By Eric Montano
There’s an eternal joke in the neighborhood about the lady househelp from the rural village who went to Manila for a month and came home and hardly can speak Bisaya as if she’d been away for a century.
She’s fond of saying, “ano eh, ganito…” She seems to make sure everybody including the cats and dogs remember she’s a “Manila girl.”
She thinks she has raised her status in the planet because “galing Manila eh.” No one knows or cares if its a worthy good joke until it becomes annoying.
Poor girl everyone reply to her in Bisaya until she remembers her homegrown dialect, though at first pretends like a real Manilan struggling with “palihug ko bi,” “Asa ka padulong?” “Moadto ko sa merkado.”
Her closest friends would tease her by covering their ears every time she “forgets” to speak Bisaya and fluently Tagalog. In fairness she speaks the dialect well like a real pro.
She has in fact a flair and ability for some languages but easily and too eagerly abandons Bisaya like a plague.
This is also a practice by young social-climbing middle-class crowd who think its “sosyal” to speak Tagalog for whatever silly reasons. But generally to raise themselves up because obviously they have a problem with themselves.
In my writing class a few years ago the students refuse to write in Bisaya because they said they are uncomfortable with it. They prefer to write in English and Tagalog but their English is pathetically horrible and their Tagalog is pretentious and awkward.
Come-on guys get a grip of yourselves and get real!
One student wrote in refreshingly Bisaya with so much wit and honesty. I proclaimed her the Valedictorian of the day. Everyone was surprised and I guess disappointed but I managed to get the message across. At the end of the class the student became like a rock star!
Back to the “Tagaloging” house help, I learned she’s now in China working as a caregiver/ house help/English tutor. Well, good for her. She is really that talented.
I know when she comes home she’d be talking Chinese to the neighbors, the cats and dogs.