Why Anti-English Sentiment is Anti-Filipino

While the Constitution (Article XIV, section 7) declares English as an official language of the country, there are still smart-alecks who believe Filipinos should not speak English. For example, there was this troll in a group that tries to say he is more “Filipino” because he doesn’t know English much.

Such things are really stupid. Lack of knowledge on English doesn’t make you more Filipino than anyone. Besides, is there such as thing as “more” or “less” Filipino?

But that troll sadly isn’t the only one believing this. There are those commenters who insist that we write our articles in Tagalog. You’ve probably known of some weirdos coming up to you and say something like, “bakit ka nag-iingles? Pilipino ka a! (Why are you speaking English? You are a Filipino)” Or there is this idea that if you speak English, you are rich or should belong to the upper class. Or that English-speakers are arrogant or devious (citing former President Marcos… wrongly… as an example).

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There was even this funny pic being passed around lately:


But sometimes, not only the weirdos say this. Even our dads or moms, grandparents or grandmas, friends or other people (likely the commies) have this idea that English must be excised from the Filipino culture. Even our mass media ridicules speaking English, with movies like “English Only” that put the language under a bad light. Not to mention popular celebrities who try to put down people who speak English. But I object and will say, anti-English sentiment is actually anti-Filipino.

So why is this so? Firstly, it goes against the law of the land, as mentioned above. If it’s an official language, so there’s nothing wrong or anti-patriotic in using it. In fact, it seems that if you try to cut down English, you might even be opposing the law!

Secondly, anti-English sentiment deprives people of chances to educate themselves and get better jobs. Most of international media makes use of English, since U.S. media has dominated most of the free world’s media networks, and thus English is widely used. It is highly likely that English will never be replaced for a long time. English is our connection to the world.

English is also important for education since most important lessons on modern principles, science, information, literature and other things are in English. Ideas about freedom and ethical societies are mostly found in English works. So if people are not able to read these things, they may be deprived of ideas they sorely need. So I wonder – is discouragement of English really done to help cripple the economy and the freedoms of others?

If learning English is unpatriotic for Asians, then the Koreans in the Philippines are very unpatriotic for learning English aside from their native Korean. But wait a minute, the Korean government isn’t complaining… it is in fact encouraging that! And it is because Korean companies pay more to employees who know English, one of the main reasons for the deluge of Koreans in this country. But even if companies in our countries do not give such rewards, many jobs depend on good English skills – most especially the call center and business-process outsourcing (BPO) industry. If you keep telling people to stop speaking English, then how can they handle the job of talking to foreign clients? If they can’t, they might as well be kargardors at the pier (wait a minute – is that what you want anti-English people want? For Filipinos to remain at the menial level?). There are just some jobs you can’t do without English.

If only local movies paid more respect to English

If only local movies paid more respect to English

Because of call centers and BPO, Filipinos have the term “nosebleed.” This means difficulty in understanding or using English. It probably exists because Filipinos have a hatred of learning English. But Nosebleed may actually be a sign of problems in our cultural attitudes, as well as the dumbing down of people through mass media. So it’s a sign of something wrong with our society. I daresay, Filipinos are not entitled to their nosebleed, and it’s perhaps something we should strive to eliminate.

Did Rizal Really Liken English Speakers to Smelly Fish?

Another argument anti-Englishers use is that Rizal supposedly said ““Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika/masahol pa sa hayop at malansang isda (He who loves not his own language/is worse than a beast and a stinking fish)” in a poem attributed to him, Sa Aking Mga Kabata. But research into the matter by historian Ambeth Ocampo has found this attribution questionable. It is more likely that Rizal never wrote it and someone else did. But even if Rizal did, the fact that English is part of the official languages of the country makes it one of the languages that we must love.

Yes, Filipino is still the national language. But there are problems with what “Filipino” is. In fact, Manuel Quezon simply make his “tribe’s” language, Tagalog, as Filipino. Which may imply one thing: are Hiligaynon, Bisaya, Waray, Cebuano, Panggalatok, Ilocano and other languages not Filipino? So there’s a problem with the current concept of a “Filipino” language. But Filipino actually being Tagalog in disguise is not acceptable to some, and it actually smacks of favoritism for the Tagalog parts of the country – something at times called Tagalog or Manila Imperialism.

English Builds Bridges

And as I have often repeated, a co-worker back then recalled how she communicates with her grandmother in Mindanao, who does not know Tagalog and knows the local language. The former co-worker was raised mostly in Manila, so she knows Tagalog but not her grandmother’s language. But they are able to communicate in English since they both underwent education for it. Thus, English can solve local language barriers.


Despite what honest intentions may be present in people who believe in the anti-English sentiment, it will do more harm than good. English opens doors, so trying to eradicate English will close them. Thus, efforts to cut down or eliminate English may be deemed anti-patriotic, because closing doors does harm to people, keeping them away from opportunities and leading to people being less educated than they should.

