So where has this drive to institutionalise the national language gotten us so far? A fatter Filipino dictionary? Granted, a national language is a good thing (we just have to figure out why in practical terms) and there has been a significant increase in the number of Filipino-language publications and television shows. (Ok, let’s just use the word Tagalog for purposes of conciseness from here on that’s what Filipino essentially is, isn’t it)
But let’s analyse the quality of the information that reaches the majority of the people. Ask the average Filipino to name any Tagalog publication. What comes up? Abante. A Tagalog TV show? Palibhasa Lalaki (or whatever; they’re all the same). Tagalog books? You’ll get any one or two of hundreds of titles of those cheesy romance novelettes sold at every corner store. Tagalog material of an academic or literary quality above cheese and sleaze languishes in the dusty Filipinana sections of libraries and the low-customer-traffic areas of bookstores and on graveyard or early morning television timeslots.