Arts and Culture

How Does the Philippine Spanish Accent Sound Like?

Spanish was once the national language of the Philippines. But how does the real Philippine Spanish accent sound like?

But due to the Americans’ intervention, it was replaced by English as the de facto language. In 1987, former President Corazon Aquino removed it as one of the country’s official languages—finally letting it disappear into oblivion.

As a Filipino learning Spanish, you might be wondering how the native Filipino Spanish speakers sounded before. And in case you need some proof that Filipinos actually spoke it before, I compiled a list of videos that show how their accent differs from that of other Spanish speakers around the world. From the vivacious people of Zamboanga City, to our former presidents and some elderly people, you’ll be convinced that Spanish was really ours.

Let’s start off with Emilio Aguinaldo delivering a speech in Spanish:

Emilio Aguinaldo Speaking Spanish

Then, here’s a voice recording of Manuel Quezon doing that as well:

Here’s Elpidio Quirino addressing the Hispanic community during a reception program in Malacañang:

And then here’s a compilation of videos of elderly people speaking in Spanish:

According to the video, they are native Filipino Spanish speakers.

Don’t forget Chavacano, a Spanish-based creole language in Zamboanga City:


Spanish might not have survived today—it’s not as prevalent as English. But the recordings above are proof that it was once our language, and it will continue to be in the future.

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Arvyn Cerézo
Arvyn Cerézo is the editor of La Jornada Filipina, the first and largest Spanish-language news magazine in the Philippines. His work has appeared in South China Morning Post, Publishers Weekly, AudioFile Magazine, Asian Review of Books and Book Riot. You can find him on arvyncerezo.com.

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