Migrant Filipino parents in Italy keep the desire to teach their children the Filipino language and culture. The DLSU Filipino Department thus established the Manunggul Jar Project, a three-year agreement with the Filipino Italian community of Venice, Treviso, and Terraferma.
On a tour in Italy over a year ago, De La Salle University Filipino Department Chair Dr. Ernesto Carandang, together with his church choir members, met Filipino migrants whose children could not communicate with them in the Filipino vernacular. He decided right then to provide them an orientation on basic Filipino.
The parents, who shared their desire to teach their children about the Philippine language, said that given their demanding work life, it has been a challenge for them to introduce Filipino language and culture to their children.
As a result of this experience, Carandang conceptualized the establishment of the Manunggul Jar Project. In May 2015, the DLSU Filipino Department launched the project, a three-year agreement with the Filipino Italian community of Venice, Treviso, and Terraferma.
With the support of the offices of the Vice Chancellor for Lasallian Mission and the External Relations and Internationalization Office, Carandang and fellow Filipino Department faculty member Dr. Rowell Madula were sent to Italy to teach a one-month intensive session for children ages 6-12 and 13-19.
The first class focused on the Filipino alphabet and basic concepts such as colors, shapes, and numbers in Filipino. On the other hand, the second class dealt with understanding the Filipino teenage culture and appreciation of Filipino culture through music and dance. Succeeding classes are currently being conducted online. Classroom sessions will resume at the end of the academic year.
According to Carandang, they are fortunate that parents in Italy supported their endeavor and have made other families, particularly those in Rome, Milan, and Padova, interested in the project as well. They are now arranging another Memorandum of Agreement with the Filipino communities in these areas. These parents also find it important for the next generation of Filipinos to learn the language and culture so the Filipino identity will continue even in a foreign country.
Carandang shares his joy to find the children and their parents giving value to Filipino language and culture, and learning the Lasallian way. “This project is actually a sort of a service, a community engagement that would follow the charism of St. John Baptist de La Salle.”
This story was first published in Involved Magazine, a special publication of DLSU, Manila.