Buwan ng Wika With Nikki Garcia
Social Media has gifted me so many great friends, I will always be grateful for that. Nikki Garcia is a saucy witty mom you want in your barkada. My sons recently celebrated Buwan ng Wika (Month of Language) and I was sort of oblivious to the practice but noticed Nikki sharing adorable photos of her two girls during the month. From her photos and anecdotes I learned much about Buwan ng Wika and thought she would be the perfect teacher to school us on the yearly practice.
Here’s the truth; I am a Filipino, yet Tagalog is hardly my second language. While raised abroad, it was never my priority to learn Tagalog, and even when we moved back home to the Philippines in my teen years, I still never felt like I needed to immerse myself in our country’s language.
Today though, I struggle as a mother raising my children in the Philippines; not being fully equipped with the tools I need to communicate properly with others. My broken, bulol Tagalog still doesn’t cut it. I am a Filipino after all, yet I failed to fully integrate myself in our country during my younger years.
Here’s another fact: When we speak Filipino at home, our kids giggle. They laugh because they think we are kidding. “What? I do not understand you.” or “He he he. You sound silly.” Oddly enough, all my children were born in the Philippines, and like other young citizens the elements of our culture remain alien to them. Why, with television shows, infamous YouTube clips (don’t even get me started on the trashy toy reviews), radio hits and lessons in school, all being taught in English, it is no mystery why most students are being tutored for Filipino subjects more than math!
Shucks, common! - Ipagdiwang natin ang wikang Pilipino!
(Let us celebrate our Filipino language)
Once upon a time, Buwan ng Wika was just “Linggo ng Wika”; a week long celebration of our country and its rich abundance in language. But in 1997, President Fidel Ramos thought, “Teka lang; parang bitin ata to…” then declared the entire month of August as a time to dedicated lessons to our country; a month to revive nationalism and love for our language.
the baro't saya is the national dress of the Philippines
For as long as I can remember - Filipinos clamour with excitement about all things imported or “galing abroad”- toys, shoes, music, clothing and, homaygash, the food!!
Buwan ng Wika was created to remind students that our heritage is something to be celebrated. Our rich traditions, games, songs, dances and language are also fun and exciting. During this month, more subjects are taught in Filipino. School campuses are decorated in traditional Filipino decorations and iconic symbols are displayed serving as a reminder of the unique things surrounding us, we often take for granted.
On the last day of August, we close the Month of Language with a school pista, “Araw ng Wika”, where children are encouraged to come to school for salu salo, dressed in traditional Filipino costumes; a Barong Tagalog, baro’t saya, terno, magsasaka, Muslim, maria clara and Igorot costumes are some popular ones, to celebrate with a potluck which serves delicious traditional Filipino fare; like pancit, pichi pichi, puto, gulaman, halo-halo. It is a big party, highly anticipated by all; children sing songs, rediscover Filipino delicacies, play Pinoy games and perform traditional dances… A day of culture and old traditions for our youth, in hopes they keep this memorable celebration and take it with them throughout the year and continue to be proud Filipinos!
This yearly tradition also serves as a reminder for me, a mother who has chosen to raise her children in the Philippines to recognise and appreciate the richness in our culture through their eyes. How awesome is it to be Filipino? Pinoy ako. Ako ay Pilipino. Today, no wait, everyday, I will choose to celebrate this language!
Amber here. Nikki, maraming salamat for your insight and knowledge, we are better for it!
my little Pinoy boy, Ozzie, during his Buwan ng Wika