Sunday, July 21, 2013

Of Letters F's and P's

The end of the PHILIPPINES?

One of the current bones of contention in the cultural and political aspect of our country is the urge of the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino to replace the country's name from Philippines or Pilipinas to Filipinas.

If "Philippines" is a vestige of continuing American imperialism, then logically "Filipinas" is a symbol of Spanish colonialism. Truth be told in the first place that it was a Spanish conqueror who named our islands as "Filipinas" in honor for their king.

For me, with so many fuss surrounding this issue, the three names - Philippines, Filipinas, and Pilipinas - are as valid as anyone's opinion. We just have to use them in the proper context - Philippines in English; Filipinas in Spanish; Pilipinas in our own.

By still using "Pilipinas" and not "Filipinas" in our local parlance, we indiginized the original Spanish name by writing and uttering it in the comfort of our native tongue, that is by using P instead of F - a letter that did not exist in our original alphabet and does not exist so much in our present manner of speaking.

We adopted "Pilipinas" from the original spelling because we wanted an identity that is uniquely our own - a sign that though we cannot deny a colonial past, we still embrace an independent present. Nothing has to be changed at all - nothing really in the stamps, documents, universities.

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As a conclusion, I stick to this rule:

Say PHILIPPINES in the international usage. Say FILIPINAS if you are in the Spanish world. Say PILIPINAS when you are speaking in the native tongue.

And by stating that rule, I may just declare: Longlive Philippines! Viva Filipinas! Mabuhay Pilipinas!

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