KWF unveils 5th Bantayog ng Wika in Occidental Mindoro

July 4, 2018

The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) today (July 4, Wednesday) unveiled the 5th language marker in the country in Occidental Mindoro with the support of the Office of Senator Loren Legarda.

“This started as a vision to immortalize the diverse languages of our country.  I am proud that this nationwide project of the KWF that seeks to identify areas where languages originated from has taken off and this is now its 5th installation,” Legarda said.

Legarda underscored the significance of language in our cultural identity as Filipinos, saying that “our culture defines us as citizens of this nation and our language holds a great place in this culture that confirms and completes our national identity.”

The Bantayog ng Wika ng mga Mangyan sa Occidental Mindoro, designed by artist Junyee of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, has been installed in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

Mindoro is the 7th largest island in the Philippines.  Based on statistics, 10% of its population are Mangyans, a collective name commonly used to refer to the eight identified groups in Mindoro: Iraya, Alangan, Tadyawan, Tau-buid, Bangon, Buhid, Hanunuo, and Ratagnon, according to the Mangyan Heritage Center (MHC).

“An article published in Artes de las Filipinas stated that although they belong to one indigenous group, they use different dialects. On the average, only 40% of their vocabulary words are common among all groups,” Legarda said.

Legarda also highlighted the observation of MHC that Mangyan cultural practices are in danger of vanishing because of the influence of modern lowland culture.[1]  Despite being regarded as one tribe, Mangyans differ in many ways. As evidenced in their ways of living, the Southern tribes use relatively more developed methods of weaving and pottery, and system of writing, while the Northern tribes are said to be simpler, using the most basic tools.

“We must preserve these languages, along with all other aspects of our culture, as a sign of our respect for our history and heritage. The installation of language markers requires only a minimal effort from the government to perpetuate this important component of Filipino culture.  This installation will serve as our reminder that a distinct and unique dialect exists and emanates from this part of the country. We should all work harder to keep this language alive,” Legarda said.

“The Philippines is a culturally diverse country. We should always aim to deepen our understanding of the very soul of our identity as Filipinos. Our diverse culture is further accentuated by the variety of languages and dialects that we have all over the country. This diversity is what makes our Filipino identity distinct,” Legarda said.

“May this initiative not end with the unveiling of markers alone. I hope that we would further strengthen our support for our intangible culture and heritage for the benefit of the younger and future generations, “ Legarda concluded.***

[1] Safeguarding the Indigenous Culture of Mindoro, Philippines.