Tagalog

Tagalog is the national language of the Philippines. However, since the country counts 183 living languages, it is the first language of a quarter of the population, and the second one for the majority. It is spoken in Canada, Guam, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and USA. The total number of Tagalog speakers worldwide is estimated to be 24.2 million.

Due to colonisation, Spanish has been the traditional official language of the Philippines for many centuries until the early half of the 20th century. Then, under US occupation, English was introduced in the country being taught at schools, and was later added to the constitution as a national language alongside with Spanish.

However, the government had the will to establish the main national language based on one of the existing native languages. Tagalog was, then, chosen as the base language and, in 1973, being christened as Filipino, became the joint official language along with English, to the detriment of Spanish.

Tagalog is an Austronesian language with outside influences from Malay and Chinese first, and later from both Spanish and American English. It used to have its own writing system based on an ancient script called Baybayin, which the Spanish colonialists romanized. However, even the modern alphabet has been changed several times to incorporate foreign sounds from both Spanish and English.

In Hong Kong, due to its geographic proximity, there have always been an interest by residents in visiting the Philippines mainly for leisure. Our city is the 9th largest source of visitors, according to the Philippine Department of Tourism.

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