Linggo ng Wika & my Professor’s “Rice” lesson in Tagalog

This week we celebrate “Lingo ng Wika”. What many don’t know is that it was President Osmeña, a Cebuano, who gave the order to have one. Not President Quezon, the man we call “Ama ng Wikang Pambansa”. Pres. Magsaysay, changed the date from March 27-April 2 to the week of President Quezon’s birthday. Perhaps for sentimental or political reasons.

Having parents that speaks two different languange (Bisaya and Hiligaynon) and neighbors that spoke a pletora of diverse languages, I understood early in life that we are indeed, in need of a “national language”. How else can we communicate effectively?

However, I’m in opposition to the forceful imposition of language. We have to see to it that the national language education does not suppress and remove the local languages. Local languages must remain as the medium of instruction in the provinces.The “Pilipino” must only continue as a subject where students are expected to pass and complete.

Local languages are best kept for they have been cultivated for centuries. Perpetuated from generations to generations. Local languages are rich with customs, folklore and history. People tend to be more expressive and active using their local languages and this produce great literary works.

In Cebu, you’ll rarely hear a person get excited to speak “Tagalog”. They rather speak English. It’s not because they’re ignorant of the national language, most TV shows there are in “Tagalog”, they just prefer to speak in their native tongue. This is the reason that in just a year of my stay in that beautiful Southern island, I learned to speak their language. Come to think of it, they have the advantage of speaking three languages (Tagalog, English and Bisaya) compared to  a Manileño who could only speak two. The loyalty of the Visayan’s to their local language is the reason why “Bisaya” is still the most widely spoken language in the country.

I was born in Sta. Ana, one of Manila’s historic suburbs, and spent the first 6 years of my life there before we transferred  to Macati. I’m definitely proud of Tagalog as I consider myself to be one. It is my language. But this does not stop me from learning other local languages. I’ve been studying Spanish for more than a year now, although my progress has been slow, it made me aware that there exist an undeniable history that most of us haven’t read. When Spanish was removed from our schools, we got permanently cut off from a written Filipino history of more than 300 years. Somehow, we must find a way to rediscover Spanish as a historical and cultural language.

Tagalog is a rich language. A few months ago while I was in San Rafael, Bulacan I learned new words that I haven’t heard off in my years of existence.

I remember my Professor in college talking about the “richness” of Tagalog compared to English. He said that it have a word for just about everything. He gave this “rice” example:

Rice grain – Palay

Milled Rice – Bigas

Spoiled Rice – Panis

Cooked Rice – Sinaing

Rice that fell out of the table – Mumo

Rice for swines – Kanin Babuy

Rice for dogs – Kanin Aso

Burned rice – Tutong

Cold rice – Bahao

Toasted rice – Pinipig

Heated cooked rice – Sapao (or was it “inin”?)

Excess water during boiling rice – Am

Fried rice – Sangag

Well, I’m sure there are more.

Maligayang Lingo ng Wika sa lahat.


6 responses to “Linggo ng Wika & my Professor’s “Rice” lesson in Tagalog

  • Traveler on Foot

    Here’s more…palitaw, bibingka, ampaw, rice crispies, rice coffee, all have crushed or grounded or pounded rice. Pampango recipes like tamales and binge, and buro are made of rice. Arroz ala Cabana and balaw-balaw are other varieties of using rice.

  • Traveler on Foot

    Oh my. thank you for reminding my friend about August is the month of Linggo ng Wika. Champorado yumyum… I worship who ever invented champorado and arrozcaldo. uy there is no arrozcaldo pala mentioned in your list… what else?… biko, suman, puto pumbong, guinataang mais, all are rice-based meriendas. anu pa?… the Puso in Cebu, paella, arroz valenciana, kare-kare (traditional preparation) all invovles rice. flaky Pinipig is also rice.

    • De AnDA

      @TOF – Thanks for adding bro. Sobrang dami. I like the name balaw-balaw but I haven’t seen that before.

      Also I forgot to mention the name of that wonderful man, a true Tagalista, Professor Paguio from Las Pinas. I enjoyed his classes. He died mid 2000’s (SLN).

  • Pepe

    Ay, meron na palá, ¡hehehe! 😀

    • De AnDA

      You don’t wanna get into rice cakes (malagkit). Ang dami sobra. LOL.

      Let me add to the list: ipa (discarded hull or balat), lugao (rice porridge), goto (porridge w/ meat or innards), champorado (cocoa flavored porridge), puso (steamed rice in leaf), tapuy (rice wine)…

  • Pepe

    And then there’s this “rice juice” which is a substitute for breastmilk called “am“.

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