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21 century literature

The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata

By Gina Apostol


Gina Apostol (born 1963) is a Philippines-born writer based in the United States. She was born in Manila and grew up in
Tacloban. She graduated from the University of the Philippines Diliman and earned a Master's degree in creative writing at Johns
Hopkins University. Her American debut novel, Gun Dealer's Daughter, won the 2013 PEN/Open Bookaward. She has contributed
to the Los Angeles Review of Books and Foreign Policy.

Lives in western Massachusetts and New York City. Her third novel, Gun Dealers’ Daughter, which came out from W.W.
Norton in July 2012, won the 2013 PEN/Open Book Award and was shortlisted for the 2014 Saroyan International Prize. Her first
two novels, Bibliolepsy (University of the Philippines Press) and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata (Anvil Publishing,
Manila), both won the Philippine National Book Award for Fiction, also known as the Juan Laya Prize for the Novel. The Revolution
According to Raymundo Mata and Gun Dealers’ Daughter also won the biennial Philippine book prize Gintong Aklat (Golden
Book) in 2010 and 2012 respectively. She has done residencies at Civitella Ranieri in Umbria, Italy, and at Phillips Exeter Academy,
among other fellowships. Her articles and short stories have appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Los Angeles Review
of Books, Gettysburg Review, The Massachusetts Review, and other anthologies and journals.

Things to Remember:
1. Noli Me Tangere has a big contribution to the Philippines' acquisition of freedom.
2. Art is composed of different kinds of genre. It includes music, visual arts, literature, and so on. We can say that the "Art" that is being
pointed out in this excerpt is the Noli Me Tangere. Art can become a reproach to those who receive it when its content becomes
contradictory to what the people do and makes them reflect on what they failed to do. With the Spaniards, upon reading Noli Me Tangere
felt the books attempt to contradict the government that they have established in the country. With the Filipinos it became a reproach to
them realizing what they failed to do to free their country, thus it leads to revolution.
3. Reading became a historic act. with the act of reading Noli Me Tangere, it inspired them to fight and free the country.
4. Noli Me Tangere was banned because of its portrayal of corruption and abuses by the Spanish government and the Catholic Church in
the Philippines before. When Noli became a requirement in the Philippines' educational system, the Catholic feared that students may
have the wrong impression of the church, but this taboo has been overthrown because of the Rizal Law.
5. With bans there is always a way out. Even with many restrictions if an individual seeks to get something, they will come and get it. A lot
of books has been banned but people still have their hands acquired it. If people wants to read, let them. If you're afraid that it may
overthrow beliefs, ask about their opinions. If you feel like you have to speak, then speak. Now it will all just fall on guided

Elements of poetry
• Character-Raymundo Mata, Agapito and Benigno
•Setting- at the Binakayan where Raymundo Mata grew up and Dapitan where Rizal is.

• Theme- The overview and insights of Raymundo Mata which is a KKK member towards the revolution that happened in tha
past. The freedom and the independence that they long to have and the struggles and the experiences the narrator came to pass by
as having his journey of his life

•Plot Summary- In the novel, glimpses of this historical phenomenon are seen from the point of view of Raymundo Mata who has
always been known as a blind man. The first part tells how he learns the alphabet, spends time at the Binakayan stream with his
playmates (including Emilio Aguinaldo), begins his formal education, and develops a passion for reading. His childhood coincides
with the onset of the revolution, as seen in his entry about the Terror of Cavite which serves as a backdrop for events in his youth.
The revolutionary setting is further hinted at by Mata’s inclusion in the manuscript of a short story written before he and
Aguinaldo become members of the Katipunan. This part of the novel highlights its meta fictive element, being a fiction (the short
story) within a fiction (Mata’s journals) within a fiction (the novel) and nonfiction (the execution of Bonifacio) within a fiction
(the short story) within a fiction (Mata’s journals) within a fiction (the novel).”
• Message-Reading is a historic act and it has an impact to the readers. This novel talks about the revolution and the war against
America describe the revolution as elites’ initiation, and the masses are merely followers with no noble vision.

