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They Don't Speak Spanish in the Philippines?

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Panorama of Manila. Photo by joiz on Flickr, used under the Creative Commons license Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0).

The Philippines, a Southeast Asian archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, is like Latin American countries a former colony in the Spanish Empire. The Philippines was under Spanish rule for three centuries, in fact, belonging specifically to the Kingdom of New Spain. During this time, the dominant language of the colonial government in the islands was Spanish, only to be replaced by English, after the Spanish-American War, when Spain ceded control of the islands to the United States for $20 million.

Throughout the 20th century, the use of Spanish declined, particularly after the destruction of the Spanish stronghold in the Battle of Manila. The country's subsequent modernization and World War II left English the nation's most common language.

In 1946, the Philippines gained independence from the United States, but it retained English as one of its two official languages, Filipino being the other. Currently, Filipinos have English or one of the local languages as their mother tongue. It is estimated that less than 1% of the current Filipino population speaks Spanish. 

In 2008, Gaspar Canela wrote in the Reino de Siam blog that the state of the Spanish language in the Philippines was actually much worse because, in his opinion, the Spanish never succeeded in replacing local languages: 

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Intramuros. Image by shankar s. on Flickr, used under the Creative Commons license Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

Muchos filipinos, los menos estudiados, hasta desconocen que estuvieron sometidos a un reino ibérico durante más de tres siglos. Los estadounidenses, tras expulsar a los españoles, trajeron a Filipinas barcos repletos de profesores de inglés. Tuvieron más éxito que los españoles en extender el uso de su idioma, pero tampoco todos en las islas dominan hoy día la lengua de Shakespeare.

Many Filipinos do not even acknowledge that they were subjects of an Iberian kingdom for more than three centuries. The Americans, after expelling the Spaniards, brought ships full of English-language professors to the Philippines. They had more success than the Spaniards in extending the use of their language, but still not everywhere on the islands does the language of Shakespeare reign. 

Nonetheless, Spanish did not disappear from everything. Traces of the Spanish language are present in the surnames of many Filipinos, in the names of cities and historic sites, as well as on the country's streets and plazas. Moreover, classic Philippine literature was written entirely in Spanish, even during much of the twentieth century. Among the many works of classic Spanish Philippine literature is Noli me tangere, by writer José Rizal, who, scholar say, played a significant role in the consolidation of Filipino nationalism

Rizal, now considered a national Filipino hero, was executed on December 30, 1896, on charges of sedition by the Spanish authorities. The night prior to his execution, he wrote a poem titled “My Last Farewell”, which describes his love for the Philippines. YouTube user Hispanic Filipino uploaded a video where he recites the poem: 

But is Spanish a dead language in the Philippines? Hardly. Spanish remains strongly rooted in the islands, even though it's difficult to notice at first. Guillermo Gomez Rivera, director of the Manila weekly Nueva Era, is optimistic about the future of the language in the Philippines and shares his opinion on web blog, Filipinas Única where he states that Spanish is very easy for any Filipino who speaks Tagalog, Visayan, and Ilokano:

El español es bien fácil para cualquier filipino que hable tagalo, bisaya, bicolano e ilocano porque en estas lenguas indígenas están incrustadas miles de hispanismos. En estos idiomas indígenas todas las prendas que se llevan en el cuerpo se llaman en español: sombrero, camiseta, cinturón […] Todos los muebles y enseres que se encuentran dentro del hogar se llaman en español: cocina, cuarto, sala […] Todo lo que es infraestructura de urbanización se llama en español: […] esquinita, avenida, plaza…

Spanish is very easy for any Filipino who speaks Tagalog, Visayan, and Ilokano because thousands of hispanisms are embedded in these indigenous languages. In these indigenous languages, all articles of clothing are referred to in Spanish: sombrero (hat), camiseta (shirt), cinturón (belt) […] All furniture and appliances that are found in the home are referred to in Spanish: cocina (kitchen), cuarto (room), sala (living room) […] All urbanization infrastructure is called in Spanish: […] esquinita (corner), avenida (avenue), plaza (square)… 

Internet user Neptuno Azul demonstrates this principle with Eloidoro Ballesteros's poetry, written in Chavacano, a creole language derived from Spanish and various local languages: 

Recently, there are signs that interest in Spanish might be rising, thanks to efforts by the Cervantes Institute and other Spanish and Philippine institutions, as well as people who want to rescue the legacy of the Philippine language. These groups even got some official support from the former government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who started the partial reinstatement of Spanish in secondary education in 2009. Outside schools, the business community's interest in Spanish is also rebounding.

One useful demonstration of Spanish as a living language in the Philippines is this YouTube video, titled “Teaching Spanish in the Philippines”, where several Filipino students show what they've learned in school.

Post originally published in Globalizado blog.
  • Ur Septim

    I was about to enter high school when the Dept. of Education decided to drop Spanish as one of the language curriculum. I was relieved and joyful. One reason why I felt that way was the tale of oppressions from the Spaniards during the colonization that were embedded in almost every book I read in school. These views were further confirmed during college and beyond. In a nutshell what I learned in school: Spaniards were only interested in subjugating people and expanding their territory. They build forts to protect what they occupy and spread religion to indoctrinate natives so they can further their influence. I hope in the future their remnants would be completely erased.