And certainly, there is nothing wrong with Filipinos learning other languages, such as Swahili, Spanish, Dutch, Esperanto, Arabic and many others, as this opens even more doors. Yet there is much justification for keeping English as a part of the Filipino heritage.

And to those who say, English is submission to American colonialism, just think of this: the language is called English, not American.

The Philippines needs a revival, or at least a revitalization, of its English culture.

99 Replies to “Why Anti-English Sentiment is Anti-Filipino”

  1. Most people speak the language they needed in connection with the language they grew up with or most commonly used in their work, household, country, etc. I think anti-English sentiment is given out of frustration especially by those whose language education is limited. Add the fact that there are Filipinos who use their English proficiency to intimidate people instead of educate.

      1. But I think I know who you might be referring to about intimidators. Yet some might be intimidating because they themselves are actually poor in the language.

    1. Yeah. I agree. My officemates and I were talking about this earlier over breakfast (because of Marian Rivera’s “English” issue) and I thought that some people who use English are just using it to make it appear that they are more superior than others even if they do not really know what they are talking about.

      1. Totally agree with Vanilla Ice Cream, I noticed to most government official uses “English and Tagalog” when they communicate on medias and interviews, for me speaking english and mixing it with tagalog makes you looks or sound stupid, why, did you ran out of english or you can explain it better in tagalog, then don’t start out with something you can’t finished. You are in the Philippines your listeners are Filipinos you will be more understood using your native language rather than speaking english that doesn’t even fit in the sentence or never heard off. Also it makes difference if your pronouncing words correctly.

  2. i doubt rizal said said in that context. these “ultranationalists” are just rabid fundamentlaists taking something from the scripture and adding their own biases into the interpretation. “magmahal” does not necessarily mean to shut your mind out to learning other things. being a scholar, thinker and a fluent speaker of other languages makes me doubt rizal can be that one-dimenional.

  3. It’s pretty much the reason why I tend to cringe whenever one of those so-called “tagalised” films are being aired. For sure, they’ll throw that oft-used excuse in that other countries dub their films as well, but still it reeks of rabid provincialism and what I dub as bumpkin mentality.

    They call and brazenly boast themselves as a nation of “world-class Pinoys”, yet as what mainstream media here shows, especially with the recently-concluded MMFFs, they still have a long way to go before they’ll be able to put their money where their mouths are, and it doesn’t help that they’re willing to put themselves into this culture of playing the slob card and miring themselves into banal boorishness.

    1. “For sure, they’ll throw that oft-used excuse in that other countries dub their films as well, but still it reeks of rabid provincialism and what I dub as bumpkin mentality.”

      So when other countries dub foreign films it’s A-OK, but when the Philippines does it, ang naiisip mo, mga promdi’t bakya?

      Why do media outlets dub whatever films need dubbing? Because there’s a demand for said dubbing — in turn due to obvious language dubbing — but from whom? Surely they’re not all First Quarter Stormtroopers, Manuel L. Quezon’s descendants, and raging ultranationalists!

      In other words, don’t you think that not of all of us Pinoys who can afford the luxury of a television can continuously follow a stream of English (or Korean or Nihongo or Spanish or whatever) without losing track? Surely you’ve thought of that, haven’t you?

      Have you?

      1. We used to have our own English dubbing, from Voltes V down to Bioman. Moving to Tagalog was even opposed by the dubbers back then. You certainly can’t translate words like “trans-warp drive” into Tagalog.

        1. i certainly think that all went to hell when sailormoon and ghost fighter first came out (shaider was first though). And to think a lot still watched our eng dubs of dbz and yaiba (available nowhere else except from pirated rips of the shows’ beta/vhs tapes)

      2. They did? Did they give out their reasons for opposing Tagalog dubs? I’ll keep my speculations to myself till you reply, as I expect this to be a less clear-cut issue at the root than we realize.

  4. “It probably exists because Filipinos have a hatred of learning English.”

    “Hatred” is too strong a word. Instead of “hatred of learning”, how about “imperfect command of”? Not only imperfections in grammar and diction but also in terms of thought formation and stringing sentences together? The term was appropriated not to describe the humiliations of raging ultranationalists coping with reality in corporate settings, but to encapsulate the feelings of those seeking work in BPO or other industries where English fluency is the rule.

    Surely you can acknowledge that, instead of glossing this (far more probable, given the Pinoy emphasis on education as a poverty-buster) because this is GRP and everything Pinoys say or do is wrong.

