Let’s Read Ivatan: Maylir Ta So Ivatan


If number of speakers is not an issue, I wonder why the Ivatan language has not been included among DepEd’s selection of languages used as medium of instruction in Ivatan schools being that Ivatans have a unique orthography [a, b, k, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, l, m, n, ny, ng, o, p, r, s,  t, ch, v,  w, y, and ′ (stress)] and they already have a beginning learning material (click here to see the original document, “Maylir Ta So Ivatan) published in cooperation with the Bureau of Public Schools and Institute of National Language of the then Ministry of Education and Culture, Manila, Philippines” with the following foreword by no less than the then Minister of Education and Culture:

Minister Onofre D. Corpuz

Minister Onofre D. Corpuz


Ang isang katangiang masasabi tungkol sa Pilipinas ay ang pagkakaroon nito ng iba’t ibang pangkat etniko na nag-aangkin ng kani-kanilang wikang katutubo.  Gayon man, ito’y hindi naging balakid sa pag-unlad ng bansa, bagkus nagpatibay pa nga sa pagbubuklod at pagkakaisa ng mga mamamayan tungo sa pagkakaroon ng isang diwang panlahat.
Ang aklat na ito ay isa sa serye ng ganitong uri ng mga babasahing inihahanda para sa higit na ikalilinang ng mga kaalaman, kakayahan, kasanayan, pagpapahalaga at pagmamahal sa sariling wika ng mga mag-aaral.
Sinikap na malakipan ang aklat ng mga paksang inaakalang magdudulot ng malaki at makabuluhang kapakinabangan sa mga gagamit nito.  Sa paghahanda ng rnga ito’y isinaalang-alang ang mga pangkalahatang layunin ng bansa. Isinaalang-alang din ang rnga pangkasalukuyang pangangailangan ng mga mag-aaral sa pagpapalawak at pagpapayaman ng kanilang talasalitaan, paglinang ng kakayahang gumamit ng wikang gamitin at wastong pagsulat nila. May inilakip ding mga pagsasanay na inaakalangmakatutulong sa mabisang pag-aaral ng wika.  Matitiyak na ganap na nilang natutuhan at nauunawaan ang wika kung ito’y buong katalinuhan na nilang natatalakay sa klase at naiuugnay o nagagamit sa tunay na buhay.
Buong pagmamalaking inihahandog ng Ministri ng Edukasyon at Kultura ang aklat na ito taglay ang matapat na hangarin at mithiing lalo pang mapataas ang uri ng edukasyon para sa di marunong bumasa at sumulat sa pamamagitan ng pag-aaral ng kinagisnang wika.  At inaasahan din sa gayon ang madaling pagkatuto ng wikang pambansa.
Onofre  D. Corpuz 
Ministro ng Edukasyon at Kultura
That line about “Buong pagmamalaking inihahandog ng Ministri ng Edukasyon at Kultura ang aklat na ito taglay ang matapat na hangarin at mithiing lalo pang mapataas ang uri ng edukasyon para sa di marunong bumasa at sumulat sa pamamagitan ng pag-aaral ng kinagisnang wika” is probably the most powerful endorsement for MLE and the use of the mother tongue. And this glowing endorsement from DepEd came in 1980, some 29 years before DO 74 (s. 2009).
Maylir Ta So Ivatan, the Ivatan primer created by Virginia Larson with illustrations by Gregorio F. Lima and Nathaniel T. Tianero, is not the only Ivatan publication regarding Ivatans, their language or literature. The list below is by no means comprehensive:
  • Cottle, Morris, and Shirley Cottle. 1958. The significant sounds of Ivatan. Oceania Linguistic Monographs no. 3. Sydney, Australia.
  • Hidalgo, Cesar A., and the Dictionary Committee. 1998. The Cultural Dictionary of Batanes- Ivatan-Filipino-English. Manila: Academics Foundation. [Items arranged by semantic and cultural meaning, as opposed to alphabetical].
  • Hidalgo, Cesar A. 1996. The Making of the Ivatan: The Cultural History of Batanes. Manila: Cognita TRC.
  • Hornedo, Florentino. 1971. Notes on Batanes and the Ivatan way of life. Sound and Sense 3(1-2):5-46.
  • Llamzon, Teodoro. 1978. Handbook of Philippine Language Groups. Quezon City: UNESCO and Ateneo de Manila University. Chapter 1 = The Ivatans.
  • Reid, Lawrence. 1966. An Ivatan syntax. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
  • Manuel, E. Arsenio. (ed. 1953). Informe sobre las islas Batanes (1775-1780). Philippine Social Science and Humanities Review 18: 101-17.
  • Solheim, Wilhelm. 1960. Jar burial in the Babuyan and Batanes Islands and in Central Philippines, and its relationship to jar burial elsewhere in the Far East. Philippine Journal of Science 89:1:130-45.
  • Yamada, Yukihiro. 1995. Ichbayat folkways = No kaonoonongan a Ichbayaten : Itbayat texts with English translation / collected by Yukihiro Yamada. Quezon City : Giraffe Books, 1995.


