Why It Pays For Filipinos to Learn Spanish

Students raising hands
Students in class

There are many advantages one gets when they are knowledgeable of more than one language. Filipinos in general, who speak English and another local language, get to benefit from the social and economic perks it entails. Learning another global language, therefore, could push one to greater heights and be poised to accessing even more opportunities. With that in mind, here are more reasons why Filipinos should learn Spanish.

We Have a Head start 
spanish and tagalog words
False friends in Filipino and Spanish

Filipino languages are full of Spanish words. In general, approximately 33% of Tagalog words are Spanish, in Visayan there are around 40%, and in Chavacano around 70%. Now that is a lot of words to begin with depending on what your first language is. Nonetheless, there are slight differences in meaning and spelling, but much of it are pretty much alike. Depending on your aptitude of language acquisition, it is easy for Filipinos to learn Spanish as the recall and usage of words in various contexts makes the learning process a lot easier compared to when learning other languages.

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It’s a Part of Our Culture
Guiling-guling festival Paoay
We are more Hispanic than we admit. Guling-Guiling Festival in Paoay

We are more Hispanic than we admit. With most of our surnames, aliases, places and food entwined with the Romance language of Spanish, our Hispanic heritage is undeniable. Let's admit it though, most of us have probably been subjected to biased history books when we were younger and that is probably where our unconscious biases against anything Spanish comes from. Unfortunately, this is bad for us and it resulted to a lingering case of a collective cognitive dissonance. We then lived in a contradiction. We were programmed to dislike Spanish, but then, we are culturally Spanish. Hence, the unnecessary issue on Filipino identity was a frequent topic especially in the previous century. Nonetheless, it pays to embrace our Asian Hispanic heritage in the same way other countries have embraced theirs as this allows us to be at peace with our past. By learning Spanish, we learn the language of Rizal and our other heroes. More importantly, we learn more about our own selves by being able to access parts of our literature, history, and traditions where its real essence are locked away in a language we have forgotten.

It Connects Us Back to Latino America 
Manuel Quezon talks about the Hispano Filipino Heritage
Manuel Quezon on the Spanish Language

Manuel L. Quezon once said in a speech that the Latin American people believe and feel that we Filipinos form that vast family, the Children of Spain. This was stated by Quezon at the height of the golden age of Philippine Spanish literature. This was a time when Spanish was widely spoken by many Filipinos, a time when Spanish was common in print, media, literature and daily discourse. This was a time when this "connection" was very real. However, when World War 2 came and wrecked havoc on our shores all these came to an end. We moved on from the chaos of war, but we did so without the memory of our past. The implications were then felt and seen on various aspects of our society where we tore down heritage structures in exchange of malls, and we abolished the Spanish language even if it was the language of our heroes. By dropping Spanish we burned bridges. By learning Spanish though, we once again connect ourselves to the vast community of nations which spans three continents - the Hispanidad. In Quezon's words "it is the Spanish language that binds us to those peoples, and the Spanish language will bind us to those peoples eternally if we have the wisdom and patriotism of preserving it."


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