I USED to pride myself to be proficient in Hiligaynon. I learned my Bisaya talking to mountain farmers and those middle class intellectuals who conversed with them.
Who understands wayang (field)? Gutok (wildling) with no accent, as differentiated from gutòk (tight) and hunol (bagged seedlings)? Ilahas for wildlife?
However, many Bacoleños, especially the young, find it hard to understand these words. I thought that the street kids under He Cares Mission could understand. It turns out they’re more familiar with a mix of Hiligaynon, Filipino-based Tagalog, English, and Spanish loan-words. Even signage around downtown goes this way: “Bawal mangihi diri.”
Don’t get me wrong. I like this mix than the pure Bisaya or what others call Sumakwelan. My understanding is that this dialect is the pure Hiligaynon. Maybe my fellow SunStar Bacolod columnist Ver Pacete would know.
Fellow media practitioners in the Negros Press Club (NPC), the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) and University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R), would likely know. Some of them attended the Hiligaynon Proficiency Seminar held last Saturday at UNO-R.
I’m embarrassed that when I go to Mass, I prefer to pray and worship in English. I confess my sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation in English. Late in my life, I have to memorize the Hiligaynon version of the Lord’s Prayer. Alas, my brain is not as agile as it used to be.
Dr. Carmencita Robles, dean of the College of Communication of West Visayas State University in Iloilo City, discussed “Save Hiligaynon: A Call for Practitioners in the Media.”
Current NPC president Renato Duran said the activity is intended to foster better understanding and appreciation on the importance of Hiligaynon language especially in broadcast journalism.
“It is also geared toward equipping local broadcasters with further knowledge and skills on proper use of Hiligaynon as instrument of communicating to the audience,” Duran added.
Our lingua franca here in Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Capiz, Guimaras, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato in Soccsksargen, Masbate in Bicol Region, Romblon, and Palawan in Mimaropa, and parts of Northern Mindanao.
We need to be proficient in the use of Hiligaynon to conserve the traditional knowledge with it such as subsistence (e.g. tools and techniques for hunting or agriculture), midwifery, ethnobotany and ecological knowledge, traditional medicine, celestial navigation, ethnoastronomy, the climate, and others.
Indi naton pagsikwayon ang alam kag pulong sang katigulangan ta.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on August 28, 2017.
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