  5. What is up with this article?! I say, being able to speak english does not necessarily make a filipino “educated”. Besides, we still have a responsibility to preserve hundreds of our languages (not “dialects”), many of which are now almost lost. Also, the modern tagalog that we speak is in fact an adulterated version of what it used to be. It says that english is our bridge. How can we cross this bridge if our own end of the language gap doesn’t even hold well?

    1. @Fred layno;

      Being educated depends upon an individual being able to think critically and to ask hard questions. Traditions should be evaluated in terms of their relevance to the contemporary experience. Blindly doing things the way our grandfathers did is not what an “educated” person does, in any language.

      Why do we “have a responsibility to preserve hundreds of our languages?” If a person chooses to see themselves as an ancestor of some aboriginal group and wants to preserve ancient language and customs; fine. But should that be a national imperative?

      I know that comparing the USA to The Philippines is frequently comparing apples to oranges; but imagine this scenario if you will.
      It is 1776, having just revolted from the English, Americans decided to reject the English language and instead pick one of the hundreds of different native American dialects to be their new language. Of course, this will make communicating with the rest of the world difficult. Trade and diplomacy may suffer; but eventually enough people in the country will speak the new Cherokee dialect and the people will have the pride of knowing that they snubbed the English. Would that be a rational thing to do?

      1. Puh-lease, a country with high English proficiency does not prove anything. By “trade and diplomacy may suffer”, do you mean that we will no longer have OFWs to send abroad, or hire call center agents because we are too local a taste for the westerners? I will take my chances if it would mean redirecting the manpower here to create something actually for our own country. Please be clear as to what trade you are referring to. Because I am looking at Japan right now, and I am really wondering how they have managed to be so economically advanced without sacrificing their own culture or their own proficiency in their language. Also, are you saying that the US made an effort to save Cherokee? Wow, 23,000 speakers is quite an effort isn’t it? I am really thrilled of what our country might do to the 170 languages in the Philippines that are near death. Bridge, pfft. The only bridge English will really make is between online daters.

        1. The Japan you are looking at isn’t the same as mine — this Japan I am looking at does have a shared cultural history it can gladly look back to, and it did benefit culturally and linguistically from Chinese and then American incursions. If the Japanese didn’t adopt English as a second language after the postwar American occupation, they were at least in a sound cultural footing, something that cannot be said for us.

        2. Funny. the same thing is happening here. And look at the results.

          And as for Japan, they simply integrated English into their curriculum and have a non-toxic culture that actually values hard work.

          Unlike the Pwede-na-yan mentality here.

        3. Japan (and by extension East Asia) are outliers in the sense that they have a strong national identity yet are able to adapt to Western economics and politics in a highly effective manner, mostly because of their adherence to Confucian ethics. Philippines and other third world countries rely on English to maintain lifelines with their former colonial masters for exchange of ideas and income lest they end up becoming like Myanmar, struggling to keep its people happy and full out of its stubbornness to integrate to the outside world.

          Sorry, but the Philippines needs English if it’s going to have a chance to get out of its squalor status and become a proper state, despite your unfounded nationalism whinings of losing our identity.

        4. Chris,

          I am glad that you have brought to light Confucian Ethics. Because it’s a Chinese Philosophy that Japan does not adhere to at all. After the Meiji Restoration, the new imperial government needed to rapidly modernize the polity and economy of Japan, and the Meiji oligarchy felt that those goals could only be accomplished through a strong sense of national unity and cultural identity. This means purifying Japan of foreign ideals like Christianity, Buddhism, and yes, Confucianism. Unfounded Nationalism, did not know there could be such a thing.

        5. @Transdimensional

          The Meiji government did try to Westernize to keep up with European powers at the time, but it’s not to say they eschewed the values and ethics they’ve assimilated from the Chinese back when Japan was more or less copying their culture. It’s thanks to that plus acceptance of industrialization that gave them the opportunity to become a world power.

    2. You said it yourself, Chris. They simply assimilated these foreign ideals to keep up.
      We, however, are constantly trying to please the west by acting western ourselves.

      There is an enough and an ongoing effort to keep everyone in the country at par with international English-speaking standards. We are now going up against India as an outsourcing destination. So what is the point of writing this article? To further other what is left of us? The writer states “If you keep telling people to stop speaking English, then how can they handle the job of talking to foreign clients? If they can’t, they might as well be kargardors at the pier?” Only a grade-A tool would make a sweeping statement like that. IRL, nobody is stopping Filipinos from speaking English, it is encouraged even. But if one were to speak in his native tongue, he will only be laughed at. You seem quite adept with English Chris, but just out of curiosity, how many native languages do you speak?

  6. And the ironic part of quoting rizal on loving your own language and using this as basis for anti-english/filipino only sentiment is that rizal himself was a polyglot.

