa pinakamadali: Syempre, pag sinabing mamumundok, mahilig umakyat sa bundok. Maraming taong umaakyat sa bundok – gaya ng mga katutubo na umaakyat upang maghanap-buhay, o mga rebelde na umaakyat ng bundok upang maghimagsik. Ngunit tayo ay umaakyat ng bundok dahil tayo ay may ‘hilig’ sa pag-akyat. Anumang magagara o astig na pananalita sa wikang Ingles o maski na Latin ay iyon lamang ang kahulugan ng mga ito sa madaling salita.

Natural, marami pang ibang dahilin ang bawat tao kaya umaakyat — ang iba, para abangan ang pagsikat ng araw; ang iba naman, para magkaroon ng magandang larawan sa Facebook. May iba rin na para makamit ang iba’t ibang uri ng ‘high’ (at huwag na natin itong halungkatin) at may iba naman na hindi parin alam kung bakit nga ba sila umaakyat, alam lang nilang gustong gusto nila ito.

Marami nga talagang dahilan sa pag-akyat; maraming dahilan sa kagustuhang umakyat. Ngunit, sapat na ba ito upang ilarawan kung ano ang ginagawa natin? Oo, ito ay unang ugat ng lakas at gana na umakyat. Pero kailangan nating maghanap ng iba pang pagbabasihan upang mas malinaw nating maibahagi kung ano ba talaga ang isang mamumundok o ‘mountaineer’.

Sa aking pananaw, “Respeto” ang buod ng diwa ng pagiging isang mamumundok. Kung hindi man, ito ay aking nais.

Una, respeto sa sarili. Pag sinabing respeto sa sarili, ito ay pagpapahalaga sa dangal ng ating pagkatao at kaligtasan ng ating katawan. Ito ay ang pag-iwas sa anumang bagay na makaka-kompromiso sa dangal na ito (kagaya ng pagiging makalat sa bundok, o pagiging mapanira sa kapwa), at patuloy ng pagtuklas kung paano makakasiguro na ligtas at responsable ay ating gagawing pag-akyat. Kasama na dito ang pagsasailalim sa gabay ng mas nakakaalam ng mamumundok kung paano ba maging ligtas, kung paano hindi makasira sa kalikasan, at kung paano palakawin ang karanasan upang makarating sa mas mataas, mas mahirap, o mas malayong mga bundok.

Pangalawa, respeto sa kalikawan. Para sa akin, ang marka ng isang mountaineer ay hindi lamang ang pagmamahal sa pamumundok, bagkos, pati ang pagmamahal sa mga bundok.Ang dalawang pagmamahal na iyon ay isang tambalan: kung mahal mo ang isang bagay o tao, ito’y palagi mong dadalawin.

Pangatlo, at panghuli, respeto sa kapwa. Mahalagang magkaroon ng kaalaman tungkol sa bundok — anong gagawin kapag nawala ka, paano hindi mawala, paano mag-impake ng maayos, at iba pa. Ngunit may mas “basic” pa sa “basic mountaineering course” at ito ay pag-respeto sa kapwa. Huwag tayong maging marahas sa paghuhugsa ng iba. Tandaan natin na ang pag-akyat sa bundok ay. Iba’t iba ang estilo. Kanya-kaniyang trip yan. May mga mamumundok na nagmamadali sa pag-akyat, akala mong may kandila sa puwet. May iba naman na mabagal pa sa suso ang pag-akyat. May ibang mamumundok na akala mo’y magtatayo ng restaurant sa bundok, kulang na lang ay magdala ng pandikdik ng bawang. Meron namang meals-ready-to-eat o MRE lang ang dala. Ang mga bagay na ito ay hindi na dapat pang pag-initan ng tingin o pag-tuunan ng pansin, sapagkat kaya nga mayroon tayong tinatawag na ‘kalayaan ng kalikasan’ ay dahil tayong nagbibigay laya sa bawat isa, at nagbibigay laya rin sa kalikasan.

Kapag taglay natin ang tatlong pag-respeto na ito, na kaakibat ang pagmamahal sa mga bundok at pagmamahal sa pamumundok, taas-noo at buong-puso nating madadala ang bandila ng pagiging ‘mountaineer’. At kung sa tingin natin ay nagampanan na natin ito, panahon naman upang ibahagi ang ating karanasan at karunungan sa ibang tao. Sa gayon, tayong magiging isang ganap na komunidad ng mga mamumundok na may iisang layon at iisang boses. Ang boses na ito ay maaari nating magamit upang udyukin ang gobyerno na mas ingatan pa ang ating kalikasan at upang anyayahan ang ibang tao – Pinoy o dayuhan man – na maranasan din ang pag-akyat sa ating magagadang kabundukan.

Tulad ng mga bundok na hindi natitinag, tayo’y manatili sa pagiging totoo at may respeto sa ating sarili, sa kalikasan, at sa kapwa.