    • wally

      Brainwash alert…
      Too bad about your “schools”….

      • Ur Septim

        Too bad for Spanish language in the Philippines. I am but a little speck of people who thinks Spanish language has no place in the Philippines. We better off embracing English since it can be used anywhere in the world. Oh look I am using English over the internet to argue with you. Check my sarcasm, amigo.

        • Vectorius

          Of course, it can be used any where in the world because the two greatest empires, the British and the Americans, were the masters of military expansionism and excelled in conquering non-European peoples like Indians, Malays, Aborigines, Maori, and scores of other Barbarian tribes like Julius Caesar had done before.

        • Readingcomprehensionperson

          Too bad you don’t know about the war between the Philippines and the US. Tens of thousands of Philippinos died in that conflict succeeding the Spanish American war. All colonizing countries were guilty of harsh acts–not just the Spanish. Look at the Belgians, French, British, etc.

          You’re still using a colonist language, English. It’s just that English is more useful internationally than Spanish. Replacing one for another.

          • Ur Septim

            Err, I know too well what happened during the war of insurrections (Philippine-American war). But let me ask you this, would Spain cede independence to the Filipinos if Spanish-American war hadn’t happened? The fact that instead of giving the Filipinos their independence, Spain sold the country to America. Talk about sour grape, eh? No one should marginalized or forget the sacrificed of those who suffered and perish during the war. I would imagine, that part of that sacrifice were in some way had a contributing factor in gaining our independence due to the media publicity in States of what happened in the Philippines. Even Mark Twain wrote about it in the paper.

          • Joe

            Then you will know that a lot of your people were killed trying to have freedom from the United States you love so much from being treated as a colony like they were. Look at Puerto Rico more than hundred years territory and they still embrace and speak Spanish. As if you were so American… Not!

          • RyanF1

            Apparently your knowledge of the war of insurrections is only matched by your lack of knowledge of the Spanish-American War.

            Spain was in no position to give Filipinos their Independence. Aguinaldo and his gang had not won their war of insurrection just yet by the time Spain and America started hostilities. The Katipunan’s actions were limited to Luzon anyway. What about the rest of the archipelago? Wala pa. Nunca mas. Talo pa. No tienen la victoria. Had the Spanish-American War “never happened”, then Las Islas Felipinas would have had to do it the hard way, like Mexico did.

            Side Note: Present evidence suggests this country and this people as a whole can’t organize anything more complex than a Barangay Fiesta with Basketball Matches to cap it, let alone a nationwide War for Independence.

            But as the facts stand, as far as Spain was concerned, she was still in-charge. She lost to America, so she ceded her two territories. That’s not sour graping that’s just geopolitics. And if America had not taken over, there were the British, French, Germans, and other countries just waiting in the wings. Had Dewey’s fleet not sailed into Manila Bay, it would have been other navies that would have forced themselves into the situation.

            We better off embracing English since it can be used anywhere in the world.

            LOL and so can Spanish. Español is spoken by 6.15% of the world’s population, Ingles less than that at 5.43%. It’s Mandarin that outnumbers both with 14.4% speaking Intsik. Furthermore, within this century, fully half the population of the United States will be Spanish-speakers thanks to migration. What little Spanish I learned in Manila, was greatly enhanced — in America!

            Pretty handy too because until ABC and ESPN picked-up the World Cup in 2008, you couldn’t help but tune into Telemundo or another Spanish channel to get your Futbol fix in the years prior. France ’98, Korea-Japan ’04, both watched with Spanish Commentary. Goooooooollassssooo! So think again when you say things like, “English is more useful than Spanish.”

          • Master of Unlocking

            Ur Septim talking about the Spanish as if they were the greatest evil in Philippine history is just silly, but your blatant Filipino-bashing is maximum-level stupidity and reeks of butthurt and saltiness.

            Judging by your comment history, you’re a poor (FOB) who, unable to succeed in the Philippines, moved to the US and then, once there, started looking down on his own countrymen. I know your type.

            If I didn’t know better, I’d say Ur Septim was just trolling with silly remarks to get all the hateful morons like you all ruffled up, and it seems to have worked.

          • RyanF1

            “Poor FOB”? Does my grammar reflect that? Based on decades of observation, FOB or not, Pinoys of that demographic retain their marginal command of English whether in the Philippines or elsewhere. Even all the so-called “training” they get at the Call Centers betray their identity over the phone – every single time I call Customer Service.

            And I didn’t come-up with that Barangay Basketball inference, I just co-opted that because it’s the Truth!

            When I left the Philippines, the rolling black-outs of Cory’s tenure was a recent memory, Fort Bonifacio was about to get sold to the private sector, ostensibly to obtain funds to “modernize” the AFP, and there was just one light rail line.

            I come back to visit and what do I get? The Rolling Blackouts are back, there’s traffic jams at the Fort but the AFP hasn’t been modernized, and you have three decrepit light rail lines stealing rail stock from each other! Tell me, does that look like a country that has a firm grasp of Organizacion y Competencia?

          • Juan

            Apparently, the british, french, belgians, etc did not colonize the philippines (with exception of the brief 2 year rule of the british) so those countries should be none of your biz. Youre going off topic bro

        • Joe

          Not everyone speaks English or care to use English. If you cannot speak anotehr language obviously you must not be so smart. If you are a Filipino why are you calling yourself Filipino and not Phillipian? You probably have a Spanish last name and you should probably change that too! The only thing you do is embrace ignorance and you won’t have a great life for being dumb.

