MANILA The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) is set to unveil the country's first "Bantayog-Wika" or language monument in Antique province on March 1, the government agency tasked to promote Philippine languages and dialects bared on Monday.
The KWF said the monument is for Kinaray-a, one of several Philippine languages, spoken mainly in Antique and other provinces in the Visayas.
The landmark unveiling aims to raise public awareness about Kinaray-a and promote the continued use of this language, the KWF said.
"Language is part of the intangible cultural heritage, which we must respect, preserve, and protect," said KWF language researcher Rene Roy Cagalingan.
Installation artist Luis 'Junyee' Yee, Jr. designed and created Bantayog-Wika for Kinaray-a, said KWF project coordinator John Lerry Dungca.
He said Yee used stainless steel for the creation that is about three meters high.
Dungca said Yee had made use of laser technology to cut the ancient Baybayin font into the stainless steel, forming several lines from Philippine hero Andres Bonifacio's poem, "Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Bayan".
"That will enable people to read the lines at night when Bantayog-Wika for Kinaray-a is lit from within," said Dungca.
He said the KWF staff is now set to install Yee's stainless steel creation on a one-meter-high pedestal at the provincial capitol's grounds for the unveiling.
The pedestal features a description of Kinaray-a, he added.
Intangible cultural heritage is an important aspect of a country's national identity, Cagalingan noted.
Cagalingan said Kinaray-a is the root of Hiligaynon and other Visayan languages.
"Kinaray-a is also among the oldest languages in Panay Island, where Antique is," he continued.
According to the KWF, Kinaray-a is spoken in different areas of Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Palawan provinces.
The agency said Kinaray-a is also known as AntiqueAo, Hinaraya, and Karay-a.
"That language isn't dead, so we're promoting its continued use," said Cagalingan.
He said the KWF aims to unveil Bantayog-Wika monuments for other Philippine languages when and where possible.
Cagalingan said the Antique local government had offered an area in the new provincial capitol's grounds as the site of Bantayog-Wika for Kinaray-a.
Senator Loren Legarda is supporting the undertaking, he added.
Source: Philippine News Agency