Our mission is to perpetuate, promote, preserve, and introduce the various heritage languages and cultures of the immigrant population of Hawai’i and the United States and to use them for heritage education, social services, language, and cultural access, and people empowerment.
Language Acquisition and Immersion for the New Generation (LAING) Hawai`i is an iteration of the community language program, iLaing, that has been serving the Honolulu community since 2015. Originally founded by the former Consulate General of the Philippines in Hawai’i, Gina Jamoralin, iLaing graduated three cohorts of Ilokano language students and organized two immersion trips to the Ilocos region of the Philippines with a focus on youth and young professionals. Former students of the program, inspired by their experiences in iLaing, decided to join together to work towards establishing an official non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to the perpetuation of heritage languages in Hawai’i – and so in 2018 LAING Hawai`i was born. Starting with the many languages of the Philippines, our goal is to expand to include classes in languages of the Pacific.
iLAING was an amazing journey for me. I came signed up hoping to simply learn some of the language of my people but found an incredible treasure trove of connection and community. The classes and immersion experiences were so much more than mere instruction but became a source of transformation as my tongue began to enunciate the same words spoken by my family and beyond and as my heart beat in sync them. I came looking for some sense of where I came from so that I could somehow impart that to my son and I found it. Manong Agcaoili was absolutely hilarious and infectious. You can’t help but want to learn and understand what he’s talking about. The LAING board and team really cultivated something special and helped all of us to feel supported and secure as we learned and explored. I am forever grateful for this opportunity and hope that many more like me can find themselves in the same way I did.
I’m beyond thankful for my experience and opportunity to be part of iLaing5. LAING is a much-needed community resource for anyone seeking to connect or reconnect with their roots.
We had the opportunity to learn the basics of Ilokano, how to read and pronounce words and learn Ilokano folk songs. There was also a group trip to Hawai’i Plantation Village to learn about how Filipino Sakadas and other immigrant groups migrated to Oahu for work and the hopes of a new life. This was all definitely worthwhile as I was able to connect and develop a support group with my peers.
I was excited yet nervous at the start of iLaing5. I had no clue what to expect and was worried I was too far behind in comparison to my peers. Upon finishing, I felt more confident in being able to read and recognize certain vocabulary. I still have a long way to go but I’m happy I started the journey with like-minded people. I have a higher sense of pride in being Ilocano. Like all Filipinos, regardless of region, we have a beautiful language and culture.