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Historical Timeline of Philippine Literature

Long time before the Spaniards and other foreigners landed on Philippine shores, our forefathers already
had their own literature stamped in the history of our race.
Our ancient literature shows our customs and traditions in everyday life as traced in our folk stories, old
plays and short stories.
Our ancient ancestors also had their own alphabet which was different from that brought by the
Spaniards. The first alphabet used by our ancestors was similar to that of the Malayo-Polynesian alphabet.
Whatever records our ancestors left were either burned by the Spaniards friars in the belief that they were
works of the devil or were written on materials that easily perished, like the barks of trees, dried leaves
and bamboo cylinders which could not have remained undestroyed even if efforts were made to preserve
Other records that remained showed folk songs that proved the existence of a native culture truly our own.
Some of these were passed on by word of mouth till they reached the hands of some publishers or printers
who took interest in printing the manuscripts of the ancient Filipinos.
The Spaniards who came to the Philippines tried to prove that our ancestors were really fond of poetry,
songs, stories, riddles and proverbs which we still enjoy today and which serve to show to generations the
true culture of our people.
Spanish Colonial Period
After the Spaniards succeeded in 1556 to break the last good organized resistance, a long period of
Spanish influence followed. The Spaniards ruled the country, brought the Christian religion to the country
and were responsible for a lot of colonial and religious buildings throughout the country.
The results can still be seen in places as for instance Cebu City and Manila.
Wall of Intramuros in Manila, a remnant of the Spanish colonial period
The arrival of the first Spaniards
In 1521 the Spanish period started with the arrival of a small fleet in the coastal waters of Mactan island,
just east of Cebu island. It was Fernao de Magelhaes (Ferdinand Magellan), a Portuguese in service of the
Spanish King. He claimed the country for the Spanish King.
Spanish expedition and colonization
Although there had been at least two individual European visitors, the first European expedition to
explore the Philippine archipelago was that led by Ferdinand Magellan, in the service of the king of
Spain. The expedition first sighted the mountains of Samar at dawn on the 16th March 1521, making
landfall the following day at the small, uninhabited island of Homonhon at the mouth of the Leyte Gulf.

On Easter Sunday, 31 March 1521, at Masao, Butuan, (now in Agusan del Norte), Magellan solemnly
planted a cross on the summit of a hill overlooking the sea and claimed possession of the islands he had
seen for the king of Spain, naming them Archipelago of Saint Lazarus
Magellan sought alliances among the natives beginning with Datu Zula, the chieftain of Sugbu (now
Cebu), and took special pride in converting them to Catholicism. Magellan's expedition got involved in
the political rivalries between the Cebuano natives and took part in a battle against Lapu-Lapu, chieftain
of Mactan island and a mortal enemy of Datu Zula. At dawn on 27 April 1521, Magellan invaded Mactan
Island with 60 armed men and 1,000 Cebuano warriors, but had great difficulty landing his men on the
rocky shore. Lapu-Lapu had an army of 1,500 on land. Magellan waded ashore with his soldiers and
attacked the Mactan defenders, ordering Datu Zula and his warriors to remain aboard the ships and watch.
Magellan seriously underestimated the Lapu-Lapu and his men, and grossly outnumbered, Magellan and
14 of his soldiers were killed. The rest managed to reboard the ships. (See Battle of Mactan)
The battle left the expedition with too few crewmen to man three ships, so they abandoned the
"Concepcin". The remaining ships - "Trinidad" and "Victoria" - sailed to the Spice Islands in presentday Indonesia. From there, the expedition split into two groups. The Trinidad, commanded by Gonzalo
Gmez de Espinoza tried to sail eastward across the Pacific Ocean to the Isthmus of Panama. Disease and
shipwreck disrupted Espinoza's voyage and most of the crew died. Survivors of the Trinidad returned to
the Spice Islands, where the Portuguese imprisoned them. The Victoria continued sailing westward,
commanded by Juan Sebastin de El Cano, and managed to return to Sanlcar de Barrameda, Spain in
1522. In 1529, Charles I of Spain relinquished all claims to the Spice Islands to Portugal in the treaty of
Zaragoza. However, the treaty did not stop the colonization of the Philippine archipelago from New
After Magellan's voyage, subsequent expeditions were dispatched to the islands. Four expeditions were
sent: that of Loaisa (1525), Cabot (1526), Saavedra (1527), Villalobos (1542), and Legazpi (1564).
The Legazpi expedition was the most successful as it resulted in the discovery of the tornaviaje or return
trip to Mexico across the Pacific by Andrs de Urdaneta.This discovery started the Manila galleon trade,
which lasted two and a half centuries.
In 1543, Ruy Lpez de Villalobos named the islands of Leyte and Samar Las Islas Filipinas after Philip II
of Spain. Philip II became King of Spain on
January 16, 1556, when his father, Charles I of Spain, abdicated the Spanish throne. Philip was in
Brussels at the time and his return to Spain was delayed until 1559 because of European politics and wars
in northern Europe. Shortly after his return to Spain, Philip ordered an expedition mounted to the Spice
Islands, stating that its purpose was "to discover the islands to the west". In reality its task was to conquer
the Philippines for Spain
On November 19 or 20, 1564 a Spanish expedition of a mere 500 men led by Miguel Lpez de Legazpi
departed Barra de Navidad, New Spain, arriving off Cebu on February 13, 1565, not landing there due to
Cebuano opposition.In 1569 , Legazpi transferred to Panay and founded a second settlement on the bank
of the Panay River. In 1570 , Legazpi sent his grandson, Juan de Salcedo, who had arrived from Mexico

