QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES—Earlier this year, Firth McEachern, a 29-year-old Canadian living in the coastal province of La Union, was trending globally on Twitter. He had just been featured on the popular TV show Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho. In the preceding weeks, he had been the subject of multiple local articles and videos that enraptured Filipinos around the world.
The reason for all the attention was McEachern’s command of Ilokano. It is one of more than 120 distinct languages in the Philippines, many of which are endangered or under threat of extinction.
“If anything, a foreigner would most likely learn the national language, Filipino, and even that people find quite surprising because it’s not so common,” McEachern says.
Read more: Toronto Star