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Reasons for Studying Philippine Literatures

1.To appreciate our literary heritage;

2.For us to realize our literary limitations conditioned by certain
historical factors so we can take steps to overcome them;
3.To understand that we have a great and noble tradition which can
served as means to assimilate other cultures and;
4.To show that as Filipinos who truly love and take pride in our own
culture, we have to manifest our deep concern for our own
literature and this we can do by studying the literatures of our
Kahayon, et al., (1989, p.5) describe the following features of
Philippine literatures written in English:

1.Written literatures in English is phenomenological since the

inception of English in our culture;

2.Philippine literatures is about four hundred years old. Timelines

may not be necessary to the study of literature, but since
literature and history are inescapably related it has become
facilitative to map up system which will aid us in delineating
certain time boundaries.
Timeline in Philippine
1. Pre-Colonial Period (____ B.C. to 1564)
a.The longest period in Philippine literatures.
b.The literary outputs of this period cannot be called
substantial because much of it was oral (i.e. tales, songs,
riddles and proverbs)
c.Riddles – gives an enigma or puzzle
d.Proverbs – wise saying or “salawikain”
e.Songs were also very much part of pre-colonial literature
and the people’s daily life.

1. Nagtago si Pedro, labas ang ulo.

2. Hindi pari, hindi hari, nagdadamit ng sari-sari.

3. Heto na si Kaka, bubuka-bukaka.


Ti bassít a káyo nalaká a lintegén, ngem no dakkél narigáten.

A young tree is easy to straighten, but when it's big it is difficult.

Ti táo nga mannaríta, awán ti ania nga magapuánanna.

A man that talks too much accomplishes little.

Ti napudpudno a gayyémmo, am-ammontó no addáka ití pelígro.

A true friend is known in time of need.

Tay áso nga taol nga taol saán a makakagát ken makadunor.
Barking dogs seldom bite.
f. Mimetic – dances often accompanied these songs and rituals and were the
precursor of the drama form.

g. In prose, pre-colonial literature had myths, tales, fables, legends, and

fantastic stories.

h. Folk epic – the most significant and the longest form of pre-colonial poetry.
These are narratives of sustained length based on oral tradition, revolving
around supernatural events or heroic deeds, in the form of verse, which is
either chanted or sung, with a certain seriousness of purpose, embodying or
validating the beliefs, customs, ideals of life – values of the people.

i. Popular epics: Biag ni Lam-Ang (Ilocos region), Hinilawod (Panay Island), and
Bantugan and Indarapatra at Sulayman (Maguindanao)
2. The Spanish Regime (1565-1863)
The literary scene during this era was focused on religious themes due to the
Christianization of the Philippines by the Spaniards.

a. Took on a Religious Character

• Christianization of the Philippines
• Introduced the first printing press
• Doctrina Christiana – the first published book (1593)

b. Literary Output
• Catechisms
• Confession Manuals
• Grammar Books
• Dictionaries
c. Poems in Spanish and Tagalog were written by “Ladinos”
who were well-versed in both languages.
• Pasyon – the most popular form of religious literature
 A long time narrative poem about the passion and death
of Christ
 Ang Mahal na Pasyon ni Jesu Cristong Panginoon Natin –
Gaspar Aquilino de Belen’s well known pasyon
• Sinakulo/ Cenaculo
 A dramatization of the pasyon
 A play on the passion and death of Christ
 Performed during the Holy week
senakulo Pasyon / pabasa
• Two Popular Narrative Poems
i. awit
ii. Korido
• Sung or chanted
• Florante at Laura – most famous awit

• Other Literary Types

1. “Duplo” and “Karagatan”
2. Komedya – most popular drama form

• Prose
• Pagsusulatan ng Dalawang Binibini na si Urbana at Feliza by Marcelo de
Ito ang isa sa mga winika ni Urbana sa kanyang mga kapatid:

"Huwag ipapanhik ang nakikita sa kapwa tao at sa ating

bahay naman ay huwag ipapanhik ang nakikita sa eskwela,
sa lansangan at sa bahay ng iba, lalo na kung nauuwi sa
paninira nang puri."
isa pang bilin ni Urbana:

"Ibig ko disin, na ang mga sulat kong ito ay basahin mo, huwag
minsan-minsan kung hindi ang maminsan-minsan, sapagkat, kung
minsan-minsan lamang, matalastas man ang kahulugan ay madaling
makalimutan; kung basahin tuwi-tuwina, may malimutan man ay
naaalala, at ang nakaligtaan sa unang pagbasa ay maaaninaw sa
ikalawa; ang di nagandan nang una, ay mapagaralan sa huli, kaya
ipinamamanhik ko na basahit-basahin.“

(Language of Paombong, Bulacan)

The Nationalistic Period (1864 – 1896)

a. The last of the 19th century saw a new breed of writers.

b. If the religion was the thematic focus during the Spanish Era, a strong
feeling of nationalism was the main agenda of this literary period.
c. The period is divided into the Propaganda and the Revolution. (Rizal, Lopez
Jaena & Del Pilar)
d. At the close of the 19th century the revolutionist took over and there was a
shift not only in language (from Spanish to Tagalog) but in the audience or
readers from the “intelligentsia” to the masses. (Balabar, 1989, p.25)
e. Bonifacio, Jacinto and Mabini were the prominent revolutionary writers.
f. This period was truly significant because it produced a literature that was
realistic and truly Filipino (Balabar, 1989, p.26)
The United States Colonial Rule (1910-1930, 1920-1945)

a.Literature (in three languages) flourished

i. Spanish, English, Filipino
b. May be divided into two periods:
1. The period of Apprenticeship
- Paz Marquez Benitez – “Dead Stars”
- Paz Latorena – “The Small Key”
- Jose Garcia Villa – “Footnote to Youth”
- Zoilo Galang – “Child of Sorrow”
2. The period of Emergence
- Before the war and the Japanese Occupation
- Noted Short Story writers
- Manuel E. Arguilla
- Arturo Rotor
- N.V.M. Gonzales
- Francisco Arcellana
- Bienvenido N. Santos
5. The Japanese Occupation (1942 – 1944)

a. This literary period broke away from tradition especially among the tagalog poets.
Instead of writing in the Balagtas tradition (rhetorical, verbose, figurative) poets wrote
in simple language and free verse.
b. There was a bountiful harvest in poetry, fiction and in the fields of drama and essay.
(Balabar, 1989, p.27)
c. Broke away from tradition (war years)
- verbose
- figurative
(Balagtas Tradition)

d. Poets wrote in simple language and free verse (Ako ang Daigdig by Alejandro Abadula)
- Portray Filipino life and culture: Short Story
- Flowering of Tagalog Short Story
- Palanca Awards/ National Awards launched
6. The Contemporary Period (1960 – 1986)

a. Upheavals in Nation’s History

- First quarter Storm of the Seventies
b. Martial Law Years
c. Assassination of Ninoy Aquino
d. A merging of the three traditions
- Oral Lore – Ethnic Tradition
- Spanish Tradition
- American Colonial Tradition
e. Literary Expressions
- Give responses to the historical and political force that have
shaped Philippine society since the Pacific war.