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 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 1521.

 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 the existence of Philippine
 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 writings.
 Today, it is easier for scholars to do an analysis of
Philippine pre-colonial literature for a wealth of oral
lore has been collected.

 These indigenous literature were preserved by

Filipinos whose ancestors stayed beyond the reach
of colonial forces.
A. Communally owned

* Subject matter was common experience of a

group of people constituting a village (food gathering,
work in home, field, forest or nature and etc.)

*Common in riddles, proverbs and songs.

B. Uses language of daily life

* This is except for the epic, the epic singer must

have a good memory and musically creative.

* Any member of the community was a potential

poet, singer or story teller.
- as long as he knew the language and had been attentive to the
convention of the form.
C. Orally transmitted

* It was because folk literature was orally

transmitted from one generation to another that they
exist up until now.

* Delivering the piece is expressing the

performer’s own beliefs, attitudes, and emotions
Additional Information:
In settlement along the sea coasts, a native
syllabary was in use before Spaniards came and brought
to us the Roman Alphabet. This native syllabary was
developed from a common Malayo- Polynesian Base.
These are the following:

* 3 VOWELS (a, i-e, u-o)

(b, d, g, h, k, l, m, n ,ng, p, s, t, w, y)
Conventions of the various Oral literary
Like the following:
*Formulaic repetitions
*Stereotyping of characters
*Regular rhythmic and musical devices
 These conventions were aids to the performers to
better recall the literary pieces.
 It was these conventions that facilitated the
transmission of poems, songs, tales and sayings
and insured their survival into later times.
1.) Resistance to colonial rule
- Done by Maranaws, Tausugs of Mindanao and
Ifugaos and Bontocs of Mountain Province.

2.) Isolation from colonial power

- Done by Mangyans, Bilaans, Isnegs, and etc.
-Their settlements were also geographically
I.) Riddles – It is a folklore genre as well as rhetorical devise,
having often veiled or doubled meanings.

Two Types of Riddles

a.) Enigmas- which are problems generally expressed in metaphorical
or allegorical language that require ingenuity and careful thinking for
their solution.
Example: (“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”)
b.) Conundrum – which are questions relying for their effects on
punning in either the question or the answer.
Example: ( )

Another Example:
a.) It is so fragile that if you say its name you break it, what is
II.) Proverbs – brief, simple and popular saying, or a
phrase that gives advice and effectively embodies a
commonplace truth based on experience or common sense.

a.) Through words,
You may make others believe
You are rich;
But the fact remains that
You are poor.

b.) Full of good cheer while

borrowing a measure of rice,
Full of wrath when you ask him to pay back.
III.) Aphorisms – is a statement of truth and opinion
expressed in a concise and witty manner. The term is applied
to philosophical, moral, and literary principles.

By Shakespeare

a.) “Life is a tale told by an idiot – full of sound and fury,

signifying nothing.” (Macbeth)

b.) “Lord what fools these mortals be!” (A Midsummer

Night’s Dream)
IV.) Folk song – are quite literally songs of the people and in
determining the identity of a country. These songs give clues about
the country’s culture.
a.) Bahay Kubo (Nipa Hut)
b.) Pakitong – kitong
c.) Sa Ugoy ng Duyan (“The Swing of the Cradle”)

V. Epics – telling a story about a hero or about exciting events or

a.) Bi-ag ni Lam-ang (Popular epic in the Philippines)

VI. Folktales ,Myths and Legends

a.) The story of the orphan girl – Folktale
b.) The second creation – Myth
c.) How the angels built Lake Lanao – Legend