While French is one of two national languages in Canada, it’s not one of the top two spoken languages in Saskatchewan.
According to the recent census results, Tagalog has seen a massive increase in speakers in the province recently. From 2011 to 2016, the number of Tagalog speakers has increased 123.1 per cent.
In the province, there are 25,955 speakers of the language. There are 15,855 French speakers in Saskatchewan and 22,825 Cree speakers.
Theo Linantude came to Canada in 1992 from the Philippines. He was surprised by the fact that there were so many speakers of Tagalog in the province.
He said he’s noticed a massive increase in the Filipino population since he first came to Saskatchewan.
“Used to be in ’92, around that time, everybody knows each other like all the Filipino and now a lot of them, I don’t even know and that’s how big the changes go.”
His wife Divina came to Canada 11 years ago. Three years ago, they opened up T&D Filipino Sari-Sari Store in Regina.
Theo said when they first opened, there were about three different stores in Regina but that number has since grown to about seven.
He said many of his customers prefer to speak in Tagalog over English.
“It’s a lot easier,” Theo said, laughing. “When they come in they’re prepared to speak Tagalog for sure.”
Divina said despite living in Canada, they still teach their kids Tagalog.
“Normally they still talk in English but they understand.”
She said her two brothers and their families have also come over to Canada.
The City of Regina said they have a translator available that speaks Tagalog and can help people if problems should arise.
The city couldn’t say how often they get a request for someone to speak Tagalog about city services.