in 1567 , to Mindoro to punish Moro pirates who had been plundering Panay villages. Salcedo also
destroyed forts on the islands of Ilin and Lubang, respectively South and Northwest of Mindoro.
In 1570, Martn de Goiti, having been dispatched by Legazpi to Luzon, conquered the Kingdom of
Maynila (now Manila).Legazpi then made Maynila the capital of the Philippines and simplified its
spelling to Manila. His expedition also renamed Luzon Nueva Castilla. Legazpi became the country's first
governor-general. With time, Cebu's importance fell as power shifted north to Luzon. The archipelago
was Spain's outpost in the orient and Manila became the capital of the entire Spanish East Indies. The
colony was administered through the Viceroyalty of New Spain (now Mexico) until 1821 when Mexico
achieved independence from Spain. After 1821, the colony was governed directly from Spain.
During most of the colonial period, the Philippine economy depended on the Galleon Trade which was
inaugurated in 1565 between Manila and Acapulco, Mexico. Trade between Spain and the Philippines
was via the Pacific Ocean to Mexico (Manila to Acapulco), and then across the Caribbean Sea and
Atlantic Ocean to Spain (Veracruz to Cdiz). Manila became the most important center of trade in Asia
between the 17th and 18th centuries . All sorts of products from China, Japan, Brunei, the Moluccas and
even India were sent to Manila to be sold for silver 8-Real coins which came aboard the galleons from
Acapulco. These goods, including silk, porcelain, spices, lacquerware and textile products were then sent
to Acapulco and from there to other parts of New Spain, Peru and Europe.
The European population in the archipelago steadily grew although natives remained the majority. They
depended on the Galleon Trade for a living. In the later years of the 18th century, Governor-General
Basco introduced economic reforms that gave the colony its first significant internal source income from
the production of tobacco and other agricultural exports. In this later period, agriculture was finally
opened to the European population, which before was reserved only for the natives.
During Spains 333 year rule in the Philippines, the colonists had to fight off the Chinese pirates (who lay
siege to Manila, the most famous of which was Limahong in
1574), Dutch forces, Portuguese forces, and indigenous revolts. Moros from western Mindanao and the
Sulu Archipelago also raided the coastal Christian areas of Luzon and the Visayas and occasionally
captured men and women to be sold as slaves.
Some Japanese ships visited the Philippines in the 1570s in order to export Japanese silver and import
Philippine gold. Later, increasing imports of silver from New World sources resulted in Japanese exports
to the Philippines shifting from silver to consumer goods. In the 1580s, the Spanish traders were troubled
to some extent by Japanese pirates, but peaceful trading relations were established between the
Philippines and Japan by 1590. Japan's kampaku (regent), Toyotomi Hideyoshi, demanded unsuccessfully
on several occasions that the Philippines submit to Japan's suzerainty.
On February 8, 1597, King Philip II, near the end of his 42-year reign, issued a Royal Cedula instructing
Francisco de Tello de Guzmn, then Governor-General of the Philippines to fulfill the laws of tributes and
to provide for restitution of ill-gotten taxes taken from the natives. The decree was published in Manila on

