Canadian Firth McEachern Speaks Ilocano Fluently, Plays Pinoy Henyo with Jessica Soho (Video)
Meet Firth McEachern, a Canadian tourist in the Philippines who can speak Ilocano (or Ilokano) very fluently. In fact, he played Eat Bulaga’s famous guessing game, “Pinoy Henyo” with Jessica Soho on her show Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho (KMJS). Below is the full video of the interview, and their very entertaining game.
Aired last Saturday on GMA 7, Jessica Soho interviewed Firth McEachern where she learned that he is a Harvard University graduate as Magna Cum Laude. The 29-year old Canadian tourist finished a double major in Earth and Planetary Science, and Astronomy and Astrophysics, and has been in the country since 2010.
Last February, a video of McEachern went viral on Facebook. That time, he was talking to a tricycle driver in Ilokano fluently and with the perfect accent. Romulo Mallanao, the video uploader asked permission from the Canadian if he could record their conversation and upload it, which the latter readily agreed.
According to McEachern, he learned to speak Ilocano through regular practice. He said he fell in love with the language especially when he learned that Ilocano and other native languages are slowly not being used. And because of his extreme passion for the language, Firth became a local university professor, teaching Ilocano.
McEachern said he prefers working in the Philippines, because in the US, people are working all the time. His parents are with him, enjoying their retirement. A 2010 blog post says he works at the City Environment and Natural Resources Office of San Fernando, La Union, which is also the native town of Jessica Soho.
To add fun during the KMJS interview, Jessica and Firth played six rounds of ‘Pinoy Henyo.’ Firth wasn’t able to guess the right word on the first round, while Jessica got the correct word in Round 2. McEachern finally got the correct word in Round 3. Watch the video to know who won eventually.
But while the entire interview is entertaining, Firth McEachern got serious on the latter part. He said that sometimes, Filipinos don’t appreciate what they have. He cited language as an example, where English is being considered as a dominant language next to Tagalog, while the Ilocano language is being neglected.
And just like what Jessica Soho said, McEachern seems to love the Philippines more than many Filipinos do. Sad, but true. 🙁
So if you are really proud to be Pinoy, don’t just mention it on comments when a fellow Filipino is doing well in talent contests abroad. Actions speak louder than words, you know.