“Wherre will we go sirr?” 「どこに行きますかぁ?」

This is what we often hear from amiable Filipino taxi drivers seconds after you position yourself inside their taxis (well, I know for a fact that some of them are sometimes overcharging, but what I’m saying here is, they can talk to you in ways you never expected).

これはタクシーに乗るとすぐ、愛想のいいタクシーの運転手に言われる言葉です (えぇ、何人かの運転手がボッタクリをしていることは知っているけれど、私が言いたいのは、あなたが思ってもみない方法で彼らが話しかけてくる、ということ)。

For Westerners, they can instantly judge the accent and pronunciation, nonetheless, it doesn’t matter. It is just so astonishing that language barrier never poses an issue when paying a visit in the so called The Pearl of the Orient Seas – The Philippines.

西洋人は(フィリピン独特の)アクセントや発音にすぐに気がつくけれども、それは重要なことではないんです。 東洋の海の真珠と呼ばれる国、フィリピンを訪れたら、言葉の壁が問題になることはありません。

When you first set foot in the streets of the Philippines, it is no doubt that you will be awestruck by the fact that Filipinos speak English!


Notwithstanding how remote an area is, English signboards such as “House for Sale”, “No Parking”, “No Smoking” and the like are visibly displayed along the streets, and every Filipino understands them. They can even give you directions using simple English as to how to get to the nearest shopping mall or convenience store.

辺境の地であるにもかかわらず、”House for Sale(売り家あり)”、 “No Parking(駐車禁止)”、 “No Smoking (禁煙)”といった英語の看板が街頭に溢れ、フィリピン人なら誰でもそれらを理解することができます。 簡単な英語で、最寄りのショッピングモールやコンビニへの行き方を教えてくれたりもします。

You might desire to know why, considering it is not even their native tongue. Well, as a true blue Filipino – someone who lived in the Philippines for 29 years and has been learning and speaking English since the day long forgotten, I believe I am in the position to share some reasons why in my humble opinion, Filipinos can speak English.

英語がこの国の母国語でないことを考えると、(なぜこれほど英語が浸透しているのか)その理由が気になるかもしれませんね。生粋のフィリピン人 – 29年間住んでいて、覚えていないくらい昔から英語を学んだり話したりしている人間として、僭越ながら、私たちがなぜ英語を話すことが出来るのか、その理由をお教えしたいと思います。

To begin with, let’s trip down memory lane by tracing the country’s rich and captivating history…


Since time immemorial, Filipinos’ first teachers were American soldiers, where teaching was one of their missions. Nevertheless, after a group of American teachers arrived in the country, who are popularly known as the “Thomasites”, English education in the Philippines commenced as they undertook educating the natives.

遠い昔、フィリピン人の一番最初の先生は米兵でした。教えることが兵士たちのミッションのひとつだったのです。 ですが、「トーマス派」として広く知られるアメリカ人教師の一団が到着して原住民の教育を受け持つと共に、フィリピンにおける英語教育が始まったのです。

The name was derived from the transport vessel’s name “USS Thomas”, which brought them to the shores of Manila.

この教師たちの呼び名は、マニラに着岸した輸送船の名前「USS Thomas」に由来しています。

During the American occupation in the Philippines (1898-1946), Mandatory Education was implemented, and English became the medium of instruction. Public schools were established, and classroom instructions were delivered in English. In a nutshell, this paved the way for children to begin learning the language as they were obliged to learn the ABC’s, eventually, achieved fluency in it.


It is inevitable to not talk about history when coming up with reasons why Filipinos are proficient in English – this is something I vehemently believe in.


In view of classroom instruction, kindergarten students first learn through sounds of the English Alphabet. They sing the alphabet song, learn the letters, and little by little, form words out from them. This classroom strategy goes on from simple to complex. In Primary school, students gradually learn how to structure sentences in English. When they reach High School, debates, presentations, research paper defense and what not are given as activities, and most of the time, are delivered in English. Students continuously develop articulation with constant exposure, practice and application, which make speaking it as easy as 123.


…To be continued. / 続く…

Haruka Mishima