Tagalog, with the stress on the second syllable, is the national language of the Philippines. In 1962 it was made the country's official language and given the new name of Pilipino. Tagalog is the mother tongue of about 15 million people, most of whom live in southern Luzon in an area that includes Manila. Its study has been strongly encouraged by the government and it is estimated that over 75 percent of the population at least understands the language.
Tagalog is a member of the Malayo-Polynesian family of languages. The three centuries of Spanish rule in the Philippines left a strong imprint on the vocabulary. Mesa (table), tenedor (fork), papel (paper), and asero (steel) are only a few of hundreds of Spanish words in Tagalog.
Observe carefully our world:
fields, factories, streets, statues,
earth, sea, sky have been dominated
by the hands of men, which can move mountains
I too trained my hands for expert work,
to prepare for the hard days ahead;
how ugly my words woven in silk,
compared to the hands of the worker mining gold.
My hands, oh dearest love, were
like flowers, clean and fragrant;
and when I am ill or in danger,
the touch of your hand is healing balm.
And all the while the hands of the clock,
point to the prophetic mouth:
"Man, all of you will meet the end
decreed by this-time's hand."
AMADO V. HERNANDEZ, The Hand