          • Xanena Oliveiras

            We should learn English no matter what. Spanish would have been the best partner for English, instead of Tagalog.

          • Ur Septim

            Sorry to disappoint you but I know several dialects. My surname is not a Spanish name. I am of Dumagat tribe descent. And one who aren’t quick to judge just because opinion differs with another. But you maybe right, I am probably dumb and ignorant. But then again, people who attack the people’s opinion and can’t convey or forward their argument are always the dumb and ignorant.

          • So you know several dialects. Several dialects of what language?

          • Ur Septim

            Makasau ken makataru sak ti Ilokano ken Bisaya. Sika ngay.

          • Tangatamoa

            That is not a dialect. Bisaya is a language just like the other 181 languages of the Philippines. Ilocano is a North Philippine language and is related to the languages like Ibanag and the languages of the Cordilleras. Bisaya is a Central Philippine language and is related to Bicolano of which it forms a dialect continuum and languages like Tausūg or Tagalog which are also Central Philippine languages. Denying the fact that there are hundreds of languages in the Philippines means denying the diversity and various cultures that comprise it.

          • Useless.

          • Ur Septim

            Langu langu ka doy.

        • Lawrence Deligero

          Tu no saben que mas personas en del mundo hablamos Espanol contra Ingles.

    • Vectorius

      I’m so glad that the Americans did not oppress the nations it conquered and that they did not have any interest in expanding their territory and spreading their influence. Wait what…

    • starlightshimmers

      I’m Filipino. I can speak Spanish, English and Filipino. Filipinos were brainwashed into believing that the Spanish language is an evil language or it is a useless language and this is false. The Spanish language is spoken by over 500 million people in America, Africa and Europe. About 90% of Filipino history is written in the Spanish language.

      The ignorance and irrational hatred of the Filipinos towards the Spanish language is reflected in the poor condition of Filipino culture. Look at the heritage sites in the Philippines, all of which were built in the Spanish colonial period, they are all destroyed, in ruins or turned into homeless districts. Most Filipinos know nothing about classical Filipino literature, which are written in Spanish.

      Filipinos can not tell the difference between colonial mentality and heritage preservation. Colonial mentality is when you believe foreigners are superior. Heritage preservation is preserving the memories and experiences of your ancestors. The Spanish language is part of Filipino heritage whether Filipinos like it or not, much of our history and classical literature was written in Spanish, to simply ignore it is to reject our very own heritage.

      The Muslim Filipinos resisted Spanish influence as that is because they were independent, they weren’t even considered Filipinos, they had their own country (the Sultanate of Sulu) which had contracts with British Malaysia. Muslim Filipinos were not Filipinos and were never part of the Philippines for nearly 333 years. The Muslims controlled areas were annexed into the Philippines by the USA in 1929. You cannot compare the heritage of a Muslim Filipino and a Christian Filipino as both had different histories.

    • Lalaine

      I have to agree with you. I hate that the Philippines was ever colonialized, we lost a significant part of our own identity to these colonializers forcing their own cultures on us. I wished that we never lost our connection to the culture of our ancestors before Spain or America came. Who knows how old Filipino society really were if going by the archaeological finds we have? If not for the ruination of the Filipino culture by foreign influences, we would probably be closer to Japan or China in terms of the age in civilization. Baybayin for example would have lived on if not for these foreign people’s influenced. We would have been closer to ourselves and not have that colonial mentality (crab mentality). Foreign influence, specially Spain, killed Filipino society.

      • Vectorius

        Colonization is a good thing. If England never colonized North America then there would be no great superpower, no internet, no Coca-Cola, no facebook, etc. Keep in mind that Japan and China have both been colonized numerous times before.

        • starlightshimmers

          People like Lalaine are the reason why Filipinos today are completely ignorant of their own history and culture.

        • Joe

          Not necessarily true. Those inventions may just had happened in England, France, Italy, Germany or another country. You have to remember a lot of those people that invented are ancestors from a European country.

      • starlightshimmers

        The Philippines did not exist before the Spanish colonisation. The Philippines was created because of Spanish colonisation. Before the Spanish colonisation, islands consisted of the Rajahnate of Cebu, the Rajahnate of Manila, the Kingdom of Lake Maranao, the Sultanate of Sulu, etc. It was all different tribes with different languages and religions. There was no such thing as Filipino. The Spanish conquered all the tribes and united them under one, the Philippines.

        You clearly know nothing about Filipino culture or history.

      • jeremy

        I very sincerely doubt it.

      • Prokopyo

        You can never call yourself a Filipino if the Spanish Empire never came to our Islands.

      • geekguy

        English does not belong to U.K and USA..anymore..its just like saying you love doing yoga and you want to act like from India..due to Yoga does not belong only to India anymore..besides English and Spanish are official U.N world language then why not make them optional languages to study in school as well other important language like Chinese..we know that language reflects culture..but Hispanic and Anglo culture don’t fit Filipino identity..get a life Filipinos your southeast Asian that’s it..you had influence from western as well as India,Arabia and China.. But in the end you have unique identity as Filipino..your heritages are the rice terraces and others when you are free and not slaves of colonization

    • MnlaBoy

      But they also built Universities, Hospitals, orphanages, etc.
      Universidad de Santo Tomas, Ateneo de Manila, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Hospicio de San Jose – all those were built by the Spanish.

