Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken mainly in central and southern Luzon, in the northern region of the Philippines, and is spoken by a quarter of Filipinos. Tagalog is a lingua franca in the Philippines, and the basis for the national language: Filipino. Filipino is the prestige register of Tagalog and the language of education
Tagalog has several dialects. The basis for Filipino is the Tagalog dialect called Manila, the dialect spoken in the capital Manila.
Tagalog and Filipino both use the 26-letter Latin alphabet. The Latin script replaced Baybayin, a script which is still used today for decorative purposes.
When translating from Tagalog or Filipino into English, the word count tends to increase by approximately 15-20%.
Philippine culture has been influenced by the lengthy presence of the Spanish and the Americans in the country, although Filipinos have preserved their own unique sense of identity. Filipinos love music and dance, and enjoy putting on fiestas, or festivals, throughout the year. Rice or rice noodles, eaten boiled or steamed, are staple foods in the Philippines and the basis for many main dishes. Traditional dress varies from region to region; one example is the malong, a colourful tube of cloth that can be worn in a variety of ways. Both religious and secular holidays are celebrated. Among the religious holidays observed are Christmas and Easter, as well as Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Other major holidays include New Year’s Day, Labour Day (May 1), and Independence Day (June 12).