Hispanic Place Names of Manila, my second PhD dissertation at UNED, in Philology, under the advisory of professors José Ramón Carriazo Ruiz and Jorge Mojarro Romero.
Archivo de la etiqueta: Hispanic Place Names of Manila
Press Appearance: Interview at The Manila Times
Interview at The Manila Times, on ocassion of my second doctoral dissertation: Hispanic Place Names of Manila.
Mojarro, J. (2021, December 21). A doctoral dissertation on the street names of Manila [Press release]. The Manila Times. Retrieved from https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/12/21/opinion/columns/a-doctoral-dissertation-on-the-street-names-of-manila/1826688.
MARCO Antonio Joven Romero is a native of Zaragoza, Spain. He spent three years in the Philippines as a lecturer of Spanish language at the University of Santo Tomás. Despite having a Ph.D. in philosophy, he decided to pursue a second Ph.D. in linguistics at UNED, Spain. The topic he chose for his doctoral dissertation was the toponymy of the streets of Manila, a city that, as he has declared many times, he loves so much. Given that I am not only his friend, but also the co-director of his dissertation, I take advantage of this circumstance to interview him for The Manila Times.
Marco, what did you know about the Philippines before coming to teach? And why did you choose this archipelago as your destination for three years?
Honestly, it was quite random. I was going through the worst time of my life: my father died in 2013, I could not — and in some way I still cannot — accept it, and I had never been comfortable in Zaragoza, the place where I was born. A good friend, Jesús, recommended that I go to Asia because of my personality, and there was an option as an AECID lecturer (Spanish Cooperation Agency). I took it. That was the best choice of my life.
You have told me several times that you love the city, that Manila is the best place to be. Why is that when so many people claim this city is unlivable? Is your love for the city what made you carry out research on its street names?
Manila is not an easy city, but it is the city that made me happy, and at the same time, it was the place where I could learn a lot of things about life. It was the city that made me a real adult. People of Manila always loved me, and I loved Manila people too — although sometimes I also hurt some people because of my lack of maturity. I am an active person, and I could not stop meeting people and covering every small alley of Metro Manila. When I arrived in Manila, I was an adventurer, and Manila is the best city for adventures. Before coming to Manila, I also carried out a study of Aragonese toponymy in A Fueba in the province of Huesca in western Spain. So, I had all the academic and personal ingredients to carry out a study of the Hispanic place names of Metro Manila.
How did you carry out your research? Could you tell us any curiosity that happened while doing fieldwork?
There are three main methodological steps in this work: more than 800 surveys of settlers of all the cities and districts of Metro Manila, a research on the previous studies and maps, and my personal fieldwork all over the area.
About curiosities, I covered Aroma and Happyland, two of the poorest slums in Metro Manila, for two days with my friend Alejandro Ernesto, a photo reporter. The first day he left his cellphone in his motorcycle and the second day he forgot the motorcycle keys. After entire days covering the dumps, no one took the cellphone or the keys! On another occasion, I was covering a cemetery where some people live, and I could hear a couple having sex — I suppose on a tomb. And when I went to Señorita Street and surroundings, I could not stop hearing the song “Señorita” by Camila Cabello, which the locals boasted about.
Could you tell us what are the three most remarkable findings of your research?
First, around 55 percent of toponyms from the Spanish period are preserved while around 45 percent are lost. Considering the new toponyms, around 75 percent are Hispanic. I think these figures are interesting when dealing with the recurrent debate on Hispanic place names in the Philippines.
Second, the preserved Hispanic place names of Manila reflect the society of the city during the Spanish period: a kernel in Intramuros, the rising bourgeoisie in Binondo — and to a lesser extent in Ermita — and the rest of the classes and activities further away. The furthest place names refer to farm and logistics activities.
Third, most of the recent place names in Metro Manila do not adhere to popular naming processes or to administrative-political norms, but to pure economic factors. Economic power is creating new cities and districts — e.g. BGC, Ortigas, some places in Makati, and so on — coining new place names according to markets.
