Today, I have been asked to share about why many Filipinos are able to speak English. I think this is a really interesting topic! To get an overview, English is spoken fluently in numerous countries located in North America, Europe, Oceania, the Caribbean, and Africa. In Asia, however, out of 48 countries, there are only six that are considered “English-speaking”, and these are India, Pakistan, Singapore, Philippines, Sri Langka, and Malaysia. So, I think it is absolutely wonderful that Philippines can be included as an English-speaking country to some extent. I think that the ability to communicate is the main bridge that connects us to foreigners and helps us to enrich our culture and economy.
Tracing back to our history, we can see that Philippines was a colony of Spain for a very long period. This is why Filipinos are strongly rooted to Spanish traditions and beliefs, including culture and religion. A lot of words from our various native languages are also derived from Spanish words. In later years, the Americans came to help Filipinos achieve independence. Instead, however, the Americans took over the occupation of Philippine land, but their stay has always been considered friendly, and so Filipinos were also exposed to the language, culture, and ways of America in a more positive way. Thankfully, English became integrated in the educational system as part of American influence, so the language became part of our way of life. English as a subject is included in all year levels in both private and public schools. So, almost anywhere in the Philippines, majority of people are able to speak some level of English, depending on how much they were exposed to the language.
Personally, my family has always encouraged us (as children) to speak in English because it is the universal language that can help us to build relationships with others, no matter where they may be from. I also grew up in a school that enforced strict English-speaking at all times, so the language became primary to all students. Furthermore, my mother, who is a book-lover, motivated me to love books also. We would spend a lot of time in shops to pick out new books to read. We would also watch movies together – all in English. These warm and happy moments always encouraged me to love the language even more. I appreciate how you can always express yourself and have different ways of saying things.
Truly, I think English as a language is remarkable, and can be easy to learn if given consistency and focus. I really admire the Englishbuds students for working so hard to be fluent at English, even though it is a challenge to be learning so many languages (among other things!) at the same time. I know it can be difficult to absorb new concepts sometimes, but please be open and continue to learn every day. I think being fluent in English can provide more opportunities for personal growth and in your chosen careers in the future.