Tagalog, also called Filipino, is the dominant language of the Philippines (with Cebuano being a close second). It was officially renamed Filipino in 1961 in an attempt to further a common Filipino national identity and establish a language of wider communication among the 120 to 175 distinct linguistic populations native to the 7107 islands that comprise the archipelago.
There are currently 12 languages in the Philippines with a minimum one million native speakers which, taken together, represent almost 90% of the population. These are: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Bikol, Pangasinan, Waray-Waray, Hiligaynon, Kapampangan, Kinaray-a, Maguindanao, Maranao and Tausug.
Despite the heavy influence of English and Spanish, Tagalog has retained its centuries-old grammatical structure. Filipino is taught in all schools and is gaining acceptance as a second language.
An interesting aspect of Tagalog translation is the relatively large number of English language "borrowings" commonly employed. Many technical terms and newly coined words and phrases are incorporated directly from English. Spanish speakers will recognize countless transliterations. For approximately four centuries the Philippines was ruled by foreign powers, first by Spain and then by the United States, which left an indelible imprint. The Philippines became independent on July 4, 1946.