The University of Santo Tomas Department of English, the Faculty of Arts and Letters together with the Linguistic Society of the Philippines held a special lecture on “The Three Pillars of Language and Migration Studies: Positioning the Filipinos in Hawaii, USA. The lecture was held on November 16, 2019 at the CME Auditorium of the UST Medicine Building.
The Guest Speaker was Prof. Rodney C. Jubilado, Ph.D. of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hawaii, where he is the chair of its Humanities Division.
Jubilado, whose research interest is on heritage education, migration, and Southeast Asian cultural studies, is currently writing a new book about heritage education of the Filipinos in Hawaii. Having lived and taught in Hawaii for some years now, Jubilado has been observing and studying the language of the Filipinos who have migrated to Hawaii. He explained that “When people migrate, they bring with them their language and culture. For Filipinos, it means bringing various languages and indigenous or amalgamated cultures.”
In his lecture, Jubilado spoke about the early migration of the Filipinos to America explaining that it was primarily caused by the colonization of the Philippines by Spain and by the USA, with the earliest recorded history taking place in the 17th century. As of 2017, Jubilado shared that based on the statistics by the US Census Bureau of 2017, there are approximately 4,037,564 Filipinos in the USA, making them the second largest Asian group next to the Chinese.
Generations later, Jubilado’s research reveals that the Filipino-Americans now are (1) English monolinguals or bilinguals and heritage speakers of any of Philippine languages, and (2) strong Filipino identities or totally mainstream Americans.
The research further shares that three Philippine languages are spoken widely in America in this order: Tagalog/Filipino, Ilocano, and Cebuano/Visayan, which is similar to the case in Hawaii. Since the focus of this study is Hawaii, Jubilado’s research attempts to provide a picture of what and who are the Filipinos from the perspective of language, culture and identity, using the lenses provided by the fields of heritage education, identity, and migration.
The lecture was made more interesting with the video presentations that highlighted points in the lecturer’s discussion of the Filipino-Americans’ culture, identity and language.
The audience was composed of faculty members of the English Department, undergraduate students from the Faculty of Arts and Letters under the English Language Studies (ELS) program, students of the UST Graduate School under the ELS program both in the Master’s and Doctorate levels, and guests from other universities such as the De La Salle University, Far Eastern University, Philippine Normal University, Philippine Women’s University, and National University.
According to UST Department of English Chair Prof. Rachelle B. Lintao, Ph.D., the invitation for Dr. Rodney Jubilado to speak in UST was made possible through the collaboration with the Linguistic Society of the Philippines, the president of which is the UST Graduate School Faculty Secretary Assoc. Prof. Alejandro Bernardo, Ph.D. The lecture was held in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts and Letters, whose Dean, Dr. Madrunio, was once president of LSP.