Rizal Day trivia: “Mi Último Adiós

RIZAL DAY TRIVIA: José Rizal’s valedictory poem had no title. It was his friend and fellow propagandist Mariano Ponce who first gave it a title a year after his death. It was first called “Mi Último Pensamiento“, but it didn’t become popular. Then the following year, in 1898, Ponce’s Mi Último Pensamiento was replaced by “Mi Último Adiós“. The new title, this time ascribed by Ilocano priest Fr. Mariano Dacanay, first appeared in the patriotic newspaper “La Independencia” which was edited by Antonio Luna.

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¡Adiós, Patria adorada, región del sol querida,
Perla del mar de oriente, nuestro perdido Edén!
A darte voy alegre la triste mustia vida,
Y fuera más brillante, más fresca, más Florida,
También por ti la diera, la diera por tu bien.

En campos de batalla, luchando con delirio,
Otros te dan sus vidas sin dudas, sin pesar;
El sitio nada importa, ciprés, laurel o lirio,
Cadalso o campo abierto, combate o cruel martirio,
Lo mismo es si lo piden la patria y el hogar.

Yo muero cuando veo que el cielo se colora
Y al fin anuncia el día tras lóbrego capuz;
si grana necesitas para teñir tu aurora,
Vierte la sangre mía, derrámala en buen hora
Y dórela un reflejo de su naciente luz.

Mis sueños cuando apenas muchacho adolescente,
Mis sueños cuando joven ya lleno de vigor,
Fueron el verte un día, joya del mar de oriente,
Secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente,
Sin ceño, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor

Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo,
¡Salud te grita el alma que pronto va a partir!
¡Salud! Ah, que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo,
Morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo,
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir.

Si sobre mi sepulcro vieres brotar un día
Entre la espesa yerba sencilla, humilde flor,
Acércala a tus labios y besa al alma mía,
Y sienta yo en mi frente bajo la tumba fría,
De tu ternura el soplo, de tu hálito el calor.

Deja a la luna verme con luz tranquila y suave,
Deja que el alba envíe su resplandor fugaz,
Deja gemir al viento con su murmullo grave,
Y si desciende y posa sobre mi cruz un ave,
Deja que el ave entone su cántico de paz.

Deja que el sol, ardiendo, las lluvias evapore
Y al cielo tornen puras, con mi clamor en pos;
Deja que un ser amigo mi fin temprano llore
Y en las serenas tardes cuando por mí alguien ore,
¡Ora también, oh Patria, por mi descanso a Dios!

Ora por todos cuantos murieron sin ventura,
Por cuantos padecieron tormentos sin igual,
Por nuestras pobres madres que gimen su amargura;
Por huérfanos y viudas, por presos en tortura
Y ora por ti que veas tu redención final.

Y cuando en noche oscura se envuelva el cementerio
Y solos sólo muertos queden velando allí,
No turbes su reposo, no turbes el misterio,
Tal vez accordes oigas de cítara o salterio,
Soy yo, querida Patria, yo que te canto a ti.

Y cuando ya mi tumba de todos olvidada
No tenga cruz ni piedra que marquen su lugar,
Deja que la are el hombre, la esparza con la azada,
Y mis cenizas, antes que vuelvan a la nada,
El polvo de tu alfombra que vayan a formar.

Entonces nada importa me pongas en olvido.
Tu atmósfera, tu espacio, tus valles cruzaré.
Vibrante y limpia nota seré para tu oído,
Aroma, luz, colores, rumor, canto, gemido,
Constante repitiendo la esencia de mi fe.

Mi patria idolatrada, dolor de mis dolores,
Querida Filipinas, oye el postrer adiós.
Ahí te dejo todo, mis padres, mis amores.
Voy donde no hay esclavos, verdugos ni opresores,
Donde la fe no mata, donde el que reina es Dios.

Adiós, padres y hermanos, trozos del alma mía,
Amigos de la infancia en el perdido hogar,
Dad gracias que descanso del fatigoso día;
Adiós, dulce extranjera, mi amiga, mi alegría,
Adiós, queridos seres, morir es descansar.

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How Spanish is spoken in Filipinas

The following video shows how Spanish is spoken as an authentic Filipino language.

The recordings on this video (edited by Neptuno Azul) were made by Spanish scholars Antonio Quilis and Celia Casado-Fresnillo as they were interviewing native Filipino Spanish speakers. Their research resulted in the book “La Lengua Española en Filipinas” which was published ten years ago in Madrid, Spain.

The Spanish spoken in Filipinas is a variant of standard Spanish, or Spanish spoken in Spain, particularly in the capital which is Madrid. Unknown to many, there are several variants of Spanish (Colombian Spanish, Argentinian Spanish, Puerto Rican Spanish, etc.) as there are many variants of Tagálog (Batangueño Tagálog, Manileño Tagálog, etc.). Ours is very similar to the variant spoken in México because from there our country was ruled by Spain (México was then known as “Nueva España” or New Spain) from 1571 to 1821. During that period, there was much Spanish and Mexican emigration to Filipinas, hence the linguistic similarities.