I do believe that young Ivatan children deserve, as Minister Onofre Corpuz aptly put it, to “bumasa at sumulat sa pamamagitan ng pag-aaral ng kinagisnang wikaand that therefore, Ivatan should be the medium of instruction from kindergarten to third grade in schools where the dominant community language is Ivatan, in accordance with DepEd Order No. 74, s. 2009.

10 thoughts on “Let’s Read Ivatan: Maylir Ta So Ivatan

      • Appreciate the effort. By the way, what other languages have now been added to the initial 12 languages selected by DepEd for inclusion in the DO 74 implementation?

        By the way, were you expecting as I was that Congress would expand the number of years during which the mother tongue is to be used as MOI from DO 74’s K to 3 to K to 6?

  1. This Hanoi dispatch puiblished in the Philippine Star seems to show that Bro. Armin
    Luistro or his speech writers have not read the bill that is now for signature of President Aquino:

    HANOI — Filipino school children will be encouraged to take up a second foreign language in the two-year senior high school under the K-12 basic education curriculum (BEC) reform program.

    Education Secretary Armin Luistro told The STAR that studying a second foreign language will make Filipinos truly multilingual.

    “We start with the mother tongue in kinder up to Grade 3, and then Filipino and English, and in senior high school, they should take up another foreign language, hopefully another ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) language or Mandarin,” he said.

    It would seem from the above that Bro Armin Luistro is not aware of the

    Section 4 of the reconciled version with amendment to include

    the following provisions:

    “Basic education shall be delivered in languages understood by the learners

    as the language plays a strategic role in shaping the formative years of learning.

    “For Kindergarten and the first three years of elementary education, instruction,

    teaching materials and assessment shall be in the regional or native language of

    of the learners. The DepEd shall formulate a mother language transition program

    from Grade 4 to Grade 6 so that Filipino and English shall gradually introduced

    as languages of instruction until such time as these two (2) languages can

    become the primary language of instruction at the secondary level.

    ” For purposes of this Act, mother language or first Language (L1) refers to the

    language or languages first learned by the child, which he/she is identified as a

    native language user by others, hje she knows best or uses most…..”

    The material thing Bro. Luistro failed to note is that the mother language

    is also the medium of instruction Grades 4 to 6. DepED is madated to

    formulate a mother language transition program from Grade 4 to

    Grade 6 to pave the way for for a different language to be the

    medium of instruction in high school.

    Bro. LUustro should be corrected on this. We will have to watch the

    Implementing Rules and Regulations carefully to see that the mother

    tongue provisions of the law are not watered down by a frame of mind

    that sticks to the situation before the reconciled version of the bill.

    The bill may become law if not signed after the lapse of the statutory


  2. See, SBN 3286 otherwise known as the Enhanced Basic Education Act now recently passed by both houses of congress echoes the original K to 3 provision under DO 74.

  3. I’m counting you will take the time to consider the “strange” brain freeze to have the Enhanced Basic Education Act REPEAL, among other laws, Republic Act 1425 (Rizal Law), specifically, the inclusion of the course on the life of Jose Rizal and his writings “IN THE COLLEGE CURRICULA”. K to 12 minding the COLLEGE CURRICULA?

    • Joe, I’ll reply to you privately at your personal email address tomorrow. Btw, what time zone are you at? In the good old Philippines it is now very late in the evening.

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