AUGUST 30, 2022
September 1, 2022, marks 75 years since the Tagalog edition of The Watchtower was introduced. Since then, circulation of the magazine has increased from approximately 600 mimeographed copies per issue to more than 1.2 million printed copies per issue. It is also available electronically on jw.org.
The good news reached the Philippines as early as 1908. After the branch was established in 1924, the preaching work became better organized. English literature was mainly used, but the brothers saw the need to have literature translated into Tagalog.
Following World War II, Earl Stewart, Victor White, and Lorenzo Alpiche, Gilead-trained missionaries, arrived in the Philippines on June 14, 1947. Brother Stewart, the newly appointed branch servant, quickly arranged for qualified brothers to begin translating The Watchtower into Tagalog. By September of that year, publishers were able to distribute semimonthly editions of The Watchtower.
Many of the early translators worked secularly during the day to support their families while working on publications late into the night. Brother Hilarion Amores, one of those translators, said: “It required working as late as two o’clock in the morning. But we were very happy because we were caring for the brothers spiritually.”
Currently, there are 97,443 publishers serving in 1,126 Tagalog-speaking congregations in the Philippines. There are some 76.5 million Tagalog speakers in the country and more than 115,000 Tagalog-speaking publishers around the world. Tagalog publications are distributed in numerous other countries, and they are read by Tagalog-speaking publishers and interested ones worldwide.
How grateful we are that Jehovah, through his organization, provides spiritual food to millions of people worldwide in their native language.—Matthew 24:45, 46.