The University of the Philippines in Defense of Spanish

  • Wystan de la Peña


Today, unforgettable personally for me because of the meaning of this ceremony we are holding, I would like to share with you the little-known story of how the University of the Philippines (U.P.) has taken up the cudgels for Spanish, of Hispanic culture and of the Fil-hispanic identity; in other words, how an educational institution established in 1908 by the Americans to, among other things, propagate English aspart of their colonization strategy, became the bulwark of the very same language which had been eyed for marginalization.
I will talk today as an eyewitness to the last two decades and as an active participant in the unfolding of many events related to the teaching of Spanish here, and the affirmation of the Fil-hispanic cultural identity in the university’s academic activities. Through this historical review, I would like to highlight the important points which have marked the development of the mindset which premised the university’s defense of the Spanish language.