Briones: Cebuano, please

On The Go

FINALLY. I thought I was the only one who noticed.

It might have started out as a joke. I don’t know. I hope so, anyway. But some employees of fastfood chains here in Cebu have been using some other language other than Cebuano when dealing with customers.

And it’s not only in fastfood chains.

In the SunStar newsroom, some newbies have adopted Tagalog affectations, which I find very annoying. I honestly thought I was overreacting when I admonished one of them for saying “po” at the end when replying to my question. But apparently not.

Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera felt the same way because he endorsed a resolution to the City Council encouraging the employees to speak Cebuano.

Which only makes sense.

If you live in Cebu, work in Cebu, you’d use Cebuano to interact with Cebuanos. Right? Unless, of course, you’re talking to a non-local then you switch to English. Or, if there’s no other choice, Tagalog. But only as a last resort.

Or you could insist on talking to them in Cebuano so they’d be forced to learn our tongue for a change. After all, why should they make life difficult for us in our own turf?

Why indeed?

Mind you, I have nothing against the language spoken in the capital.

I think it’s beautiful, but, let’s admit it, pretty useless in this neck of the woods and in the rest of the Bisaya-speaking part of this archipelago.


Let’s see. Most if not all contracts are drawn up in English. Signs are mostly in English. The last time I checked the medium of instruction in schools, public or private, is English. Or Cebuano. Local radio programs are in Cebuano. Or in English with some DJs trying so hard to put on an American accent or what they think is an American accent. Newspapers, too, are either in English or Cebuano.

Mind you, Tagalog is only useful if you’re a fan of telenovelas or of mainstream movies. Or if you live in Manila.

Other than that, a Cebuano can spend all his life in Cebu or in Cebuano-speaking areas in the country without having to know a single word of Tagalog.

Which must be why the City Council approved Garganera’s resolution on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.

Granted, we live in a polygot society.

And Filipinos who reside outside Metro Manila or in non-Tagalog provinces speak three languages on average: Cebuano, for Cebuanos, English and Tagalog. And it’s not uncommon to find a Filipino who speaks four or more languages.

It’s all the more reason Cebuanos should be proud of their language.

Perhaps the use of Tagalog in local fastfood joints is just a fad. A passing fancy. And not a requirement.


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