  7. The anti-english sentiment is probably in part fueled by the social studies texts in school. One of the authors purposes is to create pride in being Filipino. One way to do that is to blame everything that is wrong with the current society, on the Spanish and American colonizers. Then, they create a fictitious utopian pre-colonial past where everyone was happy; despite the dictatorship of the Datu overlords and the existence of slavery. That way, the 500 year colonial period can be seen as an interruption in the saga of the Philippines.

    I suspect the truth of the matter is that the Philippines would not exist as a nation without the Spanish and American colonial experience. The current anti-english sentiment makes little sense. When asked by foreigners, most Filipinos say that they are most proud to be Christians and proud of their democratic government. Why be proud of being a modern Western nation; yet cling to the Austro-nesian language of the pre-colonial period?

    1. My social studies class used English textbooks. We learned more back then. Then they decided to change the curriculum and make everyone use Filipino textbooks. Growing up in a non-Tagalog province, we were all like WTF i don’t understand this?!?

      1. Yeah. Changing the language of those books was a f***ing stupid move. I’d rather have this country become a paradise at the cost of its identity, which, to be fair, is absolutely s****y. Once, it had some redeeming traits, Now, they are gone and those traits must be shed if we are to improve.

  8. English is my first language…I can speak and write Tagalog; but I prefer English. It is the language of Modern and Advanced Technology in any field. I work in the Technical Field. I never seen any Technical Book written in Tagalog.

    I studied in an American University. Had to pass : Test on English as Foreign Language (TOEFEL); before I was admitted in the University. In Graduate School; English was again the Medium of Instruction. I learned also other foreign languages.

    When I went to a career job. Foreign clients of the company that I work with, needs somebody who is multi-lingual. So, inspite of the color of my skin. I am always choosen to represent the company. I never used Tagalog, except to communicate with my relatives back home.

      1. @Jameboy:

        Definitely: YES!!!..YES!!!…and YES!!!…I live better…I have the position to help my relatives, back home…I go along well with others…I can communicate with foreigners …my job is better and with better income, than other OFWs…

        I have a good pal like you; who writes in GRP, also in English…what more can I say?

      2. If in terms of experiences he wasn’t likely to have gained were he ignorant of the language — pretty much. This is certainly true in my case; I would have been denied the pleasure of tapping into the vast riches of English-language literature if I were ignorant of the language.

        1. Yep, if you really wanna know more about the sciences and technology, you really have to know English nowadays. Even tech enthusiast countries like Japan and Taiwan are scrambling to learn English fluency to keep up.

      3. i got your point. we need to remove that kind of thinking. porket magaling ka sa ingles “mataas na ang tingin sa sarili.” hindi na totoo yan brad. let people who speak english speak it. if we are good at something but with bad attitude, our lives are meaningless. what defines us is not just our skills but character.

    1. The more languages you know like: French, Spanish, German, Dutch, British English, etc…the more you are valuable to the company you work with; and you can demand for a pay raise easily. They are afraid, you will go to their competitor; because you know too much…

      1. It might be the aversion to competition of some Filipinos which leads them to “discourage” the learning of English to their peers.

  9. Mas maayos sana kung ipinunto mong pag-aralan munang maigi ang Filipino kaysa English. Maaaring nakaririnig ka ng mga diyalogong “bakit ka nag-Eenglish, e Filipino ka” pero sa bandang huli, nagsasalita pa rin tayong lahat ng English. Ang nakalulungkot nga lang, mas metikuloso tayo sa pag-Eenglish. Mas inaaral natin ang balarila ng English kaysa sa Filipino. Mali ang ihambing tayo sa mga Koreano dahil bago nila inaral ang wikang English ay niyakap muna nila ang sarili nilang wika. Ibang-ibang sa situwasyon sa Pilipinas. Kompitensiya ang tingin natin sa dalawang wika. At parang habang tumatagal, unti-unting natatalo ang sarili nating wika.

    Huwag sana nating kalimutang pag-aralan pa ang Filipino gaya ng pag-aaral natin sa English.

      1. Tagalista. 😀

        ang pinupunto niya ata ay lagi ng pinag-debate kung anong language magproprosper ang Pilipinas na hindi naman kailangan pagtalunan. Kasi at the end of the day, Pilipino ay marunong at nakakaintindi ng English ( hindi man good grammar o pronunciation). Ang importante nagkakaintindihan, palengkera o Filipino accent pa man ang pag-English.

        Iba-ibang profession, iba-ibang skills ang kailangan i-master para umunlad.

    1. @eOw phoU:

      Kastoy: anya aya ti ammum nga “Filipino”? Gamin ket ti ammo ti kaaduan, ti Filipino ket Tagalog. Nu agsurat ak kastoy, Filipino pay met kano. Maawatam aya ti panagsurat ko kastoy uray nu “Filipino” ti panagkapagep ti kaaduan?

