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The graduates of the 3rd Ilocano Language Acquisition and Immersion for the New Generation, or iLAING, pose with Consul General Joselito A. Jimeno (top row, 5th
from right) and representatives of the project’s partner organizations and sponsors.

After four months of rigorous basic Ilocano language classes held from 16 October 2017 to 17 February 2018, fourteen (14) students, who were mostly of Filipino ancestry, completed the Ilocano language course of the 3rd Ilocano Language Acquisition and Immersion for the New Generation or the iLAING at the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu on 24 February 2018.

iLAING is an integrated Ilocano program consisting of two parts: (1) the Ilocano language lessons held every Saturday afternoon which focuses on specific key result areas in Ilocano language learning wherein students aim to obtain a Level One proficiency in Ilocano oral communication; and (2) the Ilocano language immersion to the Philippines to be undertaken by the students of the language class, which consists of field programs and cultural exchanges in the Philippines.

With the goal of empowering young Filipinos to take pride in their culture, primarily through the use of language, iLAING is a project initiated by the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu with its partner organizations: the Filipino Community Center, the Candonians of Hawaii (COH), United Laoagueños of Hawaii (ULOH), the University of Hawaii, the local governments of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, as well as sponsors Etrata Foundation, Philippine Airlines and Western Union.

Dr. Aurelio Agcaoili of the University of Hawaii’s Ilocano Language Program, designed the class syllabus and served as instructor for the language program.

The students will then embark on a ten-day immersion trip to Ilocos in August 2018. Philippine Airlines has agreed to sponsor the roundtrip airfare of five students of the language course.

Consul General Jimeno gives his inspirational remarks during the program.

In his remarks during the commencement program, Consul General Joselito A. Jimeno congratulated the students and organizers for yet another successful completion of an Ilocano language course, noting that Filipino Americans, especially the second and third generation immigrants, have struggled to create a unique and visible social identity within the United States. He also urged the students to continue to find ways to appreciate one’s culture and roots, which goes beyond learning a specific language or dialect.

Select students were also given the opportunity to share their reflections and learnings from the Ilocano language course. Ms. Grace Go, President of COH, Ms. Merelle Gonzales, President of ULOH and philanthropist and major sponsor, Mrs. Maria Etrata also provided remarks during the program.

To entertain the audience, the students sang popular Ilocano songs such as Pamulinawen and Ti Ayat ti Maysa nga Ubing (END).