Tagalog is the most spoken language in the Philippines and located in Central Philippines around the capital of Manila. It was used as basis for the creation of Filipino. Around 25% of the people speak this Austronesian language. Since Tagalog was also spoken in the region, where European colonists and traders got in touch with the indigenous people, it was vastly influenced by Chinese, English, Sanskrit and Spanish.
Cebuano, the language spoken in the South, is the second largest language of the Philippines. It is spoken on Cebu, Bohol
and many parts of Mindanao
– though there it might be rather called as “Visaya”, “Bisayan” or “Bisaya” with slight or strong variations. The third largest is Ilokano spoken in northwest Luzon
. All these languages are only spoken by a part of the Philippine citizens. The twelve largest languages cover 90 per cent of the people.
One can see and listen to the Spanish influence all over the Philippines: here a church in Cebu City, Visayas.
In the 1930s politicians started to create a national language, which based on Tagalog. It was called Pilipino, but speakers of other languages rejected it. However, in 1987 this new language was made official tongue besides English in the new constitution under the name of Filipino. Filipino was created to unite the people under one language, since language creates the feeling of belonging together.Filipino is now spoken by 80% of the people and is mainly derived from Tagalog though not the same. Even today some minorities reject learning and speaking Filipino, though it is now accepted as lingua franca on the archipelago. The second accepted official language is English.
Non-indigenous people visited the Philippine archipelago in its long history. Sanskrit and Chinese were left in the languages of the Philippines and after 1550 European influence grew strong. Spanish was the main language of the colony on Luzon and dominated the region for nearly 400 years. After the independence Spanish lost its importance as official language and got a negative view.
Anyway, it is still of importance today and you can learn Spanish free in schools. It is used to communicate with remote living peoples or older peoples. Spanish is one of the most spoken languages of the world and also accepted as lingua franca in some regions of the Philippines, though it has no official status as main language. Last, to learn Spanish keeps the Philippines in touch with their past.