Sa pangwakas, nais kong ibahagi ang aking pasasalamat sa lahat ng aking kapwa mamumundok na naging bahagi ng aking mga karanasan sa pag-akyat at pag-hikayat (sa pamamagitan ng aking website), sa madaling salita, naging bahagi narin ang aking buhay. Salamat sa inyong oras, payo, suporta, pakikisama at pagsubaybay. Kayo’y inspirasyon ko upang magpatuloy. Bagamat ang ating mga hakbang ay maliliit lamang, kung tayo’t patuloy lang nang patuloy, siguro ay malayo rin ang ating mararating.

Mabuhay ang mga mamumundok! Alam kong tayo’y magkikita-kita muli. Ako’y umaasa na marami pang tagumpay at masasayang karanasan ay ating dadatnan. Kailan ang susunod na akyat?

Gideon Lasco
Inumpisan sa Aomori, Japan at tinapos sa Iloilo City.
May-July, 2012

 

ADDENDUM: The original Manila Bulletin article has been taken down but a copy of the article exists here and here.  This is also Google’s cache of the piece. Further, I have decided to also repost the article at the end of this post.

James Soriano is being criticized in the social media for his article in Manila Bulletin about his perception regarding the national language. James wrote about how the English language is his primary language, about how it is the language of the learned, the language of the classroom and laboratories, the language of the courtroom, boardroom, operating room etc. and how the Filipino language is the language of the streets, that even with the capacity for learning it is not the language of the learned.

Much of what he said about the Filipino language as he perceived it growing up hurts. It cuts a hole deep in our nationalistic hearts and really wounds our pride as a nation. For that he has been criticized, but I believe it is criticism he can be proud of because he has exposed the truth and indeed the truth hurts and can be hard to swallow.

As much as he has been criticized over and over for his untimely article during the Buwan ng Wika – my UP group and Twitter timeline criticizes his article – I beg to differ with their opinion.

Like him, I must say that I grew up with the English language. Although my household spoke Filipino primarily, I was taught how to read in English. Back at school, we were taught in English. Filipino indeed was a special subject of itself, which we all grew to loathe. It was a chore learning of the pandiwa, parirala, pangungusap etc. etc. We had clubs promoting English as not just a way of language but a way of thinking. During break times, people who spoke in Tagalog or the vernacular would be fined for every word spoken. English was promoted and glorified when we were in primary school. And thus I learned to speak, think, even dream, in English.

Of course I knew the vernacular, I could speak Tagalog and Bicol (my dialect) fluently though sadly not as fluent as English. When I was mad, I expressed myself in English. When I discovered my flair for writing, it was in English. I became more comfortable expressing myself in English.

Yes, the Filipino language is beautiful. Growing up and being exposed equally to Filipino literary works made me appreciate the language even more. But I cannot deny that it was English I was comfortable with.

In college, I had to take a subject in Filipino out of desperation. I needed Philippine units to graduate and the course about Philippine culture I wanted were all full. It was the course on Filipino language that was severely lacking in takers. I had no choice but to take it lest I do not graduate. I faced the subject with trepidation. I viewed it as a course wherein I wouldn’t really learn anything but merely enter the class for the sake of attendance.

But I was wrong. In the subject, I learned about the Filipino identity as defined by the Filipino language. I learned that much of the progress our nation lacks now is tied up with the lack of identity we have as a nation primarily because of our adaptation of a culture and a language that is not entirely ours. I learned that to fully solve the problems of our society, we would need to embrace our Filipino language entirely because it would connect to our sense of identity.

However, it cannot be denied that English has indeed become the language of the learned in the country. This is said in the paradigm that our courtrooms, our hospitals, even our government institutions uses English. I posted earlier this year about an incident wherein our municipality released a census survey written in English. And they expected the constituents to fill it out entirely! How can the greater population do so then if they are not taught about English?

And so I agree with James Soriano when he said that:

For while Filipino may be the language of identity, it is the language of the streets. It might have the capacity to be the language of learning, but it is not the language of the learned.

It is neither the language of the classroom and the laboratory, nor the language of the boardroom, the court room, or the operating room. It is not the language of privilege.

For me, his article is a timely article during this month of the Buwan ng Wika. For more than insulting the national language, he has actually exposed the reality of the state of our language now. We are hypocrites trying to glorify the Filipino language in a month when in reality, the way we speak and conduct ourselves is in English.

How many interviews have you attended wherein the language used was English? How many presentations have you made wherein you presented in English? How many forms – even official public forms – have you filled out wherein everything was written in English? What medium is now used in our educational institutions to teach lessons in Science and Math? How many families do you know whose kids learn to speak English first before learning to speak Filipino? How many commercial establishments have you entered where they greet their customers in English instead of Filipino?

I gave credit to our President for delivering his recent SONA in Filipino. I wonder then why all previous presidents delivered theirs in English when delivering one in Filipino is possible and just as effective – if not more so? Is it really because English is the language of the learned?

To all of James’ critics, I say that before actually criticizing the guy who was honest enough to admit who he is, why don’t we examine first what is really happening in our society, as he said, of rotten beef and stinking fish. Maybe we will see that what he said is really something worth pondering about, that it is the reality engulfing us, and that perhaps we are just too full of pride to admit that indeed he is right.

Continue reading “The Language that is Filipino”

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