Toronto is probably the most culturally diverse city in the world. It teems with people of different colours and thousands of restaurants of various cuisines. Today, any combination of couples walking down the street does not even rate much of a second glance.
Once there was Baybayin, the Philippine’s pre-colonial syllabary - a set of written symbols that represent syllables which make up words. It thrived not just among the affluent but in all levels of society. Characterized by its wave-like script, Baybayin surprised curious Spaniards in its wide use as the prevalent reading and writing communication mode at that time.
My grandchildren Elizabeth, Maya, and Jack are my pride and joy. Elizabeth and Jack were born in Boston and are growing up in the U.S. with my daughter Helen and her American husband Dan Flagg. Maya is what Vancouverites call “born and bred in Vancouver” living with my son George and his Canadian wife Brenda Jamer.
None of my grandkids have been to the Philippines yet but I dream of their eventual visit there. I would like to show them how beautiful the country is. They should see their Lola’s hometown of Pila, Laguna, with its verdant rice fields turning golden when the palay ripens and the towering coconut trees that compete with Mounts Banahaw and Makiling in touching the ever blue skies. I would also take them to my hometown of Apalit to get a glimpse of Mount Arayat and see the Pampanga River where I learned how to swim as a boy.
Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal wrote most of his famous works in Spanish. Even his farewell poem, Mi Ultimo Adios, was written in the language of his executioners. He was, after all, a man of his times, when few educated Filipinos wrote formally in their own language. More than a century later, little has changed except that the foreign language is now English.