Unformatted Attachment Preview
Part 1 – The Historical Background of Philippine Literature
Definition of Literature:
The word literature is derived from the Latin term litera which means letter. It has been defined
differently by various writers.
Some loosely interpret literature as any printed matter written within a book, a magazine or a pamphlet.
Others define literature as a faithful reproduction of man’s manifold experiences blended into one harmonious
Because literature deals with ideas, thoughts and emotions of man, literature can be said to be the story
of man. Man’s loves, griefs, thoughts, dreams and aspirations coached in beautiful language is literature.
For Webster, literature is anything that is printed, as long as it is related to the ideas and feelings of
people, whether it is true, or just a product of one’s imagination.
In PANITIKING PILIPINO written by Atienza, Ramos, Salazar and Nazal, it says that “true literature is a
piece of written work which is undying. It expresses the feelings and emotions of people in response to his
everyday efforts to live, to be happy n his environment and, after struggles, to reach his Creator.”
EARLY FORMS OF LITERATURE
Cave painting from France which believed to be 15, 000 to 10, 000 B.C.
Early hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians
A hieroglyph was a character of the ancient Egyptian writing system. Logographic scripts that are pictographic in
form in a way reminiscent of ancient Egyptian are also sometimes called "hieroglyphs.
ALIBATA – is an ancient writing system that was used in what is now the Philippines.
Why We Need to Study Philippine Literature
Here are but a few:
We study literature so that we can better appreciate our literary heritage. We cannot appreciate something
that we do not understand. Through a study of our literature, we can trace the rich heritage of ideas
handed down to us from our forefathers. Then we can understand ourselves better and take pride in
being a Filipino. Like other races of the world, we need to understand that we have a great and noble
tradition which can serve as the means to assimilate other cultures.
Through such a study, we will realize our literary limitations conditioned by certain historical factors and we
can take steps to overcome them.
Above all, 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 literature of our country.
Literature and History
Literature and history are closely interrelated. In discovering the history of a race, the feelings, aspirations,
customs and traditions of a people are sure to be included . . . and these feelings, aspirations, customs and
traditions that are written is literature. History can also be written and this too, is literature. Events that can
be written down are part of true literature. Literature, therefore, is part of history.
Literature and history, however, also have differences. Literature may be figments of the imagination or events
devoid of truth that have been written down, while history is made up of events that really happened.
General Types of Literature
Literature can generally be divided into two types; prose and poetry.
Prose consists of those written within the common flow of conversation in sentences and paragraphs, while
Poetry refers to those expressions in verse, with measure and rhyme, line and stanza and has a more melodious
There are many types of prose. These include the following:
a) Novels. A long narrative divided into chapters and events are taken from true-to-life stories.
Noli Me tangere by Dr. Jose P. Rizal
b) Short story. This is a narrative involving one or more characters, one plot and one single impression.
Magnificence by Estrella Alfon
c) Plays. This is presented on a stage, is divided into acts and each act has many scenes.
May Isang Sundalo by Rene O. Villanueva.
d) Legends. These are fictitious narratives, usually about origins.
THE Kapre of Balete from Province of Mindoro Region IV
e) Fables. These are also fictitious and they deal with animals and inanimate things who speak and act like
people and their purpose is to enlighten the minds of children to events that can mold their ways and
THE MONKEY AND THE TURTLE
f) Anecdotes. These are merely products of the writer’s imagination and the main aim is to bring out
lessons to the reader.
THE MOTH AND THE LAMP
g) Essay. This expresses the viewpoint or opinion of the writer about a particular problem or event. The
best example of this is the Editorial page of a newspaper.
h) Biography. This deals with the life of a person which may be about himself, his autobiography or that of
News. This is a report of everyday events in society, government, science and industry, and accidents,
happening nationally or not.
j.) Oration. This is a formal treatment of a subject and is intended to be spoken in public. It appeals to the
intellect, to the will or to the emotions of the audience.
There are three types of poetry and these are the following:
A. Narrative Poetry. This form describes important events in life either real or imaginary.
The different varieties are:
1. Epic. This is an extended narrative about heroic exploits often under supernatural control.
Biag – ni – Lam – ang from Region I
2. Metrical Tale. This is a narrative which is written in verse and can be classified either as a ballad or a
BAYANI NG BUKID by Al Perez
HERO OF THE FIELDS by Al Perez
3. Ballads. Of the narrative poems, this is considered the shortest and simplest. It has a simple structure
and tells of a single incident. There are also variations of these: love ballads, war ballads, and sea ballads,
humorous, moral, and historical or mythical ballads. In the early time, this referred to a song
accompanying a dance.
B. Lyric Poetry. Originaly, this refers to that kind of poetry meant to be sung to the accompaniment of a lyre, but
now, this applies to any type of poetry that expresses emotions and feelings of the poet. They are usually short,
simple and easy to understand.