As can be heard from the video, Filipino native speakers of Spanish do not speak the language as fast as other Spanish speakers from other countries. Perhaps the most obvious difference between Spanish Filipino and standard Spanish is that the voiceless dental fricative or /θ/ is not distinguished from the voiceless alveolar sibilant or /s/, a characteristic that we share with our Latin American counterparts (this lack of distinction between /s/ and /θ/ is called the seseo). There are other linguistic characteristics such as the yeísmo, the non-aspiration of the /s/, the shifting of the [ɾ] and [l] at the end of syllables, etc. These distinctions are best observed in a classroom setting (effectively provided by the Instituto Cervantes de Manila).

Another good example of Filipino Spanish can be heard right here, spoken by no less than our country’s first president, Emilio Aguinaldo.

While it is true that Spanish was not spoken as a first language by many Filipinos compared to other Spanish overseas subjects, it was spoken either as a secondary or tertiary language in our country. Add to the fact that schools during those days also taught French (back then the lingua franca of the international diplomacy), Latin, and even classical Greek and Hebrew. It is thus not surprising that Filipinos during those days were multilingual. A well-educated Tagálog spoke not just his cradle language but also Spanish and other languages taught to him in school. A Visayan wrote not just in Cebuano or Hiligaynón or Aclanon but also in Spanish. A Bicolano uttered his prayers in three languages: Bícol (Bícol Naga, Rinconada, etc.), Spanish, and Latin, perhaps even more. But it cannot be denied that the prevailing language back then was Spanish, the language that wove together both national unity and identity.

The origin of the word “undás

Each time All Saints’ Day draws near, we usually hear the word “undás” to pertain to it. Many people are puzzled as to the meaning of the term. Some who are well-versed in etymology say that it was derived from the Spanish word “honrar” meaning “to honor”, and it is associated to All Saints’ Day because we honor our dearly departed dead during this event.

But how did honrar become undás?

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I Precursori Di Cristo Con Tutti I Santi Ed I Martiri Del Paradiso (The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs), tempera on poplar wood by Fra Angelico.

When you conjugate the word honrar to the first person in present tense, it becomes “honras” (you honor). Filipinos back then tend to mispronounce many Spanish words, and through time, such words have evolved: “pared” became “pader“, “jabón” became “sabón“, “cebollas” became “sibuyas“, etc. In linguistics, this phenomenon is called sound change.

In some parts of Southern Luzón such as Batangas, Tayabas (now Quezon), and Mindoro Island, undás is pronounced as “undrás” (with an “r”). As you can now see, honras and undrás sound the same (by the way, the letter “h” has no sound in Spanish).

Now let’s go back to the Spanish word honrar. It is said that the use of the term undrás to pertain to the triduum of All Hallows’ Eve (October 31), All Saints’ Day (November 1), and All Souls Day (November 2) came first before it further got corrupted to undás through time. But we could even go back further and trace its roots to the Spanish term “honras fúnebres” which means “funeral honors”. This should close any doubt that undás or undrás originated from honras.

Spanish in our history

I stumbled upon this interesting video by Paul who manages YouTube’s Langfocus regarding the brief history of the Spanish language. In just a little over eight minutes, he was able to explain its origins, how it spread out to different parts of the globe, commented on the Spanish-Castellano controversy, and even mentioned the countries that still use it as an official language.

At the 1:13 mark, however, Paul mentioned something hurtful (at least to me). “It also used to be an official language of the Philippines but it is not anymore”, he said.

 

But it’s true, anyway. Spanish was our country’s official language beginning 24 June 1571 but was unceremoniously booted out from the 1987 Constitution, the main reason being that there are only few Filipinos who speak it. While arguments about this reason continue to this day, particularly in various Facebook groups and pages concerning the Spanish language in Filipinas, it cannot be denied that the non-inclusion of the Spanish language in our present constitution is an act of gross disrespect towards our country’s history. In the words of the late Senator Blas Ople, we have “disinvited ourselves” from the Hispanic world when the framers of our present constitution removed Spanish. Just ponder over the following instances…

The proclamation of our independence was read out in Spanish. Our first constitution, the Constitución de Malolos, was written entirely in Spanish. The deliberations of our first congress, the Congreso de Malolos, were in Spanish. The official decrees and correspondences of our first president (Emilio Aguinaldo) and first prime minister (Apolinario Mabini) were in Spanish. Our newspapers which fought against Spain and the United States were in Spanish. Our poets (Claro M. Recto, Cecilio Apóstol, Jesús Balmori, Fernando Mª Guerrero, etc.) who decried US colonization wrote their anti-imperialist verses only in Spanish. THE ORIGINAL LYRICS OF OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM WERE IN SPANISH! The name of our country, Filipinas (and this does not exclude its variations Pilipinas and Philippines), is Spanish! Even our last names and our native cuisine are in Spanish!

