Our nation may still be battling the Covid-19 pandemic, but it doesn’t hamper the Beacon spirit. Thus, the College Department of Batangas Eastern Colleges espouses the Filipino-centric point of view in commemoration of the Philippine National Language Month or the “Buwan ng Wika” for this academic year of 2021-2022.
The College Faculty, together with the 2nd-year and 3rd-year College students taking up the Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Filipino spent the afternoon of August 31, 2021 through a meaningful virtual program. It focused on the importance of cultivating our cultural heritage – the Wikang Katutubo at Panitikan, as aligned with this year’s theme “Filipino at mga Katutubong Wika sa Dekolonisasyon ng Pag-iisip ng mga Pilipino” of the Commission on Filipino Language.
According to Ma’am Renalyn Almario, Ph.D (the Dean of Colleges), the theme for the event was indeed most appropriate. She strongly affirmed and hope that the program will pave way for renewed mindset, not only in time for the occasion, but also to continuously develop our love for our culture, our identity of being a Filipino or “sariling pagkakakilanlan”, and our national language, the Filipino, “ang wikang gabay natin sa kinabukasan”.
With the envisioned goal of encouraging and promoting our passion to flourish our Filipino language, the College faculty has drawn the maximum virtual involvement through organizing a couple of webinars.
The first speaker who was invited to share his knowledge and experience was Mr. Jerson Q. Orbiso, DepEd TV Teacher-Broadcaster and Senior High School Teacher III at the Puerto Princesa City National High School. At the very beginning of his talk, he quoted Virgilio S. Almario (a well-known Filipino artist, author, critic, translator, and cultural manager) :
Ang wika ang una at pangunahing pamanang pang-kultura ng sangkatauhan. Ito ang nagbibigay artikulasyon sa ating nakaraan, sa ating kasaysayan ng mga tagumpay at pagkabigo; Nasa wika ang yaman ng ating nakaraan na hitik sa katutubong karunungan.
His talk revolved around the importance of Wikang Katutubo, and the relevance of cultivating not only our language but also our cultural heritage. He also discussed the effects of the colonization that has transpired before, resulting in its’ influence on our Filipino language. As such, he put emphasis on the two effects: (1) Convergence, the intent of fully embracing the foreign culture due to the desire of being in equal standing; (2) Divergence, a biased or subjective appreciation for one’s own culture and with a sense of being proud of your individualism or the identity of the conquered in front of the conquering or ruling entity.
Furthermore, he discussed how the language changed throughout the years, why the language has to go through standardization and the implications of native languages or “Wikang Katutubo” in teaching. He also shared valuable insights on whether the culture is indeed reflected in our Filipino language.
For the second part of the program, and with the intent of delving into a deeper understanding of the “Wikang Katutubo”, the webinar speaker invited to also share invaluable knowledge was Dr. Efsica A. Maranan. She is a professor of the College of Education Department and the Program Head for the academic programs of Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSEED), Bachelor of Culture and Arts Education (BCAED), and Bachelor of Physical Education (BPED) at the University of Batangas.
Through her presentation, she shared the importance of keeping our Filipino language or “Wikang Katutubo” alive. She also put emphasis on the possibility of the disappearance of our language; thus encouraging the daily use of our “Wikang Katutubo” arise with much ardent purpose.
Kung ang wika ay unti-unting hindi na gagamitin or wala nang susunod na gagamit dahil hindi napapalaganap, sa makatuwid ito ay unti-unting mamamatay. At doon po ako naniniwala na ang wika kapag hindi ginamit ay maaaring mamatay. Ang wika ay dapat paunlarin, linangin, at dapat gamitin sa araw-araw kasi kung hindi natin gagamitin yan, maaari po itong mawala.
She also discussed the difference of the terms “diyalekto” and “Wikang Katutubo that later on proceed to introducing an in-depth presentation about the languages used for every region of our country. Coinciding with it, she also shared the relevance of our literature mirroring our country’s culture wherein she quoted Zeus Salazar, “Ang panitikan gaya ng wika ay hindi lamang lundayan at tagapagpahalaga ng ating kultura kundi ito ay kuhanan-umpukan ng alimang kultura“. Dr. Efsica also noted that “Mayaman sa panitikan ang bansang Pilipinas, dito nakaimbak ang yaman ng lahing Pilipino na unti-unti nating binubuksan at pinahahalagahan“. And at the end of her talk, she left an affirmation that the “Wikang Katutubo” has a power to reveal the wisdom and convey culture even from the past up to the present times.
The virtual event was concluded with the closing remarks given by Atty. Pio Calingasan, Assistant Dean of Colleges. The webinar speakers invited to the said virtual event were presented by Ma’am Geraldine Agustin, the College Academic Coordinator and Ma’am Andrea Dimaculangan, Chairperson for the College of Education.