Kagawaran ng Filipino and SALT Institute Celebrate Buwan ng mga Wika, Not Just Buwan ng Wika
By Nette Zabala
Ateneo’s Kagawaran ng Filipino [Filipino Department] and Science and Art of Learning and Teaching (SALT) Institute pioneered a leveled up celebration of Buwan ng Wika [Language Month] as it showcased the languages of the Philippines through ’Ika nga ni Ige [As Ige Would Say], an online show participated in by different members of the Ateneo community on August 28.
“We purposely made our theme Buwan ng mga Wika [Month of Languages], not the usual Buwan ng Wika. Usually when we say Buwan ng Wika, we focus on our national language, which is Filipino. But for the finale of Lost + Found Fridays, we took the opportunity to feature the other languages of the Philippines, especially for those students who grew up in the Tagalog regions,” says Dr. Jerry Respeto, production manager of ‘Ika nga ni Ige and faculty of Kagawaran ng Filipino.
Through prayers, poems, songs, riddles, and plays, ‘Ika nga ni Ige featured an array of languages namely Chabacano, Kalinga, Pangasinan, Hiligaynon, Tagalog, Kinaray-a, Kapampangan, Ilokano, Ibanag, Cebuano, Waray, and Bikol. These were brought to life by esteemed administrators, student leaders, and teachers from Ateneo de Manila University and Ateneo de Zamboanga.
“You may not understand the language, but just hearing it and appreciating it makes a difference. Hearing the beauty of the sounds makes it experiential,” says Ariel Diccion, host of ‘Ika nga ni Ige and faculty of Kagawaran ng Filipino.
Aside from showcasing languages, the show also featured the rich texts and literature written by Filipino literary greats in the likes of Leona Florentino and Bienvenido Lumbera (as translated by Ma. Evangeline Lumen-Pundavila) as well as award-winning contemporary writers. “We may have been separated by geography, language, religion, as well as economic and political systems. But what is found in our literature from different regions, highlights our shared experiences,” says Respeto.
With texts touching on rituals, aspirations, desperation, frustration, hope, and love, Director Jethro Tenorio hopes to show how language binds us together. “These common experiences though articulated in different tongues are what make us a community. What I wanted to highlight is that these languages need to be given space to commune in a platform, toward a more inclusive and comprehensive recognition of ourselves as peers, as a community, and as a nation.” ■