  10. I’m a full blooded Filipino (whatever exactly is in the mix is probably too small to amount to anything) born and raised within Imperial Manila. My mother tongue is of course Tagalog, but somehow, probably because of exposure to MacGyver (which was extremely popular back in the 80’s), Airwolf and a ton of English written books dropped on me by my parents, I picked up English early on and knew the language quite well… good enough to hold conversations at length with a number of expats I’d met as a child.

    I went on to elementary school (an all boys private school) and was pretty much laughed at by my classmates for being able to speak English well, write it well and spell words they did not even know existed. I’m not positing myself as an ultra smart dude, but the problem was that my classmates didn’t know good English, and were afraid of speaking it because they didn’t know it well enough. Hence they laugh at peers (like myself) who’re able to speak it well. And little old me, being a gullible 8 year old, played along with them, trying my best to speak “barok” English so I wouldn’t be laughed at. It didn’t quite work out well, so I dropped the act.

    A lot of Filipinos are not comfy with a fellow Filipino speaking English well, it’s almost like an inferiority complex that they’d wished to speak like that but somehow can’t. So the next best thing is what we Filipinos do best – lambast those who can to no end so they’d shut up and talk in Tagalog. I hear though that Cebuanos take great pride with their English skills, and do not really belittle those who speak to them in English.

    I understand their predicament though – I want to learn to speak Bisaya / Cebuano fluently but I haven’t found the time to do so. I’m up for preserving our native dialects (can’t really call Filipino a language on it’s own because it’s mostly Tagalog, which is more of a dialect within the Southern Tagalog region) as much as we can, but we should move with the world as well, and this is where English (and really soon, Chinese) will come into play.

    Rizal, to those who see him as a National Hero, was a polyglot. I don’t think he’d think small of people who are able to speak other languages.

    1. I remember going through high school baroquing my English as well. But then again I learned to speak and appreciate the local dialect. My goal then was to become equally bilingual in English and the dialect. Really I spoke the dialect terribly back then. And I was made fun of because I was english-speaking. It was shameful at times, but I understood that it was a part of my heritage and that I needed to identify with the community so little by little I stuck with it. And later I uncovered a bunch of books and magazines written in the dialect (turns out I learn faster from reading than from speaking with my friends). So now I can say I’m fully bilingual.

      So I’m just saying is that people should not be ashamed to try to speak other languages. How else would you learn? You’ll make mistakes but it is to be expected.

      1. I agree with you on that sir. One of my fervent wishes is to be able to speak fluently in as many languages / dialects as I can. Good communication skills foster understanding.

  11. What pisses me off is misplaced English-talking. Like obvious pinays talking in high-brow Californian English to a jeepney driver. A jeepney driver. Or someone talking to me in English when I insist on talking in Tagalog/Bisaya since we’re just neighbors.

    1. This is also probably why a lot of people feel “intimidated” when someone speaks in English to them – they feel belittled. Same is true with Tagalogs looking down on people who speak Bisaya. Tsk.

    1. BS. I’ve been to NYC lately. Although the Big Apple is a melting pot/mosaic of cultures, to say that no one even speaks English there is an extreme exaggeration.

  12. So what’s the current attitude of Filipinos attempting to learn or speak Mandarin, Japanese or Korean? Probably the same derision I guessing.

  13. People should understand that English is not a “foreign” tongue for us anymore. A large anglophone community exists here and by that I mean a community of people who speak English as a first language, a community of Filipinos whose first word was an English word and it has been this way for generations. This community is no less Filipino than the monolingual T’boli speaker.

    This anglophone community is also self-sustaining, meaning that it will continue to produce generation after generation of English speakers as naturally as Hiligaynon, Bisaya, Waray, Cebuano, Panggalatok, Ilocano and Kapampangan speakers sustain their community.

    A language at this stage is no longer the language of the colonizer, it is our own. Why can you not love it or give importance to it?

    In an ideal world, learning several language should not hinder facility in any of those languages. On the contrary, polyglots will have sharper minds, more culturally aware and open-minded. So why do we have such a problem with English?

    Remember, the Spanish friars defied their Spain’s order to teach us their language because they didn’t want us to gain access to their books and their ideas. They did not want us to be empowered and ultimately to rebel against them. Turns out, the Friars had nothing to be afraid of. So shame on us!

    So English definitely needs a revival.

  14. it’s called a prestige language. get over it: manila’s the center of power. if ever any other city were the center of power, i’m still learning the language. lucky for us we have 1-2 languages to unify the country, and it’s being taught in public schools. so whoever’s not taking advantage of this is missing a huge opportunity. whining about filipino being more similar to tagalog than to other philippine languages/dialects is the excuse of one who finds it hard to learn

      1. Hello Everyone And I Thank You All For Discussing This Very Important Issue For The Unity and Advancement of The Philippines. I Do Believe Their Needs To Be Deeper, Further Discussions About This For A Very Long Time To Come. I Believe The Most Important Question’s To Ask Are:

        1) Can Every Filipino Properly With Full understanding Communicate With One another, To Be United As One People With One Country?
        2) If The Philippines Went To Do Business With The Rest Of The World, Could Every or Any Filipino Accomplish This?
        3)If The Answer To 1 and 2 Are NO Then What Can Be Done To Change This ?

