This article is available in Spanish.
The city of Cavite is celebrating the “Dia de Chabacano 2021,” an almost month-long festival of its Chavacano (or Chabacano) language and culture, from Oct. 23 to Nov. 21.
This year, the festival’s theme is “Orgulloso de nisos lenguaje y cultura chabacano” (“Proud of our Chabacano language and culture”). The event coincides with the Cavite city festival, which is held every November, in honor of the city’s patron saint Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga. The Virgen de la Soledad and the Chavacano language are both “priceless treasures deeply embedded in every hearts and minds” of the Chabacano Caviteños for centuries, according to the festival’s organizers.
A Chabacano Mass will be held at San Roque Parish on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. The said mass will be held for the first time during the city’s festival, and the annual celebration of the city’s patron saint has always been the festival’s highlight.
The Dia de Chabacano 2021 will also host the culinary event “Comidas Chabacano.” A cooking show promoting Chavacano cuisine will be organized and sponsored by local restaurateur Edwin Guinto of the coffee shop Café Antix. There will also be a promotional event from participating restaurants and shops.
Tamales, a well-known delicacy of Cavite city will also be featured in a competition, which aims to promote the local dish that is staple of native Chabacano Caviteños for special occasions.
Other activities include a book donation drive; youth competitions; launch of “Ñora Monang Version 2”; a webinar on the history of city; and the recognition awards for individuals and organizations that promoted the use and helped preserve the Chavacano language in Cavite city.
The Dia de Chabacano festival was established in 2009 by the organization Sociedad Historica del Ciudad de Cavite and its advocacy arm, Chabacano Siempre, to promote the Cavite Chavacano, a Spanish-based creole language.
“I together with the late Dr. Enrique R. Escalante founded the Dia de Chabacano precisely with the mission to promote and preserve our Chabacano language which during the 70s was the lingua franca of Ciudad Cavite,” Louie Chin, chairman and co-founder of the festival, told La Jornada Filipina via email.
Cavite Chavacano, however, is considered to be endangered. “At present, it’s more or less 10% of the population that speak Chabacano,” Chin said.
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