Celebrating Filipino Language Month

Language serves as a culmination of culture as well as a manifestation of it in various ways. It enables communication that is not just efficient but also pertinent in a particular setting, time, and context.

The Philippines observes Buwan ng Wika, or Filipino Language Month, over the whole month of August. This celebration aims to raise awareness of the value of the Filipino language and the pagkakaisa (or “unity”) that it gave to the nation. Even if the status of the Filipino language in the Philippines is in question, many people use it as a symbol of their pagkakakilanlan (or “identity”)!

Learn more about the Filipino language’s significance and how the Philippines celebrates Buwan ng Wika (Filipino Language Month) in this article.

Let’s look at some information about Buwan ng Wika and the Filipino language before discussing how Filipinos observe Filipino Language Month.


Tagalog or Filipino?

Let’s start by clearing the air. Are we referring to Tagalog or Filipino here (or any of the additional 120+ languages used in the Philippines)?

For legitimate reasons, a lot of people are confused about the distinction between Tagalog and Filipino. The important thing to keep in mind is that Tagalog and Filipino are very similar languages with subtle distinctions. Tagalog is essentially a standardized version of Filipino.

Buwan ng Wika honors the Filipino language in particular, but you should be aware that the majority of Filipinos also speak Tagalog as a second language (and nearly a quarter speak it as their first).

Filipino, one of the official languages of the Philippines, has played a significant part in unifying the bansa (country) through the use of a more uniform language.


Background and Significance of Buwan ng Wika

First observed as a weeklong holiday in 1946, Buwan ng Wika commemorates the birth of renowned Tagalog author Francisco Baltazar. Even though the dates were altered four times, this holiday took place between late March and early April.

Fidel V. Ramos, who was president at the time, issued a proclamation in 1997 declaring that the holiday would now be observed for an entire month in August. The holiday was able to fall on former president Manuel L. Quezon’s birthday and death anniversary, who is sometimes referred to as “The Father of the Filipino Language,” because to the new timing.

On August 1, there is frequently a ceremony to raise the flag and a speech highlighting the value and importance of the Filipino language today. Numerous educational activities and events, many of which are catered toward children and younger generations, take place during the rest of the month. 

The Buwan ng Wika subject changes every year and focuses on a different component of the language or kultura (culture). Plan to attend at least one of the special events that are held in the Philippines in August if you decide to travel there.



Dance Competitions & Events at Buwan ng Wika

August is anticipated to be filled with a range of dance competitions and events in various sections of the nation. Although there have been recent tendencies toward more contemporary dancing styles, many Filipinos and Filipinas enjoy performing a lively katutubong sayaw (“traditional dance”) during these occasions.


(Poetic Debate) Balagtasan

Poetic debates and performances of spoken poetry are commonplace throughout the Philippines at Buwan ng Wika. What better way to express gratitude for it than with a skillfully written tula (a type of poem) in the language used?

In addition to these discussions and readings of poetry, many students are urged to take part in essay contests. The essay’s subject usually ties in with the year’s theme.


Displays & Parades

All around the nation, there are several exhibitions of art and culture promoting Filipino panitikan (literature), language, and culture. Additionally, there are a lot of parades throughout August that highlight various facets of Filipino culture.


Student Programs

Many schools enjoy participating in the Buwan ng Wika celebrations by teaching pupils about the Filipino language and culture through sports and enjoyable courses.



In many civilizations, oral storytelling has played a significant role. The Philippines is no exception. There are a lot of folktales with Philippine roots, and people frequently relate these tales to one another or to an audience during Buwan ng Wika.

There is a Filipino tale with the same broad lesson about the value of taking your time as the proverbial “Haste causes waste,” which you may be familiar with.

In this tale, a guy must journey a great distance on horseback while hauling a number of coconuts. He asks a boy he meets along the route how much further he has to go until he reaches the house. He is told by the youngster that if he goes slowly, he will arrive early and if he travels hastily, he will arrive late. Unaware, the man increased the speed of his horse, which caused the coconuts to fall off. He then picked them back up and increased the speed of the horse, which had the same result. He didn’t take his time, and it was dark when he got to the house.

Important Words during Filipino Language Month

What better way to honor Filipino Language Month than to commit some words to memory? The words from this article are listed below!

  • “Language” — Wika 
  • “Word” — Salita 
  • “Culture” — Kultura 
  • “Literature” — Panitikan 
  • “Poem” — Tula 
  • “Legend” — Alamat 
  • “Folk tale” — Kuwentong-bayan 
  • “Folk dance” — Katutubong sayaw 
  • “Essay” — Sanaysay 


Final Reflections

The creation and spread of the Filipino language undoubtedly marked a turning point in the Philippines’ ability to communicate, making “Buwan ng Wika” a significant month for the nation.

What do you think of the Filipino language in general and this holiday? 

Does your nation have a unique festival to honor its official tongue? Comment below and let us know!

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