The Philippines is an ethnically diverse country with over 150 languages that can be heard all over the country. During the colonial rule, the official language of the Philippines was Spanish, but in 1901, under US occupation, English became the language of the public school system. Both English and Spanish were established as the official languages of the country in 1935, with a note that a native language should be nominated as a national language. Tagalog was subsequently included as the national language by the Congress in the year of 1937.

Tagalog later became known as Pilipino. Pilipino and English were later named as the new official languages of the country, after which Congress decided that a new national language called Filipino should be developed. In 1987, upon another constitutional amendment, Filipino and English became the co-official languages of the Philippines. Today, English is primarily used in printed publications, magazines and newspapers.

Filipino is one of the official languages and the national language of the Philippines which primarily consists of Tagalog with some mix of other Philippine languages. Filipino is taught in most classes and it is the language of choice for TV and cinema. Nowadays, it is the lingua franca throughout the majority of the country and in other Philippine communities around the world.

Apart from the national, there are also 21 regional languages spoken across the Philippines. These include: Aklanon, Basian, Bikol, Cebuano, Chavacano, Hiligaynon, Ibanag, Ilocano, Ilonggo, Ivatan, Maranao, Tagalog, Kapampangan, Kinaray-a, Waray, Maguindanao, Pangasinan, Sambal, Surigaonon, Tausug, and Yakan. Each of these languages represents a major indigenous language of the Philippines spoken in areas inhabited by large populations of native speakers. The majority of these regional languages are part of the Malayo-Polynesian language family subgroup, which further belongs to the Austronesian language family. The only Spanish-based Creole language in Asia is Chavacano, which is one of the oldest Creole languages in the world with an estimated 1.2 million speakers.

Aside from the national and indigenous languages, there are also large numbers of foreign languages spoken in the Philippines as a result of many immigrants in the country. These languages include various types of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Spanish, Malay and Tamil.


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