Normally, before I formally start my language lessons, I always give my learners a short pep talk on the value of knowing Visayan, especially the Visayan that is used in the province of Cebu or the Sugbuanon language. For those who are still confused over these two terminologies, allow me to share with you some of the ideas that I have formed regarding these two just to eradicate your confusion. Most people interchange the use of Bisaya and Cebuano which should not be the case. However, because of the practice of most people in doing so, it has become the notion that Bisaya is Cebuano, much to the dismay of other proud Visayan groups.
As I have pointed out in my previous post, Cebuano is just one of the languages in the Visayan region. So Bisaya, is but a term used to refer to someone from the Visayan region and also of those that come from the Mindanao region who also speaks any language that is primarily used in the Visayan region. Visayan is also a term used, as well to refer to the language of the people from the Visayan region.
But I digress, this post is about the usefulness of the Visayan language, the language that is most widely used in Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Eastern Mindanao and Southern Mindanao except among the ethnic groups because they have their own ethnic language. Because of migration from one region to another or one province to another, Visayan also became sort of a common language in these areas of the country .
Visayan is spoken by over 20,ooo,ooo Filipinos and is the predominant language in the central and southern Philippines, so, if you plan to stay in this area of the country, I recommend that you learn Visayan as it will be more useful. Filipino, which is the national langauge of the Philippines, is also useful. However, the Visayans, being a proud group of people would appreciate it people would communicate with them using the Visayan language. As the popular line would say, “when in the Visayas, speak Visayan.”