Padre Faura Witness the Execution of Rizal


by Danton Remoto


Danton R. Remoto (born March 25, 1963) is a Filipino writer, essayist, reporter, editor, columnist,
and professor. Remoto was a first prize recipient at the ASEAN Letter-Writing Contest for Young People.
The award made Remoto a scholar at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. As a professor,
Remoto teaches English and Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University. Remoto is the chairman
emeritus of Ang Ladlad, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) political party in the

Remoto's writings include the following:

Poetry: Skin, Voices, Faces (1991), Black Silk Pajamas / Poems in English and Filipino (1996), Pulotgata;
The Love Poems (2004), Rain, Padre Faura Witnesses The Execution of Rizal
Essays: Seduction and Solitude, X-Factor, Gaydar, Buhay Bading, Rampa: Mga Sanaysay, A Teacher's
Books: Ladlad, "Bright,Catholic and Gay," "Happy Na, Gay Pa," Riverrun

Elements of poetry
Message: Don't dwell in the past, keep moving forward. Being in the past, makes you a prisoner of it, not
able to move on. We need to learn from it and plan the future.
Character: Padre Faura, a priest and a professor that loved Pepe and Pepe, or the National Hero Jose
Rizal, the student of the priest and the one who got executed in Bagumbayan.
Stanza: Quatrain, 4 lines in a stanza. The poem has seven stanzas.
Rhyme: No Rhyme, as it is a Narrative Poem which does not necessarily have rhymes.
Form: Narrative Form in the point of view of Padre Faura

Things to Remember
1. Pepe is the Philippine National Hero, Jose Protacio Mercado Rizal y Alonso Realonda or commonly
known as Jose Rizal. During the Spanish era in the Philippines, children named Jose is given a nickname

2. Rizal has been in battle against the Spaniards through his writings. Being consciously aware that his
name is under fire, there is an immense knowing that his execution might be coming.
When we speak about purgatory in Roman Catholic Doctrine, it is where the souls enter after death for
cleansing and purifying of sins before transcending to heaven.
Rizal might have been thinking about his forthcoming death and is mentally preparing himself if he
is about to go to purgatory. What is it like? or maybe, does it even exist.

3. There is the statement that says, "when we look at the stars, you're actually looking at the past." The
light that we see from the stars is actually a light that travelled years- thousand of light years before it
reaches Earth. So, the stars that we see today are actually dead in present, what we're seeing is how they
shimmered thousand years ago.

4. The star is a metaphor of Jose Rizal. Like the star that's already died years ago, we can still see its light
shimmering before us. Like Jose Rizal, he might be dead, but his legacy will forever remain in the hearts
of the Filipinos.
5. Seeing Rizal in the midst of execution, the persona can't help but held tears in his eyes. Also, knowing
that months ago, he knows that Rizal has been preparing for this.


By BJ Patino
BJ Patino was a Filipino writer. He is 81 years old now.
He was still alive till this time. He is a professor in the University of the Philippines.

Historical Background
 The poem takes place during the time of the Martial Law under the rule of President
Ferdinand Marcos.
 The Martial Law began in September 21, 1972 under Proclamation no. 1081.
 The Martial Law did lessen the crime rate in the Philippines, however, the anyone who
was against President Marcos was jailed, or in many cases, disappeared without a
 According to Philippine-History. Org., 30,000 politicians, students, journalist were
“detained by[sic] military compounds under President’s command”.
 Many news publications and televisions news broadcast were closed and controlled by
the Marcos Government.
 Numerous human rights violations were made during this time.


The poem narrates us the point of view of a child about his father and a painting on the
wall called Apo. The poem tells us what really happened during Martial Law under the rule of
President Marcos alongside the Martial Law.
It reflects scenarios on how Filipinos experience fear and traumatic event throughout the
dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines.
It also advocates the importance of looking back in the past and giving its importance, moving
forward through our present so we can ensure a better future.

