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Spanish Colonial Philippine Literature

Spaniards came
Immediate shift on the focus
of Literature

Became centered on Natural Phenomena suddenly

CHRISTIAN Lives of Saints

FAITH and other
religious hymns
Kinds of Literature in the Spanish Colonial Era

• Corrido – is a legendary religious narrative

form that usually details the lives of saints or the
history of tradition , octosyllable

•Example: “Ibong Adarna”

O Birheng kaibig ibig
Ina naming, nasa langit,
Liwanagin yaring isip
Nang nasa layo’y di malihis
• Awit – is a chivalric poem about a hero, usually
about a saint. It is also usually sung and used in
religious processions

•Example: Florante at Laura

• Pasyon – is a narrative poem about the life of

Jesus Christ, beginning from his birth and up to
his death. This is usually sung during the Lenten
season. Many women were trained before to
perform the Pasyon. Nowadays, it is sung by
seasoned performers in churches nationwide
• Cenaculo – is the dramatization of the passion
of Christ. It highlights the sufferings and death of
Jesus Christ, it is also done during the Lenten
Season. A good example is the San Pedro Cutud
Lenten Rites in San Fernando, Pampanga, where
fervent Catholics volunteer themselves to be
actually nailed to the cross to reenact the suffering
of Jesus Christ
•Moro- moro or Comedia de Capa y Espada –
is a blood and thunder melodrama depicting the
conflict of Christians and Muslims. It is actually
about the battles to the death and proof of faith
• Carillo – is a play that uses shadows as its
main spectacle. This is created by animating
figures made from cardboard, which are
projected onto white screens.

• Tibag – is a dramatic reenactment of St.

Helena’s search for the Holy Cross. St. Helena is
the mother of Constantine and is oftentimes
credited to have influenced her son to be the
great Christian leader is known for today. She is
also well-known to have traveled to Syria to look
for the relics of Jesus Christ’s cross, the one that
was used in his crucifixion. It is also widely
believed that she found it in the same country.
• Duplo or Karagatan – are native dramas that
are connected to Catholic mourning rituals and
harvest celebration

• Zarzuela – is probably one of the most famous

forms of entertainment back in the Spanish era.
Are musical comedies or melodramas that deal
with the elemental passions of human beings. It
follows a certain plot, which shows either a
satirical look at society or begrudged life
1 There are many stories woven about this
guardian spirit. Most of them deal with her
helping the poor and the sick, in the guise of a
peasant girl.
2 The precious things she lent the country folk
are said to be returned to her, along with the
offering of a young pullet with feathers white as
3 A hunter has revounted a face-to-face
encounter with the enigma herself. He was
hunting a wild boar, he said, deep into the forest
where Mariang Makiling lived. 2 The boar
suddenly crashed into some bushes and the
hunter, fearing that he would not find it again,
dived in after it. When he came to his feet he saw a
small hut, and witnessed his prey entering it. 1 He
followed the boar into the hut, thinking it
deserted, and then he came face to face with a
beautiful maiden standing by the boar, which was
meek in her presence.
4 The maiden said “This boar is mine and you
must not harm it. But I see that you are tired and
hurt. Come in, eat, and then go your way.”
1 The hunter, felt compelled to obey her. He sat down
at her table, she served him a porridge that he found was
unlike anything he had ever tasted. It invigorated him, and
after eating, he felt healed. 3 As a parting gift, Maring
Makiling filled his peasant hat, called a Salakot, with
yellow ginger.
2 The hunter , on his way home from the forest, found
that his salakot was growing heavier and heavier, and so he
broke a few pieces of ginger in half and threw them some
bits away. 1 Upon coming home , he handed Maria
Makiling’s gift to his wife, who found that the salakot,
instead of containing ginger, as her husband claimed,
contained gold. 4 The hunter regretted having thrown
away a few bits of ginger/gold along the way.
1 Mariang Makiling is said to be more than
compassionate. Once, there lived a young farmer who
always seemed to be blessed. 2 His fields were never
touched by any calamity, and his livestock were always
in good health. 3 The people of his village say he is
endowed with a charm, or mutya, as it is called, that
protected him and his from harm. 1 The young man
himself was good at heart and simple in spirit. 2 But he
was quiet and secretive, and would not say much of his
stranger activities, 4 which included frequent visits
into the wood of Mariang Makiling.
2 But there came a terrible time for him and his family.
War had come to his fair land, and army officers came,
recruiting unmarried young men who were in perfect
health. 1 So that the young man would stay safely in the
village, his mother arranged for him a marriage with a most
beauteous daughter of a wealthy family. 3 Upon finding this
out, the young man become more sullen than ever.

1 He visited Mariang Makiling’s wood one last time, a

few days before his marriage. Mariang Makiling lent him a
dress and some jewelry, for his wife to wear on their
wedding day. 4 “I would that you were consecrated to me,”
she said sadly, “ but you need an earthly love, and you do
not have enough faith in me besides. 1 I could have
protected you and your family.” this having been said, she
disappeared. 2 The young man went back to his village with
Mariang Makiling’s gift and presented them at once to the
girl he would marry.
1 But the girl did not care for Mariang Makiling’s
gift. 2 Instead she wore the pearls 3 and dresses her
mother had handed down.
4 Mariang Makiling was never seen by the
peasants again, nor was her humble hut ever

The colonization of Spain did not deter Philippine literature from

flourishing, instead, Philippine literature became richer and more
Writers such as Jose P. Rizal, despite being educated abroad as an
ILUSTRADO, did not forget about their heritage and chose to
transcribe some more of popular myths and folklore of their
hometown , so that these could be enjoyed by future generations.

These writings, whether pre-colonial or colonial, are to be cherished for

they show the ever-evolving lives of the Filipinos and the extensive
colorful history of the country.
They can be used for future generations as sources of wisdom and
Mapping the Philippine literary landscape of the past can help young
Filipinos like YOU to live your life meaningfully and determine what
you want for yourself – and the country – in the future.
Seat work: