[PHOTO - Native Zamboangueño Chavacano speakers in Mindanao.]

ZAMBOANGA CITY, NOVEMBER 12, 2012 (MANILA BULLETIN) By NONOY E. LACSON - In his desire to help preserve the mother-tongue language in this city, District 2 Councilor Miguel Alavar III vowed to introduce to the people here a calendar whose days of the week and the lunar days are written in Chabacano, the popular dialect used in this city.

According to Alavar, he decided to come up with a calendar in the Chabacano dialect after he observed that the mother-tongue language in this city is starting to slowly fade.

Citing the history, Alavar said the Chabacano language started when the Spaniards invaded the city and built the port of Rio Hondo (now known as the Port Pilar Shrine or Portalesa del Virgin del Pilar) in June 23, 1635.

“If you notice in Cavite City, there are also some people who speak similarly like the Chabacano language, that’s because some of the workers who helped the Spaniards build the port came from Cavite City,” Alavar said.

He said that as years went by, Chabacano has developed and became the mother-tongue language of the people in this city.

But sad to note, it is starting to diminish lately, which is why we need to preserve Chabacano because it is one of the unique languages in the whole world.

During a conference held Friday night in one of the family owned chain of restaurants, the Alavar Seafood’s Restaurant in this city, Alavar said the calendar will remind the young generation of the mother-tongue language that is unique in this city.

“The calendar will also remind the parents and their children of our mother-tongue language here, which is Chabacano. For example, in this calendar, you can see that new moon in Chabacano is ‘nuevo luna,’ first quarter is ‘primer menguante, and full moon is ‘enteracion,’” he said.

At the same time, the calendar will also contain the history of the city, special days and holidays, and they are all written in Chabacano, Alavar added.

The calendar also contains photos of the early Zamboanga City, the parks and beaches, including the old buildings located along the city’s main thoroughfares, and the mode of transportation used by the people of the city at that time.

While admitting that the printing of the calendar requires a huge amount of money, he said it is also worthy even if we have to spend a lot for the printing, he said.

As this developed, several village chieftains coming from the first and second districts of the city, lauded Alavar for his initiative to preserve the Chabacano language through the use of the calendar.

They said that calendar is one of the best ways to promote and preserve the Chabacano language since almost all houses in this city have calendars at their homes.

“Seldom can you see a house without calendar posted at their wall, whether they may be rich or poor, they all have calendars at home,” Hermie Ventura of Barangay Sta. Maria said.

Adding that “the Chabacano calendar will always remind them of the right term in Chabacano of the days of the week, including special days like Christmas and New Year.”

In was learned that Alavar’s grandfather Señor Noning Camins is the father of the Chabacano dictionary now being used by schools and government offices in this city as a reference material.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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