      It’s impossible for a colony hinged on Catholicism not to have a hint on goodness in it.

      • Ur Septim

        That was the Catholic Church which was independent from Spanish monarch at that time, and until now.

        • MnlaBoy

          LOL. Not really. The Spanish was the 16th century version of a Catholic Taliban. The Church was the State. Spanish monarchs were called the Catholic Monarchs (Reyes Catolicos) aka the Military/Imperial Arm of the Vatican.

          • Ur Septim

            Wait wait, you mean the Church were some kind of terrorist since you compare them to Taliban? I LOL at your comparison.

          • Whors

            I think the point is the Church was the State.

          • RyanF1

            Church-as-State was completely normal in the centuries before the American Revolution. Until England’s Colonies revolted, the idea of Separation of Church and State was not a law in most European Countries or their possessions.
            PS: Said “Church” need not be “Catholic” either to run-as-state in that regard. The whole reason there was the Reyes Catolicos in Spain was to counter-act the Reyes Protestantes of, say, Northern Europe where the Reformation took hold (e.g. Germany/Prussia, Switzerland, Scandanavia, the Netherlands).

          • Whors

            Yes, I agree with you. Ur Septim was insisting on the separation. I was countering that.

          • RyanF1

            Bad Analogy. The Taliban seized power from a communist-established puppet secular government. The Church was in power with state-like powers in the 16th Century because only the Church was the glue that held European society together since the Medieval Periods through the so-called Dark Ages. The Renaissance did not happen on its own, but was the fruit of the learning and efforts of many Church-Educated statesmen and artists.

          • Joe

            You sound very uneducated! Go back to school! Besides they didn’t massacre many of your people as the Americans did as your last big rulers who ruled you guys with your tails stuck between your legs.

    • Calma amigo

      i think you are a muslim

    • Calma amigo

      i think you are a muslim

    • Calma amigo

      i think you are a muslim

    • Joe

      You kind of sound ignorant and retarded. You probably sleep in class warming up the seats for the next students to sit on. By the way Spanish is really useful as a second international language. Kind of messed up why a country would give up their culture with switching a language to another. Your school must really be a horrible school and I feel bad for the students that really want to learn.

    • Daniel Hidalgo

      You are just an ignorant and of course, a propaganda agent at the US service where you would be a second class citizen. Probably your knowledge of history dates back to Pocahontas movie and that´s all. Americans killed indians in their therritory until they nearly exterminated them. So it was easy to go to the Philippines to kill more than 1 million people, Filipinos were treated as trash by americans, entering villages and killing men over 12 years old.
      Thanks to Americans, Japan attacked the Philippines, as it was a war against the Americans. The Americans took the chance to turn into sand Manila with their Bombings. Manila and Warsaw were the two more destroyed cities of the world in the WWII.
      So probably any relative of you were killed by the americans.
      You can not compare the spanish with americans. Emilio Aguinaldo regreted to participate the uprising against the spanish, he said that americans treated filipinos like dogs. All this information can be checked in internet, but I doubt that you are interested in knowing the truth.

      • RyanF1

        Thanks to Americans, Japan attacked the Philippines, as it was a war against the Americans.

        And where were the “Americans” in Chinese Manchuria, Singapore, and the places we now call Malaysia and Indonesia? Where were they in Guadalcanal, or in the many other places which were not under American Control before the war?
        That’s right, nowhere! Because whether under “America” or not, the Philippines would have been invaded one way or the other because she was in the way of Imperial Japan’s drive toward the so-called Co-Prosperity Sphere.

        propaganda agent at the US service where you would be a second class citizen.

        If you want propaganda agents I suggest you look at the mirror. What exactly is an American second-class citizen? If they’re part of any US Service you can rest assured they’ll have the same rights and privileges as any native-born White or even Black American.

        You can not compare the spanish with americans.

        Of course not. The Spanish had 300 years to perfect their ways of Cultural Genocide, the Americans barely had 50 and was basically figuring things out by trial-and-error.
        While Americans might have treated Filipinos like dogs, the Spanish taught Filipinos to treat other Filipinos like dogs. That is revealed in the results of the Sistemas Haciendas y Encomenderos today, where Philippine Industry is dominated by Monopolies and Oligopolies.
        Where is Fair Competition and Rewards for Innovation? Nowhere, because that would be too American for the Philippines’ Capitanes de las Industrias. Everywhere you go, if you want the latest and greatest tech from the West, you have to go through one or more so-called Exclusive Importers and Distributors to get your wares. See how the Internet in the Philippines is supposedly 20 years old and yet e-commerce is still in Day One Status, still in its infancy despite the same being 15-years-old and mature in the U.S.A. Even this Disqus feature you’re using was borne in the U.S., not in Spain and certainly not in the Philippines.

        • Daniel Hidalgo

          Yes you are right when yo say that the US is a richer country with more companies of high technology. But that is not the debate. Let me tell you that, if you do not have money enough in the US you can´t afford a health attention but in Spain the system is free of charge. The universities are unreachable for a lot of people, parents must save money all their life to send their sons/daughters. In Europe it is a more fair equal opportunities system (Spain included). Even if you do not have money and you are a good student (not a very good student) you can go to the university for free. When I mean second class citizen I am not meaning rights, I am meaning that invisible barrier that does not let you have the same chances in life. That is why blacks in US go on being poor 150 years later slavery was abolished.