August 5, 1598. King Philip died on13 September, just forty days after the publication of the decree, but
his death was not known in the Philippines until middle of 1599, by which time a referendum by which
the natives would acknowledge Spanish rule was underway. With the completion of the Philippine
referendum of 1599,Spain could be said to have established legitimate sovereignty over the Philippines
Philippine Literature in the Spanish Colonial Period
Until the 19th century, the printing presses were owned and managed by the religious orders. Thus,
religious themes dominated the culture of the Christianized majority. But the native oral literature
whether secular or mythico-religious continued. Even among the Christianized ethnic groups, the oral
tradition persisted in such forms as legends, sayings, wedding songs such as the balayan and parlor theater
such as the duplo
Doctrina Christiana (1593), the first book to be printed in the Philippines, was a prayerbook written in
Spanish with an accompanying Tagalog translation
Mahal Na Pasion ni Jesu Christo, a Tagalog poem based on Christs passion, was published in 1704. This
long poem, original and folksy in its rendition of a humanized, indeed, a nativized Jesus, is a milestone in
the history of Philippine letters. Ironically -- and perhaps just because of its profound influence on the
popular imagination -- as artifact it marks the beginning of the end of the old mythological culture and a
conversion to the new paradigm introduced by the colonial power.
In the 18th century, secular literature from Spain in the form of medieval ballads inspired the native
poetic-drama form called the komedya, later to be called moro-moro because these often dealt with the
theme of Christians triumphing over Moslems was the foremost exponent of the komedya during his time.
A poet of prodigious output and urbane style, de la Cruz marks a turning point in that his elevated diction
distinguishes his work from folk idiom (as for instance, that of Gaspar Aquino de Belen). Yet his appeal
to the non-literate was universal. The popularity of the dramatic form, of which he was a master, was due
to it being experienced as performance both by the lettered minority and the illiterate but genuinely
appreciative majority.
Jose de la Cruz (1746 - 1829)
Popularly called Balagtas, is the acknowledged master of traditional Tagalog poetry. Of peasant origins,
he left his hometown in Bigaa, Bulacan for Manila, with a strong determination to improve his lot through
education. To support his studies, he worked as a domestic servant in Tondo. He steeped himself in
classical studies in schools of prestige in the capital.
Francisco Baltazar (1788 - 1862)
National Hero Jose Rizal (1861 - 1896)
Choose the realistic novel as his medium. Choosing Spanish over Tagalog meant challenging the
oppressors on the latters own turf. By writing in prose, Rizal also cut his ties with the Balagtas tradition
of the figurative indirection which veiled the supposed subversiveness of many writings at that time.
Rizals two novels, the Noli Me Tangere and its sequel El Filibusterismo, chronicle the life and ultimate
death of Ibarra, a Filipino educated abroad, who attempts to reform his country through education. At the

conclusion of the Noli, his efforts end in near-death and exile from his country. In the Filibusterismo, he
returns after reinventing himself as Simoun, the wealthy jeweler, and hastens social decay by further
corrupting the social fabric till the oppressed react violently to overthrow the system. But the insurrection
is foiled and Simoun suffers a violent death.
Philippine Literature in the Pre-Spanish Colonial Period
LEGENDS - Are forms of prose, the common theme of which is about the origin of a thing,place,
location or name. The events are imaginary, devoid of truth andunbelievable. Its aim is to entertain
Made up of stories about life, adventure, love, horror and humor where onecanderive lessons about life.
These are useful to us because they help usappreciate our environment, evaluate our personalities and
improve our perspectives in life.
are long narrative poems in which a series of heroic achievements or events, usually of a hero, are dealt
with at length. Nobody can determine which epics are the oldestbecause in their translations from other
languages, even in English and Spanish
Folk songs are one of the oldest forms of Philippine literature that emergedIn the Pre-Spanish period.
These songs mirrored the early forms of culture. Many of these have 12 syllables
Epigrams (Salawikain)- These have been customarily used and served as laws or rules ongood behavior
by our ancestors. To others, these are like allegoriesor parables that impart lessons for the young
RIDDLES (Bugtong or Palaisipan) -These are made up of one or more measured lines with rhyme and
may consist of 4 to 12 syllabes
Contemporary Period
The flowers of Philippine literature in the various languages continue especially with the appearance of
new publications after the Martial Law years and the resurgence of committed literature in the 1960s and
the 1970s.
Filipino writers continue to write poetry, short stories, novellas, novels and essays whether these are
socially committed, gender/ethnic related or are personal in intention or not.
Of course the Filipino writer has become more conscious of his art with the proliferation of writers
workshops here and abroad and the bulk of literature available to him via the mass media including the
internet. The various literary awards such as the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, the
Philippines Free Press, Philippine Graphic, Home Life and Panorama literary awards encourage him to
compete with his peers and hope that his creative efforts will be rewarded in the long run.
Macario Pineda (1946)
Ginto Sa Makiling is the first work of note that appeared after the second world war. In plot, it hews close
to the mode of romantic fantasy traceable to the awits, koridos and komedyas of the Balagtas tradition.
But it is a symbolical narrative of social, moral and political import. In this, it resembles not only Balagtas
but also Rizal, but in style and plot it is closer to Balagtas in not allowing the realistic mode to restrict the
element of fantasy.

Lazaro Francisco
The eminent Tagalog novelist of the pre-war
years, was to continue to produce significant

Ilaw Sa Hilaga (1948)

BayaningNagpatiwakal (1932)

Maganda Pa Ang Daigdig (1956)

Sugat Sa Alaala (1950)

Daluyong (1962)
ONOMATOPOEIA - The use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they
refer to.
MESSAGES IN POETRY - The idea about life that a poet writes about is called the theme or message of
the poem
FREE VERSE - A poem that has no regular rhyme or rhythm
USING ADJECTIVES - Is a word that describes, limits, or points out a noun.
*Making clear and correct comparison.
Source: https://prezi.com/u0bkbhmhmvhj/historical-timeline-of-philippine-literature/

Antonio Narciso III


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