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Philippines was a prosperous land that consists of small
political units called barangays.
In the pre- Spanish period, Philippines was

Thalassocracy refers to a type of government with

primarily maritime realms.
The Filipino society back then consists of three distinct
social classes:
 Maharlika (nobles)
 Timawa (freemen)
 Alipin (slaves)
- namamahay (household slaves that are
granted homes and can own property)
- saguiguilid (slaves that do not have the right to
own property)
The Spanish, and other colonists thought of Filipinos
and other colonized groups as barbaric and illiterate
Filipinos were not barbaric people if anything they were
already civilized long before the colonization. In fact
they have already established a centralized
government, own legal system and own alphabet which
is called baybayin
Baybayin- (from the Tagalog word baybay meaning “to
spell”) was the writing system used by Filipinos in the
Pre-Spanish period derived from Brahmic scripts of India
and was one of the writing systems used in Southeast
A lot of people incorrectly name the ancient
writing system Alibata but that was a term
coined by Paul Rodriguez Verzosa after the
arrangement of letters of the arabic
alphabet (alif, ba, ta “f” having been
eliminated for easier pronounciation)
Long before the Spanish landed on Philippine shores, the
Filipinos have already been fond of poetry, songs, stories,
riddles, and proverbs.

Unfortunately, when the Spaniards arrived in the

Philippines the Spanish missionary tried to obliterate the
previous cultural records, and so only the orally
transmitted literature survived today.
Filipino have a rich collection of literature. From folk
songs to epic tales there is a number of remarkable
works that showcase the rich culture of the Philippines in
the pre-spanish period.

It was only natural that among the rich

collection of oral and written literature from the
Pre-Spanish period of the Philippines were the
myths, traditional or legendary stories which
featured one or more deities or demigods and
explain some kind of practice, rite, or
phenomenon of nature with the exception of
Muslims, Filipinos during pre-colonial times
believed in a lot of different deities.
The Tagalogs, for instance, believe in the
supreme deity called Bathala being the
creator of heaven and earth and all living
things. Under Bathala are a pantheon of
god and goddesses. The good deities are
divided into three generations:

Amanikable- the tagalog god of the sea, he was

originally the god of hunters.
Idiyanale- the goddess of labor and good deeds
Lakapati- the goddess of fertility
Mapulon- the god of seasons and husband of

 Mayari- the goddess of the moon and one of the three

daughters of bathala by a mortal woman.
 Tala- the goddess of the stars and sister of Mayari.
 Hanan- the goddess of the morning, sister of Mayari and
 Dumakulem- the son of idiyanale, he’s the strong and agile
guardian of the mountains.
 Anitun Tabu- the goddess of wind and rain, she was the
sister of Dumakulem.
 Anagolay- the goddess of lost things and wife of

 Apolaki- the god of sun, he is the chief patron of

 Diyan Masalanta- the goddess of love, conception and
childbirth. She is the youngest of all deities.
Other groups have their own pantheon of gods and
Kaptan/captan- visayan
Gugurang- bikolanos
The myths revolve around these deities from creation
stories to how certain being came into being. There were
various creation stories from the various groups in the
Malakas at Maganda
-One of the famous creation myths in the
Philippines was the story of the origin of man,the
story of Malakas (the strongest one) and Maganda
(the beautiful one)

Epic- refers to along narrative poem which tells

of heroic deeds or events. It also edify religious
tales, animal stories, or philosophical and moral
The Philippines has a wide range of epics from
different regions. Each have their own
marvelous tales of heroes and their adventures
which reflect their culture
Biag ni Lam-ang
One of the epics that were able to survive
with the help of oral transmission was Biag ni Lam-
ang (Life of Lam-ang). It was said to be a composite
work of various poets who passed it from generation
to generation and was first transcribed around 1640
by a blind Ilocano bard name Pedro Bucaneg
The Ilocano epic consists of 1477 lines and 206
stanzas (this is the Llanes version of the epic,
Leopoldo Yabe’s version consists of 305
stanzas) revolved around the main character
named Lam-ang who was blessed with the gift
of speech the moment he was born. He grew up
with suupernatural strength and has a pet cock
and a dog.
The epic was divided into four parts:
 The Prologue: The Birth of Lam-ang (line 5-108)
 The Quest for the father (lines 109-192): Lam-ang
quest to find the Igorots who murdered his father
and seek revenge.
 The quest for a wife (lines 455-1300): the story of
Lam-ang and his love interest Ines Cannoyan as
well as Lam-angs’s encounter with Sumarang and
Sarindandan and the wedding.
 Epilogue: The death and restoration of the hero
(lines 1301-1477):tells the death and resurrection
of Lam-ang.
this ifugao epic follows the adventure of
the hero Aliguyon, who fought an epic battle with his
arch-enemy Pumbakhayon. This epic is in the form of
a hudhud, which is a long tale that revolves around
the heroes of native Ifugao people and is typically
sung on special occasions. The story of Aliguyon is
traditionally sung at harvest time.
This visayan epic follows the adventure of
Labaw Donggon, the son of the goddess Alinsina
and Datu Paubari, a mortal. His adventures
include slaying a giant with a hundred arms and
facing the Lord of Darkness- all in order to win
various maidens
The Agyu
This is a Manobo/Illianon tale, which was
divided into three parts. It follows the adventures
of a hero whose people had been driven out of
their land. They go on a journey to Nalandangan, a
sort of utopia where there are no oppressors.

Folk songs- originated in traditional popular

culture or have been written in such style.
They are one of the oldest forms of literature
in the Philippines and have been an
important part of the Filipino culture since
the ancient times.
Folk songs originated in traditional popular culture or
have been written in such style. They are one of the
oldest forms of literature in the Philippines and have
been an important part of the Filipino culture since the
ancient times.

They have a wide range of folk songs for a variety

Kundiman(love songs) Diana (wedding songs)
Kumintang/tagumpay Oyayi/Hele(Lullaby)
(war song)

Epigram- is a rhetorical device, a witty

ingenious or pointed saying that is tersely
expressed. They are memorable, brief,
interesting and in the Philippines they
served as laws or rules on good behavior or
by ancient Filipinos. They are an expression
of truths, ethics and good morals

 Riddle- is a mystifying, misleading or puzzling

question posed as a problem to be solved or
guessed. It is rhythmic and parable.

Riddle were form of entertainment among Filipinos

during Pre-Spanish period and even until today. They
do not just serve to amuse the Filipinos. Riddle also
improves quick thinking and it also helped in
broadening the vocabulary. It is usually done during
special occasions be it harvest time or a funeral.