1. Folksongs (Awiting Bayan). These are short poems intended to be sung. The common theme is love,
despair, grief, doubt, joy, hope and sorrow.
2. Sonnets. This is a lyric poem of 14 lines dealing with an emotion, a feeling, or an idea. These are two types:
the Italian and the Shakespearean.
SANTANG BUDS by Alfonso P. Santos
Elegy. This is a lyric poem which expresses feelings of grief and melancholy, and whose theme is death.
THE LOVER’S DEATH by Ricaredo Demetillo
Ode. This is a poem of a noble feeling, expressed with dignity, with no definite number of syllables or
definite number of lines in a stanza.
Psalms (Dalit). This is a song praising God or the Virgin Mary and containing a philosophy of life.
6. Awit (Song). These have measures of twelve syllables (dodecasyllabic) and slowly sung to the
accompaniment of a guitar or banduria.
FLORANTE AT LAURA by Franciso Balagtas
Corridos (Kuridos). These have measures of eight syllables (octosyllabic) and recited to a martial beat.
C. Dramatic Poetry
1. Comedy. The word comedy comes from the Greek term “komos” meaning festivity or revelry.
This form usually is light and written with the purpose of amusing, and usually has a happy ending.
2. Melodrama. This is usually used in musical plays with the opera. Today, this is related to
tragedy just as the farce is to comedy. It arouses immediate and intense emotion and is usually sad but
there is a happy ending for the principal character.
3. Tragedy. This involves the hero struggling mightily against dynamic forces; he meets death or ruin
without success and satisfaction obtained by the protagonist in a comedy.
4. Farce. This is an exaggerated comedy. It seeks to arouse mirth by laughable lines; situations
are too ridiculous to be true; the characters seem to be caricatures and the motives undignified and
5. Social Poems. This form is either purely comic or tragic and it pictures the life of today. It may aim to
bring about changes in the social conditions.
PRE- COLONIAL LITERATURE (…-1564)
How Philippine Prehistoric/Pre-colonial Literature Got Rediscovered
Philippine pre-colonial literary history is the longest (…-1564)
Filipinos have the misconception that Philippine literary history began with the coming of the Spaniards in
With the discovery of the Tabon Man in 1962, we learned that the history of the Filipinos dates to as far
back as 50,000 years ago, suggesting also the possible length of existence of Philippine literature.
This human skull cap was discovered by Dr. Robert B. Fox, American anthropologist of the
National Musuem, inside Tabon Cave Plawan, on May 28, 1962. This Human relic was called the
Tabon Man refers to remains discovered in the Tabon Caves in Lipuun Point in Quezon, Palawan in the Philippines.
They were discovered by Robert B. Fox, an American anthropologist of the National Museum of the Philippines,
on May 28, 1962. These remains, the fossilized fragments of a skull of a female and the jawbones of three
individuals dating back to 16,500 years ago, were the earliest known human remains in the Philippines, until a
metatarsal from the Callao Man discovered in 2007 was dated in 2010 by uranium-series dating as being 67,000
years old. However, some scientists think additional evidence is necessary to confirm those fossils as a new
species, rather than a locally adapted population of other Homo populations, such as H. erectus or Denisovan.
Pre-colonial Literature (...-1564)
I. How Philippine Prehistoric/Pre-colonial Literature Got Rediscovered
o Philippine pre-colonial literary history is the longest (...-1564)
o Filipinos have the misconception that Philippine literary history began with the coming of the
Spaniards in 1521.
o With the discovery of the Tabon Man in 1962, we learned that the history of the Filipinos dates to
as far back as 50,000 years ago, suggesting also the possible length of existence of Philippine
This human skull cap was discovered by Dr. Robert B. Fox, American anthropologist of the National
Museum, inside Tabon Cave Palawan, on May 28, 1962. This human relic was called the "Tabon Man".
According to scholar William Henry Scott. "there is a discrepancy between what is actually known about
Philippine prehistory and what has been written about it" many chroniclers possessed biases towards
early Filipinos and these were reflected in their accounts/writings.
William Henry Scott, renowned historian who authoried 15 books in Philippine history including The
Discovery of the Igorots, is dead. He was 72 years old.
Reading for the Day: William Henry Scott on the Igorots February 25, 2007 at 3:06 pm
o They were intelligent, well-built, light skinned, naked save for G-strings, and estimated to number
between 18 and 20 thousand.
o They were headhunters frequently at war with their neighbors, held the most successful
collectors of these trophies in high regard.
o They worked their mines mainly by panning gold in placers in the streams and bartered it, at
qualities up to 22 carats, with particular trading partners in Pangasinan for rice, pigs, and
carabaos, driving these animals back on the hoof.
o Igorot gold fields are regularly referred to in 16th-century accounts as the wealthiest in the
o Today, it is easier for scholars to do an analysis of Philippine pre-colonial literature for a wealth of
oral lore has been collected.
o These indigenous literatures were preserved by Filipinos whose ancestors stayed beyond the
reach of colonial forces.
