By Felix Villacruz
A sophisticated lady in Manila got annoyed when I corrected her to pronounce Butuan the right way. But-wan, not pronounced “Bu-tu-an”.
I should be the one annoyed with her and some others who wrongly pronounced my city by the mighty river.
To me, those who wrongly say it are irresponsible and careless. Some ignorantly asked where it is and only showed their ignorance in geography even if they came from Davao. Hello! They haven’t gone to high school?
When I was in high school, our teacher would ask the capital of every province in the country. We would memorize it but more than memorizing we study the characteristics of the provinces, like the culture of Muslim Mindanao and the Ivatans of Batanes. It’s very fascinating.
But ever since Butuan has always been mispronounced. This is because people think it’s the same way as “Ca-ba-na-tu-an” and they don’t know where it is. Much more of Butuan. Some think it’s a small town somewhere in Davao and Cotabato.
People unfortunately only know of the big three—Davao City, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga City. When will the city of Butuan rise and pronounced correctly?
Not so long, we hope, Butuan being pushed today by the city government as a destination of meetings, exhibits, conferences and incentives (MICE). Maybe this time we will be popularly known, and pronounced decently and correctly. Like people will say “see you in Butwan!”
To that lady who resented my rectification, please remember Butuan has only two syllables and come visit us sometime.