When you read about the Philippines, you find out about their 90 different languages and dialects. I spend my volunteering year in Negros Occidental, an island province in Western Visayas where people mainly speak Ilonggo. So before coming to the Philippines, I wasn’t sure whether learning Tagalog, the national language also called “Filipino” (see my previous article here), or Ilonggo would be the better option. I chose to decide on the spot.
Now it’s been four months and I’ve not made enough progress because you get along quite well with English. But especially because we work directly with many street children and families, I’m trying to improve and get at least some basics now. That means learning the numbers for example. My two friends April (Ilonggo) and Rezza (Tagalog) from Bacolod showed me how to count in both Tagalog and Ilonggo, as you’ll see in the video.
And finally, a language school in Makati offered five free Tagalog lessons to the volunteers at Virlanie, the foundation I work for. So finally, I’m participating in five one-on-one sessions this week to learn some small talk.
My first steps are taken towards better integrating. Let’s see where that leads.