By Deneb R. Batucan and Patricia May P. Catan
AS WE celebrate Buwan ng Wika this month, it is high time we learn to embrace our very own language and do everything we can to preserve it for the next generations to come. It is only apt that we make use of our mother tongue and be loud and proud about it because our language serves as our identity as a people. SunStar Weekend asks loyal Cebuano-speaking advocates if it’s a good idea for Cebuano to be part of the school curriculum.
Frontman of the Bisaya band Missing Filemon
“Yes, it’s a good idea. We in the music and literacy scene in Cebu have been very passionate about the Cebuano language all these years. Sometimes we think the government is not on our side in this advocacy. But with mother tongue in the curriculum now, I think the government is finally doing its part. I have a grade one who is now learning to read Cebuano, and that’s cool.”
“Cebuano is a language that we should preserve and instill to our kids, who are now more exposed to various media channels that do not speak our native tongue. As a parent, it concerns me that my kid uses words such as humongous but does not understand what ‘daku’ means. As a marketer, I find it appalling that a lot of Cebuanos do not know the difference between ‘ug’ and ‘og.’ Thus, it would be good if Cebuano will be taught in school, but it should be done with passion and conviction so students can appreciate the beauty of our language.”
“A Cebuano course should be part of the curriculum. Opinion ni nako ha, ang uban dili gusto kay mahal ang tuition fee or daghan ra kuno kaayo’g minor subjects. But this is as important as Philippine history. This language is widely and naturally spoken in the Philippines. Tagalog is the national language by government decree (man-made declaration), but Cebuano-Visayan is by historical choice even before the Spanish occupation. Sa Cebu Normal University, gitudlu-an mi og Bisaya, Spanish, Filipino ug English, and so far, okay kaayo ang effect.”
“Having grown in a culture that penalizes the use of Cebuano, I’d say yes, we need to make up for years and years of remiss by learning the language in school. We owe it to ourselves to preserve our identity as Cebuanos and to hand it over as a legacy to our children. We need to sing our own songs once again, to dream in our language and weave new strands of stories that are distinctly Bisaya.”