‘Dia de Chavacano’ boosts language preservation PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 11:25

by Sheila covarrubias

An elaborate ceremony celebrating chavacano in front of City Hall marked the ‘Dia de Fundacion de Chavacano’ Tuesday, June 23 boosting efforts to preserve and promote Zamboanga’s primary language.

Mayor Beng Climaco and Councilor VP Elago along with other city officials spearheaded the celebration that was highlighted by the presentation of chavacano songs and dances and the swearing in of the Museo de Zamboanga Committee and its Technical Working Group (TWG) during the morning program in front of City Hall.

In the afternoon, the City Government held the 1st Chavacano Debate Exhibition at the PIO Press Briefing Room with participants coming from the Ateneo de Zamboanga University and Western Mindanao State University. In the evening, the activities included the Chavacano Battle of the Bands and the Chavacano Film and Animation Festival at the Centro Latino.

“El lenguaje Chavacano amo el unico Tesoro del Ciudad. Alegre quita cay ta puede quita oi maga Muslim, Bisaya y otro maga tribo ta conversa chavacano, poreso ta adverti yo con todo para promova el lenguaje por medio del di ila maga talento artistico como bayles y musica,” Mayor Climaco emphasized.

The mayor called on the young generation to sustain the efforts to preserve and promote the chavacano language.

The celebration of Dia de Fundacion Chavacano is pursuant to Ordinance 374 authored by Councilor VP Elago four years ago designating every 23rd of June as the founding anniversary of the chavacano language.

The Chavacano language dates back to June 23, 1635, when the cornerstone of Fort Pilar, originally known as the Fuerza de San Jose, was first laid. A Spanish derivative, the Chavacano was born when construction workers from Cavite, Cebu, Iloilo were brought in to build the Fort along with the Subanon, Lutaos, Sama, and other local natives. The need to communicate with each other and their Spanish employers resulted in the evolution of a new Spanish-based dialect, the Chavacano.

Meanwhile, the Museo de Zamboanga committee and its technical working group is based on Executive Order BC 122-2015. The composition includes Mayor Climaco as chairperson with City Tourism Officer Sarita Hernandez as secretary. The members include City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr., Councilor Gerky Valesco, Councilor VP Elago, City Museum Curator Ildefonso Torres Jr., National Museum Curator Eufemia Catolin, Council of Arts, Culture and History members Dr. Robert Panaguiton, Christine Cañones, Rameer Tawasil and Arch. Rodel Falcasantos.

The committee’s functions include promulgating policies, rules and regulations to the ordinance; promote and market the Museo de Zamboanga and perform other powers and functions for the effective, efficient and faithful implementation of the ordinance.

The committee shall be assisted by the TWG which shall act as a technical and advisory body in the planning, development, evaluation of what artifacts, collections, items, memorabilia, etc, to be placed on display at the City Museum and in the conduct of other activities.

The TWG is chaired by Dr. Jose Genaro Yap-Aizon with the following members: Ildfenso Torres Jr., Eufemia Catolin, Alita Pangilinan of WMSU and City Schools Superintendent Pedro Melchor Natividad. — Sheila Covarrubias