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FILIPINO MONTH – “Wika ng Karunungan” is the theme of the month of national language celebrated every August, in honor of the Father of Filipino, President Manuel Quezon, born Aug. 19.
Quezon looked every inch a Spaniard, “Kastila” he was called, but realizing the importance of having a “wikang pambansa,” he proclaimed Filipino as the official language of the Philippines, which is based in Tagalog.
FLUENT – Actors and other celebrities who are fluent in Filipino come to mind, starting with two of our greatest actresses, Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos.
Although a Bicolana (Camarines Sur), Nora speaks good Filipino, the diction and intonation pitch perfect. Same can be said of Vilma, who can speak Filipino with the right Batangas accent, even if her roots are Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.
But then Ate Vi served as Lipa City mayor and Batangas governor for nine years each. She is the current congresswoman of Lipa.
Pilita Corrales is Cebuana-Española, but when she sings Filipino songs her diction is perfect, not a hint of Visayan accent. Of course, she is not that fluent in conversational Filipino.
Prof. Randy David speaks beautiful Filipino, deep and elegant. To think he is Kapampangan.
Phillip Salvador is another fine Filipino speaker. As they say, “suabeng-suabe.”
Like Nora, Eddie Garcia is from Bicol (Sorsogon), but watch him “play” with Filipino in movies, be they action, comedy, drama, or even sexy.
WRITERS & OTHERS – A proud Waray (Leyte), the late Justo C. Justo “enriched” Filipino in his “Etchos Lang” column in the pre-marital law “The Sun.” Think of all those naughty terms he coined “kumakain ng apoy,” “nagba-ballet sa nagbabagang tingga,” “galing sa cueva vaca,” “lumuluhod nang walang belo.”
Another Waray fluent in Filipino is Aster Amoyo (Samar).
Not to forget two others from Samar, Ricky Lo and Bibeth Orteza whose Filipino writings are excellent. But then they are also at home in English.
But the most “poetic” of ’em all is Cristy Fermin, who writes and speaks in flawless Filipino. Cristy is from Nueva Ecija, just like Anthony “Ka Tunying” Taberna, who is also very fluent in Filipino.
Bongbong Marcos is an Ilocano and educated in England, yet he speaks very good Filipino. Same can be said of sister Imee.
Jobert Sucaldito is Ilonggo, but he speaks Filipino like a native Tagalog.
This columnist remembers Lino Brocka perorating in Filipino, in flawless Filipino… laced with curses and four-letter words. Lino was “promdi” (Nueva Ecija).
French-speaking Ishmael Bernal used to speak on the set in nothing but Filipino, at times “singing” to prove a point, like “paru-parong bukid” and “ang bakya mo Neneng.”
So there. It takes all kinds.