The PH Is More Linguistically Diverse Than 190 Other Countries

We need to celebrate the 200 other languages in the Philippines.
IMAGE Thinking Machines

While Filipino is highlighted in August (designated as Buwan ng Wika since 1997, having been expanded from a mere Linggo ng Wika), there are actually over 200 other languages in the Philippines worth celebrating.

Data science team We Are Thinking Machines came up last year with an interactive map that emphasizes just how diverse the country's linguistic landscape is. Analyzing data from the 2010 national census, they have concluded that there, if you randomly pick out any two Pinoys, chances are high likelihood (76% to 84%) that they would have grown up speaking different languages.

One of the map's modes

The interactive map features 10 major Philippine languages (Tagalog, Bisaya, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Maguindanao, Kapampangan, Pangasinan), and shows where the languages are used, their Greenberg linguistic diversity index number, and even the second most common language in a particular area.

The map also indicates the most multilingual regions (usually home to indigenous peoples); with provinces in Mindanao generally more diverse than those in Visayas and Luzon. The province of Sarangani has the highest diversity index, at 0.81 (1 is a perfect score). As a whole, the Philippines is at 0.76 on the Greenberg index.


Unsurprisingly, the provinces around Metro Manila are the most monolingual, including the Tagalog-speaking provinces of Bulacan, Batangas, Laguna, Marinduque, and Rizal. However, there are also non-Tagalog provinces that tend to the monolingual—such as the Waray-speaking Eastern Samar and the Bicolano-speaking Catanduanes and Sorsogon provinces. Marhay man!

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Sasha Lim Uy
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
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