II. Characteristics of Philippine Pre-colonial Literature
1. Communally owned
• Subject matter was common experience of a group of people (food gathering, work in the
home, caring for children, nature...)
• Common in riddles, proverbs and songs
2. Uses language of daily life
• This is except for the epic; the epic singer must have good memory and be musically creative.
• Any member of the community can be a poet as long as he knew the language
3. Orally transmitted
• It was because folk literature was orally transmitted from one generation to another that they
exist up until now.
o Conventions of oral literary form: formulaic repetitions, stereotyping of characters, regular
rhythmic and musical devices.
Ethic dances and songs are usually accompanied by chordophones such as the TANKOL or bamboo
zither of the Bukidnon.
CORDILLERA PERCUSSION: flat gongs called gangsa usually made of copper and iron alloy are
percussion instruments valued by the cordillera groups such as Gaddang.
o The tongali is a four holed nose flute (one hole in the back) from northern Philippines and played
by the Kalinga and other peoples of Luzon. The tongali is one of the few nose flutes in the world
that is still actively taught, thanks to the work of Jose Maceda at the University of the Philippines
and the ongoing effects of the music department of UP Quezon. The tongali is one of numerous
traditional instruments that students can study at UP. There are stories from this region that say
that the nose flute was used to help rice grow when it was young, as the rice was attracted to
the soft sounds of the flute, and would grow to put its ear above
III. Ways in which Indigenious Culture Survived
o Resistance to colonial rule
- Done by Maranaws, Tausugs of Mindanao and Ifugaos and Bontocs of Mountain
Isolation from colonial power
- Done by Mangyans, Bilaans, Isnegs and etc.
- Their settlements were also geographically inaccessible the water to hear it better.
IV. How Indigenous Culture Disappeared
Filipinos became Christianized resulting to indigenous literature being set aside.
V. Forms of Oral Literature
o Riddles and Proverbs which contained talinhaga (metaphor)
o Vocabulario de la lengua tagala by Pedro Sanlucar and Juan de Noceda, collection of early riddles
and proverbs directly obtained from the people during the Spanish time.
Salawikain: Pinoy Proverbs
In general, a Pinoy will resort to quoting proverbs if he wishes to express himself eloquently, or if
he wishes to fancy himself as a sage of wisdom.
Defined interchangeably as
- "ornament to the language,"
- "words of our ancestors,"
- "wisdom of experience"
o Salawikain are sayings that are steeped in traditional Filipino culture and wisdom.
o They are forceful expressions cloaked in poetry, and are basically euphemistic passages that not
too infrequently enter daily conversations.
Much of pre-colonial poetry were monoriming and heptasyllabic
Example ambahan of Hanunoo Mangyans
Tanaga, like a Hispanized version of ambahan and has four lines
Tagalogs have 16 species of songs for different occasions
Functions of Songs
- taught people of their membership to the community
- used to give praise to the divinities
-Consisted of origin myths, hero tales, fables and legends.
Functions of Prose Narratives:]
Explain natural phenomena, past events and contemporary beliefs to make the world more
comprehensible and less fearful.
Make idle hours less tedious.
-Philippine drama as a literary form did not exist yet but existed in the simplest form.
-Mimetic dances imitating natural cycles and work activities.
It is accepted that the Spanish colonization of the Philippines started in 1565, during the time of
Miguel Lopez de Legazpi
Changes in lives of the Filipino
Embraced the Catholic religion
Changed their names and were baptized
Housing (stone and bricks houses)
Transportation/means of travel (carriages and boats)
SPANISH INFLUENCES ON PHILIPPINE LITERATURE
1. The first Filipino alphabet called ALIBATA was replaced by the Roman alphabet
2. The teaching of the Christian Doctrine became the basis of religion practices. Ex: Novena, Rosary, Prayer
every 6 o’clock
• The Spanish language which became the literary language during this time lent many of its words to
our language. EX: cebollas, cuarto, etc.
• Many grammar books were printed in Filipino, like tagalog, Ilocano and Visayan.
Until the 19th century, the printing presses that published literary works were owned and managed by the
religious orders. Thus, religious themes dominated the literature of the time.
Doctrina Cristiana – First book printed in the Philippines in 1593 in xylography
Nuestra Senora del Rosario – It contains the biographies of saints, novenas and questions and answer on religion.
Libro de los Cuatro Postrimerias del Hombre –
Ang Barllaan at Josephat – Biblical story – First tagalog novel printed in Phil.
The Passion – This s the book about life and suffering of Jesus.
Arte y Reglas de la Lengua Tagala (Art and Rules of the tagalog Language)