What do you think of the habit of local politicians who in an attempt to immortalize their names, replace the previous names of the streets with their own? Do you think the Philippines needs some legislation regarding this topic?
I am sad every time a place name is changed or lost, in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world. Let me say that most of what we know about Celtic and Iberian peoples in Spain is because of preserved place names. And some of them seem to refer to local leaders, probably tyrants! Place names have crystallized, and they are preserved more than any other linguistic feature. And following the previous example, Celtic and Iberian languages disappeared in Spain millennia ago, but we still have these names. They are a treasure that allows us to partially know these languages too. The Spanish language is almost lost in the Philippines, but the Hispanic toponyms show the history, the identity and the geography of the country, and they also show some of the characteristics of the Filipino-Spanish language. About legislation, the Philippines and all the countries of the world must be conscious of the significance of place names.
Do you expect to carry out further research on the Philippines or do you want to move on to another thing already?
If possible, I would like to continue studying Hispanic place names in the Philippines. Even more, I would like to return to the Philippines and make a life in the country that has made me happy. However, due to the pandemic and my work, I do not find it easy. Furthermore, when I arrived in Manila, I was an adventurer. Now, I am looking forward to more stability, and I am not sure Manila is the best city for that. But finding such stability in the Philippines is my greatest desire. Let me add that the study of place names in the Philippines is not developed, and while the cities show social place names, the rest of the country presents a vast number of geographic place names to be studied.
Do you believe Metro Manileños should be proud of their city? Why?
Totally. Manila is an unknown city with many attractions. Reporters from several Spanish television networks agree with me: they were delighted when I showed them the “unknown” city. And contrary to what is sometimes stated, it is safe. Actually, Manila is not a city but a set of cities with different cultures and even language differences. Manilans are friendly and that compensates for the traffic and pollution problems. However, far from romanticizing the existent huge inequalities, the city must work to solve them. If there is something the people of Manila cannot be proud of, it is precisely the inequality in the city, which is translated into an extreme daily slavery that I hesitate to say existed any time before.
PhD in Philology: Hispanic Place Names of Manila
On December 15, 2021, I defended my second PhD, in Philology at Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED, Spain): Hispanic Place Names of Manila, a research work carried out between 2017 and 2021, which I have introduced in several papers and media.
I obtained a calification of Outstanding with Distinction Cum Laude by a tribunal formed by professors Francisco Moreno Fernández, Celia Casado Fresnillo, and Daisy López Pargas. The advisors for the thesis were professors José Ramón Carriazo Ruiz and Jorge Mojarro Romero.
The thesis will be available soon at UNED’s public repository.
Recent Press Appearances
[English] Recent Press Appearances: Agencia EFE and associated press (May 22: in Spanish), and The Manila Times (May 19: in English).
[Español] Apariciones recientes en prensa: Agencia EFE y medios asociados (22 de mayo: en español), y The Manila Times (19 de mayo: en inglés).
Gómez, S. (2020, May 22). El chabacano se refina para sobrevivir [Press release]. Agencia EFE. Retrieved from https://www.efe.com/efe/america/destacada/el-chabacano-se-refina-para-sobrevivir/20000065-4252700.
LA PRESIÓN DEL INGLÉS Y EL TAGALO
El uso extendido de inglés y tagalo -originario de la isla de Luzón, la mayor de Filipinas, y adoptado como lengua nacional- está menoscabando el uso de las más de 170 lenguas minoritarias del país, “relegadas a las clases populares, gente mayor y al ámbito familiar”, explica a Efe el profesor de español en la Universidad Santo Tomás de Manila, Marco Joven-Romero.
“Pero eso distingue en la actualidad al chabacano, que aunque pierda hablantes, sí goza de cierto estatus social. Ya no es vista como una lengua vulgar porque es criolla española, heredada de la elite cultural clásica”, explica este estudioso de los hispanismos en las lenguas filipinas.