          It seems that you some kind of demagogue when you speak about the “sistemas de hacienda y encomenderos”. In every country of the world, included your adored US, the companies or richmen make abuse of workers. Do you know how much money earn people who work at agriculture harvesting tomatoes and so on in US? Let me tell you that the US is doing nothing for this workers, many of them are illegal workers without rights, They earn few money, just to eat. In Spain, temporal farm workers have a protection from the state and are paid money when they cannot work because of the season.

          To put an end to this the US did not bomb Paris to free the city from the Germans, nor any other non german european city. In the Philippines they did not let the Japanese leave Manila to the countryside. They destroyed a World Heritage town killing japanese and filipinos, no matter who, civilians or soldiers. You could have had the most beautiful colonial city in Asia that could attract tourism and generate revenues but US stole you this opportunity. Fortunately we can see photos and videos on youtube of how Manila was.
          This, added to the filipino Genocide shows you how much did they care about the philippines. They did treat filipinos not as dogs but as rats.
          But in any case, you are free who to love and who to relate to. We, hispanics from America are a warm brotherhood that enjoy of our music, literature, food and friendship, even those hispanics living in the US. And of course we love also Spaniards and are proud of our heritage.

          • RyanF1

            Considering how broke La España is, I wouldn’t call it some shining example of social and economic stability. It is the S in the E.U.’s P.I.G.S. financial crisis countries. The others being Portugal, Ireland, and Greece.

            It’s easy to cite Europe’s “Free Education and Healthcare” systems when you conveniently neglect to say how those countries were able to afford their social safety nets.

            Basically they didn’t have to pay for their own defence because they were under America’s Nuclear Umbrella and were hosts to various U.S. bases instead of massing their own Armed Forces to counter the Soviet Threat during the Cold War.

            Even after the Cold War, it became apparent their forces were so ill-prepared for real action that most of the NATO Security Missions they supposedly “participated” in had to be run in-majority by U.S. Forces in Europe. Que Patetico.

            Your boys couldn’t even fly missions at night during the Balkan Wars without turning on their aircraft lights. Basically calling attention to themselves to be shot-down, were it not for the Americans’ intervention to them to go “black-out” and do their sorties properly.

            Well, now the financial chickens have come home to roost. Let’s see how long Spain can keep it’s so called “Temporal Workers” fed and clothed when they’re not earning their pay. Such socialist welfare is unsustainable in a real capitalist economy. We’ll see who gets the last laugh now that Russia is resurgent and the U.S. is less likely to do a redux of her Cold War posture across Europe. Su pueden pagar para sus defensas otra vez, si?

            the US did not bomb Paris to free the city from the Germans, nor any other non german european city.

            1. Why bomb Paris when you can choke it off from the German supplies coming overland from Germany itself?
            2. Don’t you consider Warsaw in Poland a non-German European city? How does the saying go? Manila was the second most bombed Allied City after Warsaw.

            Fortunately we can see photos and videos on youtube of how Manila was.

            Intramuros was never restored to perfection, that is true. But the rest of Extramuros Manila was rebuilt by the Americans after the War.
            Manila became ugly because Filipinos don’t know how to manage their own affairs – unless of course you’re a Spanish-descended rico o haciendero, in which case you know how to manage your affairs very well, even if it’s to the detriment of other’s affairs.

            Note the Ayala Center’s location in Makati, where it can generate the most profits along with monstrous traffic jams. Planting a Greenbelt 1-5, et al in a city downtown location would have never been approved in the United States.
            What the Americans left as a functioning airfield-later-airport, Spanish-Filipinos turned into their perversion of Manhattan’s Wall Street. No planning at all.

          • Daniel Hidalgo

            It seems that americans did well in killing so many filipinos. On youtube can be seen videos with such atrocities. They did it well destroying a Heritage site like Manila and killing 100.000 civilians with the bombings. And they did well supporting Marcos Dictatorship. They erased completely your past and cultural roots. Filipinos can´t read their historical documents, that are written in spanish nor their classical literature or music. The hardest they treated the filipinos, the more the filipinos admire the americans. It looks like a filipino masochistic tendency. But it does not seem to have brought you the richness. Other countries from Asia seem to have developed themselves without being a colony of the US (Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, etc.)

          • RyanF1

            Stop saying Heritage Site as if it meant anything before the founding of the United Nations! Only UNESCO can determine what is a “Heritage Site” and the Battle of Manila happened years before the U.N. was established, and headquartered in the United States at that.

            If the Japanese had left surrendered and peacefully instead of digging-in for years then MacArthur wouldn’t have needed to engage in the Battle of Manila, now would he?

            They erased completely your past and cultural roots. Filipinos can´t read their historical documents, that are written in spanish nor their classical literature or music.

            Ows? Entonces, como yo puedo estudiar mi historia y obras culturales en Español? Apparently the “Americans” didn’t do a well-enough job in their supposed cultural genocide, no? I was born and raised in Manila, then how come I can read and speak Spanish without being part of the so-called Coño Elite?

