Learning Filipino and Mr. Ronan B. Capinding

I was at my son's school for the 2nd quarter Reading of Honors (yes, thank you.. thank you... bow). I came early, as usual, and caught part of the talk of the speaker for the Grade 7 Reading of Honors.

The speaker was Mr. Ronan B. Capinding. I assumed he taught Filipino in High School as he was talking about the importance of learning Filipino and seeing the Grade 7 boys when they reach High School. Before I started writing this entry, I did a quick search on Google for his name and learned that he also teaches Theater Arts. He has also written a book entitled: Ikaw at ang Kawili-wiling Wika.

He was a very lively speaker -- very spontaneous and witty and he talked about a topic that struck close to home. If you talk to most parents these days, you will probably discover that most kids are having a difficult time with Filipino and/or Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies). Blame it on 24-hour Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon but the kids of today do not speak or understand Filipino as well as we did during our time. Take my son, for example, of all his subjects in school, we spend the most time studying his Filipino subjects. It was a pity that my son didn't hear Mr. Capinding speak but I will, of course, share the message with him when he gets home later.

During one portion of his speech, Mr. Capinding was asking the Grade 7 boys about the English words for certain Filipino words.

Ano sa English ang "aso"? The boys answered "dog."

Ano sa English ang "hanapbuhay"? The boys answered "work."

Ano sa English ang "kaligayahan"? The boys answered "happiness."

E, ano sa English ang "kilig"? Silence and/or murmurs from the boys.

Ang "gigil"? More silence.

Ang "sayang"?

The adults in the audience were thinking too. Mr. Capinding then said that there are certain words in the Filipino language with no direct equivalent in English. He then tells an anecdote about this student who approached a Jesuit teacher and asked (in a sing-song, sosyal manner): "Why do we need to learn Philosophy in Filipino?" Tiningnan nung guro yung estudyante at "nagmura." Napaiyak yung estudyante. The teacher then says: "You see. It works." "Mas nararamdaman natin ang mga salita sa Filipino."

He says that Filipino is not at all hard to learn. "Lumabas ka lang diyan, may makakausap ka na ng Filipino."

He then asked the boys: "Pano ang plural sa Filipino?" The boys answered by saying "mga." E, sa Ingles? (Lots of rules to remember right?)

Madali din sa pandinig at pagbigkas ang Filipino. Ang letter "p," halimbawa -- pagkain. Simple lang. E, sa Ingles, letter "p" -- p for psychology. (The audience laughs at this point.)

He then relates how he asked the boys to write down their thoughts for the topic: "Bakit kawawa ka naman kung di ka marunong ng Filipino o bakit dapat marunong ka ng Filipino." Here are some of the things that I remembered that he shared with the audience and the Grade 7 boys:

-Hindi ka makakasakay ng jeep (Hindi mo puwedeng sabihan ang jeep ng STOP)
-Hindi ka makakahingi ng tulong pag na-hold-up ka
-Hindi ka papasa
-Hindi ka puwedeng magshopping sa Divisoria
-Hindi mo maiintindihan ang Filipino mong girlfriend
-Wala kang pambara.
-Hindi mo maaasar ng todo ang kaklase mo.
-Mas malutong ang mura sa Filipino.
-And my favorite, "Ayon kay Rizal, mabaho ka."

He then asks the audience to translate this sentence (which I've heard before): "Pang-ilang pangulo ng Pilipinas si GMA?" (Angel's note: Mahirap talaga yan -- and it has nothing to do with knowing Filipino. Haha.)

I only heard parts and portions of the speech of Mr. Capinding but what I heard was enough to make me hope that he would still be teaching in High School when my son got there. The point of his whole speech is Filipino is easy and that as Filipinos, we must learn it and speak it.

He ends his speech with another short story (not an exact quotation but this is the message):

Sabihin natin na ikaw ay may alagang isda. Ang isda mo ay lumilipad. Magaling, di ba? Marunong din siyang kumahol. Habang lumilipad at kumakahol, kaya niya din magdasal ng Our Father. Ang galing di ba? Pero hindi siya marunong lumangoy. Matatawag mo ba siya na "magaling na isda"? Hindi, di ba? Dahil ang paglangoy ang nagbibigay ng pagkaisda sa isang isda. Matatawag mo lang siyang isang "magaling na ewan."

Ganon din tayong mga Filipino. Puwede kang magaling sa lahat -- sa Math at kung saan-saan pa, ngunit kung hindi ka marunong mag-Filipino, isa ka lang "magaling na ewan." Dahil ang pagsasalita ng Filipino ang magbibigay ng pagka-Pilipino sa bawat Pilipino.

I'm glad that there are teachers who can communicate very well and who seem to be very passionate about their subject matter. I hope they stay in the Philippines. =)

To our readers who do not understand Filipino, please excuse this Filipino-laden entry. It does not make much sense to translate the words into English as a lot of the message will be "lost in translation." Till the next regular English blog entry.

[By Angelica Viloria | Wednesday, November 15, 2006]

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