El chabacano simplifica la conjugación de los verbos, así como la distinción de género y número, algo que la elite cultural española de la colonia veía como una corrupción vulgar y barriobajera de la lengua cervantina, consideración que ahora está cambiando.
Joven aclara que el chabacano es en realidad una familia de lenguas con variantes como el zamboangueño o chabacano de Zamboanga, el más hablado, pero también existen el cotabateño de Cotabato o el akbay en Davao -versiones extintas en esas ciudades de Mindanao-.
En la isla de Luzón, las variantes del chabacano son el caviteño (en la ciudad de Cavite), ternateño (en el pueblo de Ternate, provincia de Cavite) y el ermiteño (en Ermita, barrio de Manila), cuyo último hablante murió a principios de los 2000.
“Los lingüistas no se ponen de acuerdo en si los hablantes de las diferentes versiones del chabacano se entienden entre ellos. Mi impresión es que se pueden llegar a entender, pero seguramente están más cómodos hablando otra lengua común”, indica Joven.
Se cree la primera variante de chabacano nació en la base naval española de Cavite, cercana a Manila, a principios del siglo XVII, entre los trabajadores traídos de México y otras partes de Filipinas que mezclaron sus idiomas con el español del capataz. Muchos de ellos luego emigraron en Zamboanga para construir la fortaleza.
El caviteño conserva tan solo unos 300 hablantes en los barrios de San Roque y Caridad, el casco antiguo de Cavite, aunque la lengua goza de prestigio e integra la identidad cultural de la ciudad.
Más curioso es el caso del ternateño, chabacano con sabor portugués que mantiene unos 3.000 hablantes en la pequeña localidad de Ternate, donde en 1663 se instalaron nativos y mestizos de las islas Molucas -donde España y Portugal reinaron conjuntamente entre 1580 y 1640- tras ser invadidas por Holanda.
La Corona Española cedió ese territorio al suroeste de Luzón a unas 200 familias de las Molucas que se mantuvieron fieles a España e importaron a Filipinas su particular versión del chabacano que aún sobrevive.
Other sources for the same piece of news:
Mojarro, J. (2020, May 19). Father Peláez and his search for justice [Press release]. The Manila Times. Retrieved from https://www.manilatimes.net/2020/05/19/opinion/columnists/father-pelaez-and-his-search-for-justice/725763/
A few weeks ago, I asked Dr. Marco A. Joven-Romero, a Spanish instructor at the University of Santo Tomas, how many streets in Metro Manila carried the name “Peláez.” He is the right person to ask because he is finishing a doctoral dissertation on the history of the toponymy of the streets of Manila. He pointed out three completely irrelevant and hidden streets in Manila, Parañaque and Quezon City. Apart from that, there is a small primary school bearing his name. Nothing else.
TV appearance at ‘Charrín Charrán’
Promo ad. Speaking Tagalog and Aragonese:
[English] TV appearance at Charrín Charrán (AragónTV) showing my academic activities and my everyday life in Manila during the Coronavirus crisis, and promo ad in Tagalog and Aragonese [April 26, 2020]
[Español] Aparición en el programa de televisión Charrín Charrán (AragónTV) mostrando mi actividad académica y mi vida diaria en Manila durante la crisis del coronavirus, y anuncio promocional en Tagalo y Aragonés [26 de abril de 2020]
[Aragonés] Aparición en o programa de televisión Charrín Charrán (AragónTV) amostrando a mía actividat academica y a mía vida diaria en Manila mientras a crisi d’o conoravirus, y anuncio promocional en Tagalo y Aragonés [26 d’abril de 2020]
[Pilipino] Ang pagganap ng aking Charrín Charrán (AragónTV). Ipinakita ko ang aking mga akademikong gawain at ang aking pang-araw-araw na buhay sa Maynila sa panahon ng coronavirus, at promo ad sa Tagalog at Aragonese [Abril 26, 2020]