            And it’s absurdo that you would compare the Socialist Spain of today with the Monarchial Spain at the turn of the previous century. Did Spain provide for your free healthcare and education during the times of Jose Rizal and the Mexican Revolution? No! Why do you think the Latin American colonies wanted Independence? Spain had to experience a Civil War in the 20th Century to become what it is today. Forget to mention that, eh pendeja communista?

            All these other countries you mentioned have in common Confucian roots, something the Philippines does not have (thanks to Spain). And while they were not “American Colonies” they had and continue to have American Protection in order to support their development throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

            America only had 3 bases of note in the Philippines: Clark AB, Subic NB, and Sangley Point NS.

            How many are in South Korea? 15!
            How many are in Japan? 23!

            Alas, yours is a Red Herring anyway, no estan una comparacion de los manzanas a manzanas. Those countries were not “former Spanish Colonies that somehow rose to greatness by themselves after a period of American Rule.” Give a better example next time, pendejo!

          • Daniel Hidalgo

            First of all, The Philippines are a creation of Spain. Spain unified the several islands and the concept of filipinas as a nation was born in filipinos minds (Rizal, Aguinaldo, Bonifacio, etc). Whether you like that or not that is the truth. Otherwise The country would be divided in who knows many pieces, many islands could be under islamic influence (Malaysia and Indonesia are islamic states). Would you prefer a moro country?
            By the way, do you know that christianity is growing fast in China?

            The spanish colonists wanted the independence as a natural process of search of power. In that time Europe was in war and Spain was fighting against France, the spanish the king was replaced by Napoleon´s brother (who by the way would have been a better king).
            Independence of territories has happened to every empire along the history, there is nothing special about hispanic american countries. But that process of independence was premature. There were many leaders and they did not plan anything nor think about four big nations (there was four viceroyalties). They only thought about their own interest and that is why the viceroyalties were splitted into many smaller nations. The US provoked wars and splitted countries like Panama that got the independence from Colombia. Many hispanic countries had wars among themselves for territories. The US were succesful in keeping their own country united but they tried always to avoid the unity among hispanics promoting wars and rivalries.
            I congratulate you for speaking a bit of spanish. You are in the way of connect with hispanic culture, music, literature, food, history.

          • RyanF1

            The Philippines are a creation of Spain.

            That much is obvious, and your point being? Ah, you’re sore Las Estados Unidos had the audacity to “meddle” in “Spain’s Creation”? Tough luck. For a country that was “older” than EE.UU., you’d think she could have kept a better military than los gringos, no? Specifically a Fuerza Naval that didn’t get its culo kicked in Manila Bay.

            By the way, do you know that christianity is growing fast in China?

            Perdon, I do not count heretical movements, I mean, evangelical Christianity and Communist-sponsored state churches when I count the spread of the Christian Faith. “Something” is growing alright, whether it’s “Christian” or not remains to be seen.

            But that process of independence was premature.

            That much is also obvious. What’s less obvious is how they thought to come-up with their wars for independence in the first place. They got their ideas from the American Revolution, and that is no the fault of the gringos in any way at all. If those viceroyalties thought they could do a better job on their own, then they succeed or fail on their own. They should have just done it like Hong Kong, and waited for their independence to be given to them lol.

            The US provoked wars and splitted [sic] countries like Panama

            *Yawn* And every large country in the world has done the same to its neighbors. That is not a practice limited to the Norteamericanos. Case in point, “Russia vs the Ukraine”, along with “vs every other separate republic formerly under the Soviet Union.”

    • Metzergernstein

      LOL what an uneducated and stupid you are you think the Americans didn’t oppress the FILIPINOS yes please stick with your English and obey your Americans Masters stupid cunt
      there is nothing else to expect from an idiot in a third world country.

      • Ur Septim

        I read your comment clearly, and you are right, you are uneducated, stupid and idiot for attacking someone’s opinion over the internet. Butthurt much?

        • Metzergernstein

          I’m not the idiot who is trashing a language at least I’m able to speak french, english, spanish and I’m not complaining because my country was conquered by the spaniards, but you my friend you are on a different level of stupidity.

          Vaya tomar por el culo mas bien idiota.

          • Ur Septim

            Again you are what you say, stupid and idiot for attacking someone’s opinion. Clearly, you can’t forward a discussion without using those words. It’s like talking to a chair here, the only difference is I can sit on the chair, you not much. Your last word (with yet another disparaging words for sure).

          • Metzergernstein

            Who’s interested on arguing with an asshole who doesn’t have even a passport and lives in a shitty third world country fuck off cunt.

    • Joe

      Oppression like how the oppression the Americans gave to your people?? The Americans killed a lot of your people and wanted you guys to forget your native languages that is all they ever wanted to do. Perhaps you guys are better off learning Spanish because many of your people cannot pronounce words in English that well.

    • wordthief 18

      In my opinion, I think the Philippines should move on. Yes, the Spaniards were terrible colonizers but what is past is past and should remain so. And, no. Spanish, I believe, is a useful language as it is spoken in quite a lot of South American countries.

      Anyway, look at Singapore. Its colonizers were the British (mind you, they surrendered Singapore to the Japanese) and yet did this stop them from speaking English?
      Didn’t the Japanese occupy Philippines? Does that mean filipinos should stop watching anime because they originated from Japan? Majority of the car brands are also from Japan…should we stop using them?

