Poet and singer transmit the language through chosen trades

Strong points
  • Desire of Filipinos: “Don’t forget your roots”
  • Music and the arts play a big role in preserving the Filipino language.
  • The Philippines celebrates “Buwan ng Wika” with a focus on over 187 languages ​​in the country.

poetry and music

Community leader and poet Rado Gatchalian and singer-songwriter Rene Tinapay continue to collaborate to promote the Filipino language through “TulaMusika” (Poems and Music).
“It has become my plea, even when we are already living in another country, to foster, celebrate and continue to use our own Filipino language,” said Rado Gatchalian, Vice President (External) of the Tagalog Association of Australia.
Rado, a former teacher, says he started writing his own poems in elementary school.

Since moving to Sydney in 2006, his love for his home country has deepened even further.

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Rado Gatchalian and Rene Tinapay in their performance ‘TulaMusika’. Credit: TulaMusika by Rado Gatchalian and René Tinapay

Western Sydney singer/songwriter Rene Tinapay has been writing original Filipino songs for decades.

Although he’s lived in Australia for years, his love for the Philippines lives on.
Through their own initiatives, Rado and Rene aspire to transmit the Filipino language to the younger generation through poetry and music.

“With every word I say, they say they can sense I’m Filipino. So every time the audience hears my poetry, they’re inspired to speak Tagalog or Filipino,” Rado shares.

‘Buwan ng Wika’

Rado remembers how actively he participated in school events and activities during the “Buwan ng Wika” celebrations in the Philippines.
Schools, government agencies and private institutions celebrate ‘Buwan Ng Wika’ every August.

“Often there were poetry writing and Balagtasan competitions.”

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Speaking your own language is the best practice to preserve it. Credit: Provided by Rado Gatchalian

The Filipino Language Commission leads the annual Buwan ng Wika celebrations.

This year 2022, the focus is on “Filipino and mga Katutubong Wika: Kasangkapan sa pagtuklas et paglikha” (Filipinos and Indigenous Languages: Tools for Discovery and Creation).
“This year is not just about the importance of using the Filipino language [mainly based on Tagalog]but on other regional languages ​​and dialects in the Philippines,” adds Rado.

The Philippines has over 187 different languages, including Filipino, Tagalog, Cebuano, and Ilocano.

“Desiderata for the Filipinos”

“Most of the time, when migrants arrive in a new country, like Australia, many parents are worried that their children can’t speak English, so they just talk to them in English.”
Using one’s own language is one of the challenges that many migrants often face.
“They are afraid that if they keep speaking Tagalog or Filipino, they won’t be able to fit in with others, especially those who speak English,” says Rado.
“It is very important that we continue to use our mother tongue, especially at home, because the children will learn English easily.”

“The best way to pass on our Filipino language to the younger generation is to speak it.”

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Rado Gatchalian writes his own poetry about his love for country, language and culture. Credit: SBS Filipino

Just like what Rado wrote in one of his poems, “Desiderata para sa Pilipino”, “huwag kalimutan ang iyong pinagmulan, sa lupang sinilangan naroon ang iyong kaluluwa na huhubog sa iyong pangarap and kung saan ka patungo asang tao”. (“Remember where you come from, the country of your birth where your soul is, will help your dreams take shape and know where you are heading as a person.”)

Literature, arts and music are just some of the ways to further cultivate and enrich our language.

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