The Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines has joined the celebration of “Buwan ng Wika” by featuring a Swiss writer who is fluent in the Filipino language.
A video posted on the embassy’s Facebook page on Friday features Swiss author Annette Hug, who previously studied at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.
Speaking in Tagalog, Hug said she is based in Zurich and has written 3 novels.
In the video, Hug shared that she first visited the Philippines in 1992 to take up the Women and Development Studies Program at UP Diliman. She has been going back and forth to the Philippines since 2012 to visit friends and also research about the journeys of Philippine hero Dr. Jose Rizal to Germany, the topic of her third novel.
Hug answered questions in the video including how hard she thinks it is to learn the language. She also shared some playful words in Filipino, which she said she noticed while in Manila.
“Nasa Quezon City ako, sa mga ukay-ukay at natuwa sa mga pangalan ng shops dito. Isa, mula sa Hapon (Japan) ang mga suot na ibinebenta nila tapos ang pangalan ng shop ‘Nakamura’ (got for cheap). At sa Tomas Morato ito kaya sa tabi may ibang shop na ‘Murato’ (a play on "this is cheap") ang pangalan,” she said.
(I was in Quezon City, I found the names of thrift shops amusing. One was selling clothes from Japan and it was named 'Nakamura.' Another shop in Tomas Morato was named 'Murato.')
She also mentioned her favorite Filipino word "chechebureche," an expression that is used to describe something unnecessary, excessive or confusing, which she said she learned from an old Filipino woman living in Hong Kong who she met there in 2017.
“Madalas niyang ginagamit ang salitang ‘chechebureche’ lalo na 'pag nagsalita tungkol sa mga hassle sa bureaucracy. Maganda at nakakatawa ang salitang ginamit niya pang larawan,” she said.
(She often used 'chechebureche' especially when talking about hassles in the bureaucracy. It's a good and funny word.)
She added that some words in Filipino are nice to hear even if they mean the opposite.
“Kung minsan 'pag sobrang madilim ang langit dito, biglang natuwa, kasi para sumikat sa aking kamalayan isang salitang Tagalog. Biglang naisip ko ‘Ay, makulimlim ang panahon’. Maganda naman ang salita kahit madilim pa rin ang langit,” she said.
(Sometimes when it's overcast here, I suddenly remember a Tagalog word and say 'oh the weather is gloomy.' The word is still nice even if the skies are overcast.)