May 23rd, 2012 - By John Doe
Question by : How can one distinguish whether a Filipino is Kankanaey, Ilocano, Tagalog, Cebuano or Davaoeno?
Let me share my funny experiences which I think have been experienced by many Filipinos. Last April, I went to Cebu and enjoyed my stay there. I thought they would know that I’m not from around there but it was funny because everyone spoke to me in Cebuano. If they would simply greet me, I would just smile and pretend that I understand what they were saying. One time, I was taking pictures in Barili, South Cebu when a Cebuano approached me. It seemed that he was happy about what I was doing. He cheerfully spoke to me in Cebuano. At first, I just smiled and pretended I understood what he was saying. I’m familiar with several Cebuano words but they are not enough for me to understand a Cebuano speaker. Later, he asked questions. I had to talk to him so I spoke to him but I used my mother tongue which is Kankanaey. It was really funny because we understood each other but I don’t know how we did it. He does not speak my mother tongue and I do not speak his mother tongue yet somehow, we understood each other.
I have a pretty Cebuana friend in Barili who went with me to Moalboal, a diving and snorkeling destination in Cebu. I can understand basic Tagalog; thankfully, she can understand basic Tagalog too and we use English or the basic Tagalog we know to communicate. In Moalboal, some think I’m a Cebuano whereas others there know I’m not. Whenever I need to talk to someone in Cebu, I would need her assistance. Often, she would explain to people we encounter that I’m not a Cebuano. Sometimes, people would know that I’m not from around there and they would think that I’m Tagalog or Ilocano and my friend would always explain to them that I’m not Tagalog or that I’m not Ilocano. She would explain to them that I’m Kankanaey and that it’s a language spoken in West Mountain Province, North Benguet, Southeast Ilocos Sur etc.
I had similar experiences when I went to Davao. Aside from enjoying my stay there and loving the very affordable prices of some fruits, I also enjoyed interacting with the locals; people there would think that I’m Davaoeno; if not, Ilocano or Tagalog.
My travels to Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and La Union are a bit different to the ones I had in the south. The dominant language there is Ilocano. Thankfully, I can fluently speak Cordilleran Ilocano as fluent as my Kankanaey speech. When I go to the Ilocos region, I can easily pretend that I’m one of them give them the impression that I’m Cordilleran. Most Ilocano people are familiar with what a Cordilleran is so communication problems are almost non-existent among the people of Northern Luzon.
In Pangasinan, there are several dominant groups. Two of them are the Ilocanos and the Pangasinenses. The only way I can distinguish between an Ilocano and a Pangasinense fellow is to conduct an interview with the two, otherwise, I wouldn’t know who is who.
In Baguio and La Trinidad, I learned how to distinguish whether one is Ibaloi, Kankanaey, Ilocano, Ifontok etc. because I have been living there for more than ten years. My familiarity of Baguio almost equals my familiarity of my hometown, Sagada.
In Manila, I don’t know who is who. People from the south and north have flocked there and I can’t distinguish their group especially if they are the Taglish-speaking type. So, how do we distinguish who is who?
Matagotago tako am-in.
Answer by INDEPENDANT MARK2
This is the legacy a country made up of 7000 islands. Some remote, so dialects vary. It happens. Now if you really want confusing–try India, Sheesh, more dilects there than you can think of !
What do you think? Answer below!