        Start With AN OPEN MIND!, We Are Here To Discuss and Find A Way To Unite 100,000,000(one hundred million) Filipinos, So They May Unite As One People(Not the currently accepted division of “Oh Who Cares, I’m From Bla-Bla-Bla”. It IS NOT THE LANGUAGE, IT IS UNITY OF THE PEOPLE AS ONE. Start With This http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_the_Philippines

        Thank You Again and God Bless The Philippines. David

  15. “Subukan ninyo mag-OFW, at magsalita kayo ng Talalog sa Boss ninyo sa trabaho.” Surely, you will be sent home. If not, you are assigned to low paying menial jobs…You cannot “Eat” your “nationalism”, especially if you go international…Aquino cannot even create enough jobs, for all of us…

  16. May I ask if the author of this article already watched the movie “English Only Please” as he cited this as an example of Filipino being anti- English.
    This is so subjective, isn’t we make laugh of those people who cant express themselves in straight English. We are pro English. We are wowed by those people who are fluent in speaking English and we are trained to be one. Maybe your pertaining to proper venue of using English. Its not prohibited in our country to speak English instead we are encourage to learn it. However you have to take into consideration that not are all can speak and understand English and you have just misinterpreted them. Public places such as public markets and public transpo, there’s no need to speak in English there. You have to be sensitive enough when to use and speak English unless you don’t know how to communicate in Tagalog.

    1. I also acknowledge you can’t force the language. My article is just against the extremist and activist segment of anti-English, and I used the movie picture as bait. But the way local movies are in general seem to imply a contempt for English even if the speaker is not arrogant.

      1. Maybe that is your experience. I don’t know who’s extremist/activist your pertaining to. I just can say that speak English when there is a need to, in the right place, with the right person. In some Visayas provinces people there used to speak and understand English rather than Tagalog.

  17. I think the issue about using English in the Philippines is that a lot of Filipinos who use it frequently can sometimes generate an air of arrogance around them. I know I’m generalising but you know what I mean: haven’t you met that person who only uses English/Taglish with you even though they can speak perfectly in a Filipino dialect but refuse to because they hope to look more superior/rich/sophisticated?

    By no means am I saying that this is the case for everyone. But I’ve observed that I’ve run into quite a lot of people like this. Nonetheless I still support Filipinos learning English because I think it’s a really important skill especially with increasing globalisation. We’d just do well to remember that fluent English does not give permission for hubris.

    1. Keep in mind that certain Filipinos exhibit hubris anyway, regardless of whether or not they speak English well.

      haven’t you met that person who only uses English/Taglish with you even though they can speak perfectly in a Filipino dialect but refuse to because they hope to look more superior/rich/sophisticated?

      Regardless of language, it seems that certain Filipinos go around looking for anything that they can be superior to fellow Filipinos in. It’s just too bad that they even use their English ability as one of many possible means to project such self-perceived “superiority”.

  18. Ah, yes, I forgot to put this in my article. A friend told me this story of a class discussing Tagalog. The teacher was saying Tagalog was also an effective language. One of the female students disagreed, saying “I still believe English is more effective.” The teacher blew up, saying, “Putang ina! Kontra ng kontra ka, tama ka ba? Lumabas ka ng kwarto ngayon din!” The student went out of the room, crying. A little later, the teacher came out, smiling. “See what I mean.”

    1. The question will always be, effective in what? For sure, Tagalog is not lacking in ways to express emotion. But any language can do that. In fact that is a minimum feature. Is Tagalog, however, an effective language for communicating knowledge that will help in the advancement and progress of society? It cannot communicate/produce concepts that are not natively practiced by its users; it merely translates them.

  19. Marian can say what she did because she doesn’t work in a call center. Kawawa naman mga nag ca-call center if they apply what she said to themselves.

  20. French is my native language. I have been working for, now, nearly 20 years in English.
    I spent 5 years working in Spain and I became quite fluent in Spanish.
    I can manage not to starve in Thailand thanks to having mastered some basic Thai.The same is valid for Italy.
    My German and Dutch need some refreshing and my Tagalog is still very basic.

    But when I tell some Filipinos they can get easily a job in Metro Manila paying 50-90k PHP/month provided they master sufficiently a foreign language such as Spanish or French….they look at me like I just arrived from the moon….

