Opinion

Should We Replace Filipino With Spanish? Here’s What ‘Redditors’ Think

Various “Hispanista” pages have sprouted up in Facebook in the last couple of years. Is it time to reinstate Spanish as official language in the Philippines?

A Facebook page named The Hispanic Renaissance in the Philippines caused quite a stir on reddit last week. A screenshot of one of the page’s posts, which advocates the use of Spanish instead of Tagalog, was shared on reddit by user kevin_235. “Hispanistas’ take on our country’s language ‘issue’: replace Tagalog with Spanish to stop Tagalog ‘superiority complex,’” the user captions.

Hispanistas’ take on our country’s language “issue”: replace Tagalog with Spanish to stop Tagalog “superiority complex” from r/Philippines

The page claims that “Tagalog-biased language education policy do not encourage Tagalog first language (L1) speakers to learn non-Tagalog languages like Cebuano or Ilocano because they think that all non-Tagalog Filipinos speak their language like they are and to stop their superiority complex towards non-Tagalogs ….” One commenter in the Facebook post suggested that the page should be renamed as “The Anti-Tagalog Renaissance of the Philippines: Spanish Simp Edition.”

“Redditors,” what reddit users call themselves, are divided in their opinions whether Spanish should “replace” Filipino.

The “Hispanidad” Movement

For starters, “Hispanistas” want the Philippines to reconnect ties with Spain to improve diplomatic relations with the Spanish-speaking world. Who wouldn’t want that? We already have a good relationship with the United States and maybe China. If Spain helps us, it would be an additional ally — maybe the European Union would back us up as well. “Hispanistas” also want to reinstate Spanish as one of the official languages in the Philippines.

Others however, want to “replace” Filipino as the country’s official language, and some “have biased anti-Tagalog sentiments.” Hence, as the movement to revive Spanish is gaining traction in the Philippines, “Hispanistas” have been given a bad reputation. One reddit user said that “They are just as OA”  and another pointed out that “They are darn biased — most of them.”

In the reddit thread where the hullabaloo started, one user commented that “most peeps are having a tough time promoting one thing while bashing the other. Is friendly competition gonna be a thing in the bigger picture or hindi?”

As for La Jornada Filipina, editor Arvyn Cerézo lamented that “Hispanistas” are being depicted in a bad light.

“It horrified me [seeing the reddit post],” he said in an interview.

“Not everyone agrees with that, though. While we strongly promote the use of Spanish in the Philippines, we do not advocate the removal of Tagalog — or other Filipino languages — for our agenda. We discourage discrimination of Philippine cultures and indigenous languages. Our goal is for Spanish to co-exist with other local languages,” Cerézo added.

In another reddit thread, user tomtimmm argued that “We also need to respect the fact that Philippines is multi-linguistic and multi-cultural — Tagalog shouldn’t take precedence over other Filipino languages.”

Currently, the Philippines has over 170 languages. It is indeed unfair that we put so much attention to Tagalog while other languages are being ignored.

“We should adapt colonial languages (English and Spanish) as official languages, while protecting other languages (Tagalog, included, but also Bisaya, Ilocano, Waray, etc. etc.),” the user continued.


The views and opinions expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of La Jornada Filipina.


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Gonzalo Troye Navidad
Troye Navidad is a writer based in the Philippines.

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