      Anyway, this is just my opinion and I have no intention of starting a fight but I do hope you reconsider.

    • Antonio

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6IdHkFo0Mg Quizás te ayude a tener una visión más objetiva de la realidad histórica, y a entender porqué se sigue hablando mal de los españoles deliberadamente.

  • opinon only

    why should we speak spanish? that’s dumb. a conquered mentality. by the way the muslims in the south were never conquered by the spanish pirates who burned all our books and tried to destroy our culture and who raped our forefathers and mothers. i’m proud of the muslims who used to hang the spanish thieves. and chop off their heads. that’s what thieves deserve. srew your conquered weak mentality.

    • Vectorius

      Yeah so let’s speak English because American and British imperialists never conquered the Philippines and other nearby Pacific nations. Ingenious mentality you go there.

    • jeremy

      Language is not always a tool of
      oppression/colonialization. In fact, knowledge of a second language is liberating. Here in US, increasingly, Spanish is turning into an unofficial second language and is being taught in school because it facilitates communication. So far, no one has complained of being “colonized.” If Spanish language is being restored in your curriculum, it is to your advantage that you accept it as an additional tool of learning. Right now you’re using a foreign tongue, english, to voice your opinion. If you’re that patriotic, you could’ve expressed yourself in your language, and let’s see how many readers will understand.

    • RyanF1

      Those “Muslims in the South” you’re so proud of got their hanging and head-chopping habits from the Arabs.
      If not for the Spanish, you, pretending that you would still be born had history turned differently, would be speaking Malay and Arabic. Imagine alternate-history Malaysia and Indonesia where the British had not come.
      You wouldn’t even be speaking English on the Internet right now. If not for the Spanish you would know nothing about Western Culture.
      In short, you would still be a screwed and conquered person with a weak mentality. Think “Muslim Culture” is still so great? Then go where it’s practiced to the max. Go to ISIS-controlled territory in Syria or Iraq and try to log back into Disqus from there.

    • Metzergernstein

      hahaha yeah speak english that’s not mentality of a conquered country I can believe that I’m reading this comment LOL.

    • Aaron

      I think we shouldn’t force it, but at least have that option in elementary schools. Elementary schools are a good place to let a child find out about what they are passionate about, and why give them that option to learn Spanish? Because as it stands today, most Filipinos already have background grasp of the vocabulary. See it now as an opportunity, not as a relic of the past.

  • Akoni

    Spanish is going to be useful for Filipinos planning to reside in California where Hispanics or Latinos comprise 40% of the population. By the way, the Philippines gained independence from the United States in 1946, not in 1956.

  • mountain90

    Which is the bigest country where use Spanish in the World?

    on ap standa, on ap lioa, lioa, on ap

  • playamoth

    Why do we even pay attention to somebody’s opinion of our culture? His observations are second hand. He relies on others people’s interpretation. He doesn’t even speak our language nor lived in the Philippines. He is also ignorant of our food since he didn’t mention anything about it.

    • Vectorius

      He speaks English. English is your language.

      • playamoth

        We speak a plethora of languages or dialects. If he only listened enough, there are a lot of Spanish loan words. Intiendes senyor?

        • RyanF1

          It’s entiendes (formal) or entiende (informal). Root word entender, meaning to understand. Origin of the Tagalog intindi and intindihan.

  • starlightshimmers

    I’m Filipino. I can speak Spanish, English and Filipino. Filipinos were brainwashed into believing that the Spanish language is an evil language or it is a useless language and this is false. The Spanish language is spoken by over 500 million people in America, Africa and Europe. About 90% of Filipino history is written in the Spanish language.

    The ignorance and irrational hatred of the Filipinos towards the Spanish language is reflected in the poor condition of Filipino culture. Look at the heritage sites in the Philippines, all of which were built in the Spanish colonial period, they are all destroyed or turned into homeless districts. Most Filipinos know nothing about classical Filipino literature, which are written in Spanish.

    Filipinos can not tell the difference between colonial mentality and heritage preservation. Colonial mentality is when you believe foreigners are superior. Heritage preservation is preserving the memories and experiences of your ancestors. The Spanish language is part of Filipino heritage whether Filipinos like it or not, much of our history and classical literature was written in Spanish, to simply ignore it is to reject our very own heritage.

    The Muslims resisted Spanish influence, that is because they were independent until they were annexed into the Philippines by the USA in 1929. You cannot compare the heritage of a Muslim Filipino and a Christian Filipino as both had different histories.

    • Lalaine

      I pity you for embracing foreign culture. In your soul, you know you will never be one of them no matter how much you want to be because you will always be seen as not by the people who are native in that foreign culture you embraced. Be proud of your origin, otherwise you are shaming your ancestors. This is the problem with some Filipinos insisting in trying to be foreign because they are simply not getting the truth about human life. If you’ve lost your identity there’s no way to get it back.

      • starlightshimmers

        Who are you to speak to me that way? I studied Filipino culture and I read about it on a daily basis. Everything from the Majapahit Empire to present-day Philippines. I can speak both Tagalog and Bisaya, as well as English and Spanish. I am more Filipino than you will ever be.