  21. “….. there are still smart-alecks who believe Filipinos should not speak English.”
    I don’t know, I haven’t met anyone who have that kind of thinking. If there are, they are in the minority.

    Anyway, when it comes to English, Filipinos is a mixture of everything. There are the well-offs and educated ones who are highfalutin. They love to flaunt and brag and broadcast. Too proud of either or both their educational background and/or economic/political stature that they speak English all the time to everyone. We usually see these people in the high class level of society. And then there are those with the same background but who are more ‘maka-masa’. Those whose feet are planted on the ground, so to speak. They speak good English as well as Tagalog/vernaculars. They base their speaking capability defending on whom they are talking with or on the occasion. That class is followed by another group which we call the middle class. Most of them can speak good passable English. They are the kind that are in-demand abroad for their skills/knowledge and for English proficiency. Though in the middle class level, it is not rare to find highfalutin and arrogant ones. In the mix with these groups are the lower educated people who can converse, if engaged, in understandable English.

    Overall, I really have no idea if there is a serious problem when it comes to English as a language for Pinoys. All I know is I never heard of foreigners complaining that nobody understood them or they had difficulty communicating with the locals, etc. I often hear Pinoys vs. Pinoys over the English language. But that’s understandble given the facts I enumerated above. 🙂

  22. Ang dami dami mo lagi sinasabi Chino eh palamunin ka pa ng nanay mong retired at ginagamit mo pera niya pambili ng mga putanginang Gundam na laruan mo palibasa wala kang trabaho dahil blog ka ng blog. Akala mo ang tali talino mo eh mukha ka namang retarded. Tanginamo huwag ka na magsalita

    1. Parang ikaw utak squatter na inaatake mo ang author at hindi ang mensahe kasi hindi ka makaisip ng matino. Ngayon bumalik ka na sa kakakain mo ng pagpag inutil.

  23. Learning and speaking English is like education. Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one. Education is a painful, continual and difficult work to be done in kindness, by watching, by warning, by praise, but above all — by example.

  24. Honestly, I don’t mind people being a bit bad in language if they can get their message across, like this one:

    ‘we filipinos are so hypocrete. we live on lies and half truth.

    when I was a kid (am now 40 [years old]) our elders never give us straight answer. one day while playing to my female friend, we were both taking a bath (nude and I was 5 [years old]) I shout “ay pepe” [and] my aunt scolded me for saying bad words.

    another was, when I ask my aunt again how did I come out in this world. and without hesitation she said “galing ka sa puwet”.

    there’s alot more lies and half truth i learn from my elders, when we went to US at my age of 10 [years old], I was so surprised how ordinary folks explain everything as if am talking to them as the same age as mine. up to now am still wandering why we filipinos doesnt treat kids as intellectual and the future of our country, in the philippines, youth are deprive of ideas what is better for them. look who’s the one talking and explaining everything on tv,radios or in press con. FVR 78 [years old], DOJ Gonzales 78 [years old], Ex Gen Abat 80 [years old], Sec Ermita and other’s who as if t[h]ey will still live by hundred years and cannot accept that their ideas are already “kalawang”. please you oldies, give the youth what is best for the country and for them.

    now I know if only I was around when Pres Quezon said “I would rather see the Philippines [run] like hell by filipinos than run like heaven by the americans”, I will be the one to say you dont know what youre saying. suppose we held a referendum and ask every filipinos if they want the Philippines to be part of USA as one of his member in State? [I] am sure it will get a landslide vote of yes. yes to be a member of United State of America.

    but hypocrete will say, that’s traitor, that’s treason and maybe that [is] destabilazation.

    thank you and hope that we filipinos one day wake up, there’s no hope with our politicians.

    “evil to triumph in the Philippines, let all good filipino men and women do nothing and let our politician`s do their thing”‘

    1. ‘we filipinos are so hypocrete. we live on lies and half truth.

      when I was a kid (am now 40 [years old]) our elders never give us straight answer. one day while playing to my female friend, we were both taking a bath (nude and I was 5 [years old]) I shout “ay pepe” [and] my aunt scolded me for saying bad words.

      another was, when I ask my aunt again how did I come out in this world. and without hesitation she said “galing ka sa puwet”.
      Could be your religious background is so strong that your relatives tend to protect you from what they think will pollute your mind, hence, they will say things just to settle you down.

      And your family is just one of the many families back in the day where the youngs are protected from anything that have a tinge of malice.

      That’s what we are, our culture. The pull of religion in our lives was so strong back then, and up to now.

