Before the Spaniards first arrived, the Masbatenyos were fishing and farming the islands of Masbate province and blending into a people of distinct cultural character. Some families have come from a Cebuano background, some others from Bikol roots, still others from either Samar-Leyte or Hiligaynon families. From this varied cultural background the Masbatenyos have developed a unique language they can proudly call their own.
For many years the Masbatenyo language has been only an oral language despite the size of the population of 600,000 people and the outstanding academic achievements of the speakers. There are educators, businessmen and women, doctors, nurses, lawyers, to name a few, which have come from among these people. With such a rich heritage they deserve to have their language set down in a formal way, and now it has happened.
This Masbatenyo-English dictionary is a landmark in the development of the use of the language. It not only embodies the cultural and linguistic uniqueness of Masbatenyo, but it will also serve as a bridge toward a higher proficiency in the English language. I would expect then that it will become a valuable language tool for students and teachers alike. The Summer Institute of Linguistics is to be commended for taking the initiative to do the research leading to the compiling of this reference work.
I am happy, therefore, to recommend this book to the Masbatenyos and other interested readers. May it impart a sincere and deep appreciation for the distinct character of the Masbatenyo people and their language.
Isagani A. Delavin
Schools Division Superintendent