Millions of ancient papers documenting our country’s history that are stored in our national archives are in Spanish, still unread, still waiting to be deciphered. That is why this language is an important part of our history and culture. And even in the realm of economics, Spanish is crucial nowadays. Multinational companies pay bigger salaries to Filipinos who can speak the language compared to those who use only English. That is why Spanish should not be made an optional subject in schools. It should be mandatory.

Finally, we have our national hero, José Rizal, who wrote his final love letter to all of us using the Spanish language. Yet here we are now, taking that love letter for granted by reading it only through translations.

Fellow Filipinos, think about it.

Señor Gómez appears in Inquirer 990 Television

Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera, multilingual author, historian, poet, educator, Spanish dance choreographer, and linguistic scholar, made a guest appearance yesterday in Inquirer 990 Television’s “Everyday Goodwill” hosted by María Teresa Cancio (owner of Goodwill Bookstore) and journalist Ricky Brozas where he discussed the language problem in Filipinas. He also peppered the discussion with tidbits about the real score behind our country’s history under Spain. Click on the screengrab below to watch the interview.

PEPE ALAS

Inquirer 990 Television is a free-to-air television news channel owned by Trans-Radio Broadcasting Corporation, a subsidiary of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It is the television counterpart of DZIQ 990.

Similarities between Spanish and Tagálog

Bahador Alast is known in YouTube for making videos of people of different nationalities and cultures who compare similarities between their respective native tongues. Last Christmas, he uploaded a video titled “Similarities Between Spanish and Filipino”. It features two young women: Claudia from Perú, whose first language is Spanish, and; Joan from Filipinas, whose first language is Tagálog.

It is fun watching the reaction of these two young ladies whenever they discover that many of the words that they use daily in their respective languages are actually the same. It has to be considered, though, that both are out of the loop when it comes to their respective countries’ shared heritage (both Filipinas and Perú are daughters of Spain: Filipinas was a captaincy general while Perú was a viceroy). Unbeknownst to many, of the 30,000 root words found in Tagálog, more or less 5,000 of them are Spanish — and we are just talking here about root words, not words! In addition, both Spanish and Tagálog are phonetic languages, truly a perfect match!

But it’s not just Tagálog that was augmented by Spanish. In fact, the languages of all Hispanized (Christianized) ethnolinguistic groups benefited as well from this linguistic infusion caused by more than three centuries of Spanish rule.

Filipino is considered as the national language of Filipinas. The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino teaches us that it is a standardized variety of the Tagálog language. But linguistically, there is really no difference between Filipino and Tagálog. The issue even became controversial especially among other ethnolinguistic groups in Filipinas that are not Tagálog speakers, and I agree with them. That is why I no longer refer to Tagálog as Filipino (in the same manner that I refuse to call my country Philippines or Pilipinas). Tagálog is simply a majority language in Filipinas. Other than that, I already pointed out in a speech last year what the true Filipino national language should really be.

This fun video by Alast can serve as an introduction of sorts for Filipinos, Tagálogs in particular, who are in search of their national identity from a historico-linguistic point of view.

Uicang Español = Uicang Filipino (Buwan ng Wika)

At dahil “Buwan ng Wika” ñgayón, pahintulutan niyó po munà acóng gamitin ang uica na sariling atin.

Ñgunit…

Ang español ay uicang Filipino. Hindî itó uicang bañagà. Atin itóng pag-aralan, pagyabuñgin, mahalín, at gamitin sa pang-arao-arao na paquíquipagtálastasan sa capua nating Filipino. Sapagcát sa uícang itó nabuô ang ating pambansáng identidad (identidad nacional). Sa uicang itó nahubóg ang ating nacionalismo. Sa uicang itó binigquís ang ating mg̃a isla, at pinagbuclód ang ibá’t-ibáng raza sa ating archipiélago/capuluán. Yumaman ang vocabulario ng ating mg̃a uicang catutubo (tagálog, bisayà, ilocano, etc.) dahil sa uicang español. Itó ang uicang guinamit ng ating mg̃a bayani para macamít ang ináasam-asám na casarinlán… ¿Hindí ñga bat itó ang uica ng ating pambansáng bayani? Sa pamamaguitan ng uicang español, nilabanan ng maguiguiting na Filipino ang mg̃a manlulupig at mananacop. Sa uicang español din cumalat at tumibay ang ating cultura. Ang tunay na casaysayan ng Filipinas ay nacasulat sa uicang español. At higuít sa lahát, ang ating pananámpalataya sa Dios ay umiral at namulaclác sa pamamaguitan ng uicang español.

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Hindí mababauasan ang ating pagca-Filipino capág tayo’y nagsásalita ng español. Bagcús, maguiguing más completo pa ang ating pagca-Filipino sa uicang itó.

Samacatuíd, ang tunay na Uicang Filipino ay español, hindí tagálog.

¡Mag-aral na ng uicang castila sa Instituto Cervantes de Manila!