  25. ..”César Hidalgo and his team at MIT Media Lab, however, would still argue for the preeminence of English. They published a study in late December that identifies English as the most influential language in the world”

    Why English, Not Mandarin, Is the Language of Innovation


  26. English is not culturally Filipino, whereas Spanish is! After all Filipinos are Hispanic Catholics, celebrate fiestas, have merienda, eat adobo, chocolate con churros, have Spanish surnames, names of streets, town, cities and regions are all in Spanish. Manuel Quezón was a Spanish speaker who had difficulty with English. US English is forced down the throats of Filipinos, I believe, as the US provides financial aid to the archipelago. What a pity most Filipinos have little idea of their Hispanic past and heritage.

    1. I don’t mind Filipinos learning Spanish, but I don’t think English is forced down Filipinos’ throats these days. And between Spanish and English, English is what opens more doors, since it’s more widespread as an international language even in media. Frankly, cultural sentiments or even pride is no reason to keep using a language. Use it because it’s practical.

  27. Speaking English doesn’t make any Filipino lesser of Filipino values or lesser proud of he is as a Filipino. Speaking other languages other than Filipino language makes you more competent in socializing and communicating your ideas to any person around the world. For a Filipino who can’t speak the Filipino language, it will be nice to know that you are at least interested in learning the language, that way you can understand Filipinos who can’t communicate in English. And for a Filipino who can communicate in other languages other than the Filipino language, use it as a tool to communicate yourself being a Filipino for them to learn the beauty and culture of a Filipino.

  28. Speaking English doesn’t make you less of a Filipino. In fact it is even wrong to say so. Why is that? The term Filipino is not an ethnicity nor a race but our CITIZENSHIP.

    As a Zamboangueño I never speak Tagalog in my daily life growing up in my own hometown – Zamboanga City, except of course in the Tagalog Subject where the subject itself requires student to become Tagalized.

    When I became an OFW, I often started use the English Language as most of my colleagues belong to different citizens of the world. I also use English even to fellow Citizens of Filipinas as I am NOT oblige to be Tagalized and speak Tagalog for them. I am a Zamboangueño and therefore I am not oblige.

    I know, I always encountered people with pathetic mentality like “Aren’t you Filipino? Why do you speak English?” Then I always replied with “Are all Filipino citizens, Tagalog? Well, I’m not a Tagalog but a Zamboangueño and so I’m not oblige to speak your language. Are you allergic with English?”. really!!! I really hate those kind of people…..

    Anyhow, I do believe that English is the right Lingua Franca or Bridge Language for us all Filipino Citizens due to its being “Ethnolinguistically Neutral and Non-Biased” – meaning it does not represent nor favor a certain Ethnolinguistic Nation/s in Filipinas. In fact I even support the abolition the concept of having a national language, remove kwf and all accounts in the constitution that support Tagalism but rather advocate towards Ethnolinguistic Democracy with Equality and Equity, towards a new system “Mother Tongue + English” and hopefully this can be materialized when we finally shifted to FEDERAL-PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT.

  29. Well if Anti- English sentiment is Anti-Fillipino sentiment then 98% of all Fillipinos must be anti-Fillipino. I am a a native English speaker from the originating host country of the language and every single day my ” incorrect” English gets ” corrected” by Fillipinos into American. I am told, in no uncertain way, that a bottle is a battle, as in two armed forces colliding. That a tomatoe is a tomaytoe, that glasses are eye glasses, that there is no such thing as a rubbish bin and that the item is a trash can. I am not being advised of alternative descriptions, I am directly being ” corrected”. I have spoken to a Phillipine man who was partially educated in London and who failed his English examination upon returning to school in the Phillipines, because he used that incorrect, wrong language that pretends to be English from a country called, oh, let me see, what’s it called again. Oh yes, England, the originating host country of the language of English. If I go to Thailand, just for example, and correct their Thai version of English to that which emanates from the host country of the language, I will be thanked. If I use the host country language of English in the Phillipines, I am treated with almost contempt and “corrected” to a US variant dialect. How would Phillipine people feel if I corrected their Elongo, Tagalog, or Basaya to that of a modified dialect that I had overheard being spoken in China. Would I be thanked for my gracious and helpful comments, or would I be looked at like an idiot? Yes. It is understood that the US version of English is the favoured in the Phillipines, but there is definitely an attitude problem here when the language, as spoken on the standard originating host country version is treated with almost contempt by many. You will hear people say things like the spoken English in the Phillines is so good that we train people to have American accents, and people think that I am an American because I have an American accent. That would be comical, if it was not so daft a statement. It sums up a very big issue in the Phillipines. How many times have I encountered other foreigners who are sick and tired of being called Americans by the name of Joe. It is not humerous, it is frustrating, sickening and tiring. If I go to a former French colony in Asia such as Cambodia, Loas or Vietnam, no one shouts at me in slang French and calls me Francoir. It’s not funny. It’s stupid and sickening. And it is very, very, very insulting!!!

  30. Maybe injection of English, American English & Spanish are needed where local dialects have reached their limits…

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