Element of the Poem

Forms and Structure
Apo on the Wall is a narrative poem which tells the story of a boy’s point of view of his
father and the picture on the wall called Apo. It is compost of 24 lines.
There are no rhymes in the poem.
It is a free verse.
To prove works hard,
Also brought a photo of his boss ( line 7 and 8)
Father snapped at me once, caught me
Sneaking around his office at home ( line 13 and 14)
Figures of Speech
Simile- His eyes following me like he was
That scary Jesus in the Hallway saying, I know what you’re doing (lines 22, 23, and 24)

The Safe House By: Sandra Nicole Roldan

Sandra Nicole Roldan, who wrote the Safe House, is a teacher of literature and creative writing at the University of the Philippines in
Diliman, Quezon City. She earned her degree in Creative Writing at the same school. Apart from winning the Philippine Free Press literary
award for essay, she is also recognized by both local and international writing fellowships.

Summary of the Story

 The story, which was set during the reign of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos following the declaration of Martial Law, is
based on a young five-year-old girl’s point-of-view. The setting is in an apparent “safe house” for rebel revolutionaries
and dissidents. With the overwhelming presence of “relatives,” the mother left the house. Her father was arrested
thereafter. The young girl would then go to her father’s cell and sleep. After at least 15 years, she once again saw a familiar
face. Finally, she realized that the safe house is really not that “safe.”
 Let’s start with the title “The safe house” in its physical aspect we can conclude that it is located in a village or a
subdivision. In the first line, “From the street, it is one box among many”, it leads us to the conclusion.
 The “relatives” mentioned in the story are actually the revolutionaries that are against the regime of Marcos. Especially, it
is the time of Martial Law. Many are wounded and fighting against the administration.
 In “1982”, the visitors are talking in a table filled with books and piled papers. With this we can sense that they are talking
about important things. Things that made the little girl quiet with her little noises.
 “His big feet look pale in their rubber slippers, a band-aid where each toenail should have been. He never takes off his
dark glasses, not even at night.” This man is mentioned by the five-year-old girl and this man, base from her description,
the man went to an extreme danger.
 These words were heard by the little girl “sundalo,kasama,talahib------katawan”. With this we can sense that one of them
died killed by the soldiers.
 A year passes by more people come by. People coming for “birthdays” where beer were served but never been opened. A
laughing game was a secret code to not make things obvious
 The small red book from China that the little girl noticed that “relatives” hides inside their clothes, we can say it is a book
of Mao Zedong or Mao TseTung. This book was distributed in China during the Cultural Revolution, in which many
people were killed, owning it became a way of surviving. This book covers class struggles, correcting mistaken ideas, and
other things that talks about revolution. This book has been carried secretly by the "relatives" and may be a source of idea
and inspiration.
 Another year passed, 1984, his father was arrested. In the preceding paragraph, it is said that the soldiers wave a guru and
said it is their fathers. He stutters while explaining why the
 gun has his own name on it. This could be a reason why his father was arrested.
 The little girl visits his father on its new home which is the “Camp Crame”.
 One night she had a bad dream. In her dream she saw her house as a dangerous place; filled with red stain on the floor and
broken wood on the kitchen. To make things happy and right in the eyes of an innocent child, she painted it with happy
colors blue, pink, and yellow. She drew stars, crescent moon and sun to cover up the fear that has struck in her home.
 Year later, the girl grew up and realized that the “relatives” were actually strangers and comrade of his father. She realizes
their agenda in their house and what those words she heard means. With too many faces she can barely recognize or
remember the people who came by. Some by the streets greet her and told her how she was when she was a child.
 One late night, a stranger came with his bag on his shoulders asking if she knew her father and she just answered she
doesn’t live here anymore. The man apologizes and walked away in the dark alley. Even though she knew that the man
has know where to go, fear crept in to her for she knows safe was a word she wouldn’t trust---- even her home is not a safe
place to stay.

Elements of poetry
Don’t let history repeat itself. Don’t let the past haunt us in the present.
Theme: The experiences of the little girl as his father is a member of the revolutionary.
Characters: The little girl, mother father uncles and aunts
Setting: The story revolved in the safe house
Exposition: The revolutionaries went to the house. The meetings is disguise as a “birthday”.
Rising Action: When the mother left her family.
Climax: When the father was arrested:
Falling Action: The little girl would visit his father on Camp Crame and that time she went back on the safe house.
Denouement/Resolution: When the girl rejected the ravage man and closed the door. It is a sign that she no longer
aaccepts the dark life, the danger it brings.