I asked Google a few minutes ago to give me a list of probable Bisaya bloggers, and one of the items on the list it gave me was this blog: mycube. The last entry was from 06 February 2005, so this blogger is probably in hiatus. Further down the page I saw this entry (which I reproduce here):
I’m lovin’ the Cebuano dialect… is it called bisaya? ..i’m really not sure.. but i’ve learned a few..
Magsuroy-suroy… (thank you, GT..)
Ok, I still suck at it. hehe
I wonder why we have stereotyped the Visayans as housemaids or house boys.. you’ve probably seen thousands of sitcoms with househelp characters speaking in bisaya.. when these south people are actually beautiful men and women – led by their governor, gwen garcia, who is as graceful as a swan – aside from being intelligent and smart.
I thought it was funny that when you see a beautiful lady in Cebu and you hear her speak in English, you’d think “oh she speaks well, and she has that accent”.. wait a few minutes, wait til she speaks to her fellow bisaya.. she still has that accent.
are englishmen bisayas too?
I’ll be back, Cebu!
Posted at 05:51 pm by biway
This made me raise an eyebrow, but then heck, I thought, it’s typical of northerners (read: people from Luzon) to react this way when they’re in Cebu for the first time. And then I saw this one and only comment to that post:
Posted by Tranquillity @ 01/25/2005 06:30 PM PST
Cebuanos really speak English well. They want to be the masters of it! Hehe. And they are actually trying to be more sophisticated than us. Perhaps they really do that to change the “helper” image that media gives them.
Honestly, I love their “language” too! (They don’t like to call it dialect. Actually, they’re out to make Cebu the new capital of the Philippines!) I’ve been trying to learn for a while. Sabi ko nga, I don’t mind marrying a Cebuano or Ilonggo.
Now this really ticked me off. I started to write a reply to this comment right there on biway’s blog but I realized it would be impolite to start a word war on someone else’s blog.
So I’m starting it here now, on my own turf, with a dare to anyone with the same mindset as “Tranquility” to prove me wrong.
Cebuanos really speak English well. We don’t want to be masters of it because we already are. We don’t have to try to be more sophisticated than you, because we already are. We don’t do that to change the “helper” image that media gives us. We don’t care what NCR-based media think because we work our butts off with whatever jobs we undertake, whether we be helpers, programmers or CEOs.
I’m not surprised that you love our language. And yes, it is a language. Rule of thumb is, if you don’t understand it, it’s a different language. Ours is an articulate language, with words for things and actions that even English does not have*. We don’t have to make Cebu the new capital of the Philippines. “Being the first and oldest city in the country, ante-dating Manila by 7 years, having the oldest school and oldest street and being the cradle of Christianity in the Far East (i.e. Magellan’s cross planted in Cebu as a symbol of natives embracing the Christian faith), Cebu is replete with historical first’s.” And maybe you should marry a Cebuano or Ilonggo, just so he/she (I cannot determine your gender from your attitude) can straighten out your twisted thinking.
English = wash (wash your face, wash your hands, wash your feet, wash your body)
Cebuano (Binisaya) = wash your face: manghilam-os
= wash your hands: manghunaw
= wash your feet: manghimitiis
= wash your body: manghimasa
Forgive me if I am coming across with such animosity against narrow minds like these. My fight is not with “Tranquility” as it is. It is against the thinking that people like “Tranquility” exhibit in situations like this.
I was born in ParaÃ±aque, Rizal. That’s in Luzon. I spent my formative years with my aunt in Quezon City. That too is in Luzon. When I was thirteen and about to enter high school, my father decided that it was time for me to join the family who had been transplanted to Cebu three years earlier, and that’s where I stayed for the next twenty-two years. That’s more than half my life so far. It took me two years before I could speak Cebuano with the proper accent. When I went back to Manila in 1999 to work I had a difficult time adjusting to Tagalog. I would be asked a question in Tagalog, and I would have to translate it in my head into English and then to Cebuano, formulate an answer in Cebuano, translate that back into English and then finally into Tagalog. That was when I knew that in my heart I had become Cebuano, and with the heart of a Cebuano I now write these words.
I have come across some people who wonder at the disdain with which some Cebuanos treat Tagalogs, especially tourists, who come to Cebu. It is unfriendly to say the least, but if these Tagalogs knew why, then they would perhaps understand. Cebuanos have a deep-seated disdain for northerners, they who impose their language on us as if it were the lingua franca of the world. They who decry our apparent lack of respect because we do not have equivalents to the Tagalog “po” and “opo”. They who insist that our children learn Filipino in school, when this Filipino is nothing but archaic Tagalog in disguise. When our children speak this school-learned Filipino in the streets and schools of Manila, they are laughed at. Why teach them this Filipino in school in the first place? Isn’t it enough that we get bombarded by it on television and the movies?
Visayans in general, as well as other non-Manilans, are tri-lingual by necessity. We know the language of our neighborhood. We know Tagalog because of school and the ubiquitous media. And those of us who have been to school or have been adequately exposed to the language, know English. We get foreign tourists who speak to us in English and are satisfied. And then we get Tagalog tourists who seem to believe that without them our economy would plummet, who talk in Tagalog to our salesgirls and waiters with such condescension, warning them of what may happen should they not be satisfied with the service, expecting us to cower and grovel and thank them for their presence. Perhaps that may explain why we sometimes prefer foreign tourists.
And it may explain why Visayans would prefer to speak English when they go to the national capital region, with or without the quaint accent. It is not because we are trying to hide where we are from; for some of us it is the only way we can avoid fisticuffs should someone try and make fun of our mother tongue.
I remember one evening, when my family and I were sitting at the back of Starbucks at Rockwell sipping our cappuccinos and lemon iced teas. A few minutes after we had settled ourselves there came a group of young males, students perhaps, who sat within hearing distance from us. Since we were the only two groups in the Starbucks lanai we couldn’t help but notice them, as we carried on with our own conversation in Cebuano, and how they spoke so self-consciously amongst themselves. We thought no more about them and kept talking, sometimes boisterously as someone would crack a Cebuano joke, and then we realized that they had begun talking loud enough for us to hear. They were Visayans too. Not necessarily Cebuano, as there are variations to Binisaya depending where you are from, but enough for us to tell that they were Visayans. When we stood up to go, we offered them a quiet toast and a smile, and they smiled back at us, cousins as if we were, who had passed by each other in the buffeting sea that is Manila.
And this is why I have written this now, as a tribute to my fellow Bisdaks. Sa akong mga kaigsuonan sa Visayas ug Mindanao, Mabuhi tang tanan!