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  • Lalaine

    First and foremost, we are Filipinos. We have our own languages, our own identity, and our own culture we should be proud of before the colonial period began. We don’t need to embrace Spanish language necessarily as a remembrance of a bitter colonial period. I’m not against learning foreign languages just as long as they don’t take the place of the native language. The government has not done enough to instill patriotism in the Filipino yet. The government should first determine the possibility of bringing Baybayin back to schools before looking at adding another foreign language to the education curriculum. We need to love our own first.

    • Vectorius

      So is English an official language? Is it not from the colonial period? Shouldn’t it be removed?

    • RyanF1

      Have you even tried to load Bayabayin Font into your computer? I have. Guess what, it’s as useless a tool as Filipino is in anything worth doing worthwhile. Sige, mag-code ka sa Pilipino, let’s see where that gets you and your hanging around in the Internet. When it comes to international usefulness as a measure of what to add in the education curriculum, Spanish is as every bit useful as the English you use here.

      In fact, did you know that English is not the Official Working Language of the UN? It’s not even Spanish, it’s French, or at least it used to be! But since French has less worldwide speakers, taking Spanish is better choice.

      Furthermore your beloved Baybayin is discriminatory against the other indigenous, pre-colonial, languages of Las Islas Felipinas. Like it or not, Spanish was the great unifying language of the country, and it deserves a greater place in school than any of your imagined ancient tongues.

      • Master of Unlocking

        English is an official working language of the UN, you moron. There are six of them, not just one.

        • RyanF1

          Learn to Read. I used the word the not an, you moron.
          Nowhere did I infer that, “English is not AN Official Working Languge of the U.N.”

          As the facts go, until “English and other languages” (six in total) were “adopted as official working languages”, it WAS French that was THE Official Working Language of the U.N. when it was formed, despite English being the other official language on paper.

  • Vilma

    Sad to say that whoever is the author of this article, is an “IDIOT”, lack of knowledge in the Philippine History.The existing Spanish creole language is still spoken in Zamboanga City, called the CHAVACANO dialect. Zamboanga City is known as ” The Asia’s Latin City”. There are lots of spainish mestizos & mestizas descendants in our city. spanish culture is still embededd in our culture. Our style of cooking is completely different from the northern & central Philippines.

  • Brycéo Lusterio González

    It is simply amazing how threatened some Filipinos are when our Hispanic heritage is brought up…one thing is clear, there is a huge resurgence of interest…I mean absolute serious resurgence in Spanish coming back (though it never left) to its appropriate recognition within our identity. I invite my fellow Filipino brothers and sisters to embrace your past, and yes of course the native is a large part of it. Rediscover our history through Spanish and you will see a different world in which Filipinos play a major role…one of which you should be very proud of.

    Pls do not mistake patriotism with the rejection of mestizo/ criollo identity. We are unlike any nation in the world…embrace that you–the Filipino–are a true melting pot of cultures, blood and identity. For you have in you Pacific Islander (Austronesian – Malayo & Negrito), Latin American & Hispanic European, Anglo Saxon American, and SE & E Asian roots. Embrace it as this unites the world in no way that only a Filipino can…to those that do not yet appreciate fully how our Hispanic identity contributes to our identity, pls start with attempting to understand this direct and untranslated quote from our great historical statesman Claro Mayo Recto:

    No es, ciertamente por motivos sentimentales o por deferencia a la gran nación española que dio a medio mundo su religión, su lenguaje y su cultura, que profesamos devoción a este idioma y mostramos firme empeño en conservarlo y propagarlo, sino por egoísmo nacional y por imperativos del patriotismo, porque el español ya es cosa nuestra propia, sangre de nuestra sangre, y carne de nuestra carne, porque así lo quisieron nuestros mártires, héroes y estadistas del pasado, y sin él será trunco el inventario de nuestro patrimonio cultural; porque si bien es verdad que la Revolución y la República de Malolos y la presente República fueron obra del pueblo, también lo es que los que prepararon y encauzaron eran intelectuales que escribieron en castellano sus libros, sus discursos, sus panfletos y sus ensayos, para realizar obra de doctrina y labor de propaganda; porque seria trágico que llegase el día que para leer a Rizal, a del Pilar, a Mabini, a Adriático, a Palma, a Arellano y a Osmeña, los filipinos tuviéramos que hacerlo a través de traducciones bastardas, en fin, porque el español es una tradición patria que si tiene raíces en nuestra historia también las tiene en las entrañas de nuestra alma, y porque el español es el “ábrete, Sésamo” de la cueva encantada que guarda, como tesoros imperecederos, los más altos pensares y los más altos sentires de que ha sido capaz el hombre desde la mañana de la civilización.

    • Juan

      No

    • BDD

      THANK YOU FOR YOUR WONDERFUL INSIGHT and for revealing CMR’s impassioned views about our legacy by persuading us to revel in our Hispanic religious, cultural and linguistic background – an undeniable and intrinsic part of our make-up. Yes, the Filipino today is a lovely, colourful ‘package’ that can ‘belong’ anywhere in the world because of our rich background. Filipino Professor, Dolores Aspillera Arboleda, author of many Spanish text books in the Philippines and taught Spanish for 75 years (awarded by the Instituto Cervantes as among the longest serving Spanish professors) has died this year at the age of 100. She dedicated her life to teach Spanish to thousands of Filipinos. The title of one of her books express the pride I feel when asked about my origins: “Soy Filipino, Hablo Espanol”.

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