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Development of Philippine Literature in English


and Hispanic languages. . and other native Philippine languages. Philippine literature is written in Spanish. written in both Indigenous.DEFINITION Philippine Literature is the literature associated with the Philippines and includes the legends of prehistory. Tagalog. and the colonial legacy of the Philippines. Most of the notable literature of the Philippines was written during the Spanish period and the first half of the 20th century in Spanish language. English.

provided a model for secular literature. which has circulated in many versions. The Spanish conquerors. produced devotional poetry written in the Roman script in the Tagalog language. begun by Aquino de Belen. Verse narratives. governing from Mexico for the crown of Spain. death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. the corrido. the Mexican ballads of chivalry. is a narrative of the passion. Pasyon.PHILIPPINE LITERATURE IN SPANISH CAN BE DIVIDED INTO 5 STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT: Works of Spanish Religious About the Philippines (1593²1800) The arrival of the Spaniards in 1565 brought Spanish culture and language editors. The priests and friars preached in local languages and employed indigenous peoples as translators. Later. ´ . They were also written in the Roman alphabet in the principal languages and widely circulated. were performed in the regional languages for the illiterate majority. creating a bilingual class known as ladino. or komedya. Notably poet-translator Gaspar Aquino de Belen. establish a strict class system that imposed Roman Catholicism on the native population.

Fr. Pelaez worked much to the defense of his fellow Filipinos. a journal published in Madrid. S. But since most of the people who are knowledgeable in Spanish are those that belong to the Catholic hierarchy. Filipino writers began to recognize the Philippines a separate entity from Spain and codified these in different form of expressions. Among the first Filipinos to produce works is Luis Rodriguez Varela. Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Manila. a mestizo born in Tondo in 1768. Some even studied in the islands which gave birth to some publications like "La Oceanía Española".PHILIPPINE LITERATURE IN SPANISH CAN BE DIVIDED INTO 5 STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT: Formative Stage (1800²1873) During the so called 'Formative Stage'. "El Comercio" and "La Voz de España". many Espanoles came to the Philippines. With the opening of the Suez Canal. In his works. a journal of religious nature and acted as a correspondent to "La Generecion". founded the "El Catolico Filipino". religious works still make up a large part of the corpus. Pedro Pelaez. ´ .J.

the first Spanish newspaper.PHILIPPINE LITERATURE IN SPANISH CAN BE DIVIDED INTO 5 STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT: Nationalist Stage (1873²1903) During these years. was published in 1886. Nationalism was actually more propagated in the Spanish language rather than the vernaculars. ´ . Filipinos who could afford the European standard of living began to send their children to Spain for education. The Filipinos were also received by their Spanish peers so welcomingly that they were able to found the Circulo Hispano-Filipino. whose members include prominent personalities of the day. del Pilar were able to voice out their sentiments. With the help of Filipino national heroes like Jose Rizal. A potent tool in promoting Filipino nationalism in Spanish was the foundation of La Solidaridad in 15 February 1885. Graciano Lopez Jaena and Marcelo H. This formed a circle of learned indios who called themselves Los Indios Bravos. El Boletin de Cebu. In Cebu.

the greatest portion of Spanish literature by native Filipinos was written during the American commonwealth period. La Vanguardia. continued writing in Spanish until 1946. Hispano-Filipino literature started declining and the number of books and magazines written in Spanish by Filipino authors was greatly reduced. Claro Mayo Recto. In 1915. because the Spanish language was still predominant among the Filipino intellectuals.PHILIPPINE LITERATURE IN SPANISH CAN BE DIVIDED INTO 5 STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT: The Golden Age (1903²1966) Ironically. ´ . El Pueblo de Iloílo. One of the country's major writers. El Tiempo and others. the local newspapers began publishing sections in English and after World War II and the destruction of Intramuros where a large part of the Hispanic community was based. Among the newspapers published in Spanish were El Renacimiento. La Democracia.

Francisco Zaragoza . who won a Zóbel Prize for his work. Perfiles. academic director of the Academia Filipina de la Lengua Espanola ´ .PHILIPPINE LITERATURE IN SPANISH CAN BE DIVIDED INTO 5 STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT: Modern Works (1966²present) Although the output of Philippine literature in Spanish has diminished in later years. author of "Castala Intima´ and Guillermo Gomez Rivera. like Jose del Mar. there are still some notable writers.

that of employing native speakers as translators. among the conquered tribes. p. The Spanish colonial strategy was to undermine the native oral tradition by substituting for it the story of the Passion of Christ (Lumbera. and hence rendered the system of writing (e. The conquistador. . that the native tradition survived and even flourished in areas inaccessible to the colonial power. who were to rely mainly on their memory. was a prayerbook written in Spanish with an accompanying Tagalog translation. Doctrina Christiana (1593). however. the appeal of the Jesus myth inhered in the protagonist·s superior magic: by promising eternal life for everyone. destroyed whatever written literature he could find. he democratized the power to rise above death. The church authorities adopted a policy of spreading the Church doctrines by communicating to the native (pejoratively called Indio) in his own language. 14). and proverbs. It was. for the exclusive use of the missionaries who invariably read them aloud to the unlettered Indio catechumens (Medina). the Tagalog syllabary) inoperable. the native translator learned to read and write both in Spanish and his native language.PHILIPPINE LITERATURE IN THE SPANISH COLONIAL PERIOD ´ ´ ´ The existing literature of the Philippine ethnic groups at the time of conquest and conversion into Christianity was mainly oral. the first book to be printed in the Philippines. or what was left of it. riddles. however. songs. Among the only native systems of writing that have survived are the syllabaries of the Mindoro Mangyans and the Tagbanua of Palawan. especially its ecclesiastical arm. It is to be emphasized. Although Christ was by no means war-like or sexually attractive as many of the heroes of the oral epic tradition. consisting of epics. legends. Eventually.. the tardiness and the lack of assiduity of the colonial administration in making a public educational system work meant the survival of oral tradition. Moreover. But the task of translating religious instructional materials obliged the Spanish missionaries to take a most practical step.g.

55-56).13). 32). a nativized Jesus. p. religious themes dominated the culture of the Christianized majority. sayings. Ironically -. The popularity of the dramatic form. In the 18th century. of which he was a master.14). Thus. the printing presses were owned and managed by the religious orders (Lumbera. These writers. . Until the 19th century. that of Gaspar Aquino de Belen). Jose de la Cruz (1746 . secular literature from Spain in the form of medieval ballads inspired the native poetic-drama form called the komedya. later to be called moro-moro because these often dealt with the theme of Christians triumphing over Moslems (Lumbera. in the first decade of the 17th century. Even among the Christianized ethnic groups. indeed.PHILIPPINE LITERATURE IN THE SPANISH COLONIAL PERIOD ´ ´ ´ ´ This development marked the beginning of Indio literacy and thus spurred the creation of the first written literary native text by the native. pp. A poet of prodigious output and urbane style. is a milestone in the history of Philippine letters. original and folksy in its rendition of a humanized. wedding songs such as the balayan and parlor theater such as the duplo (Medina. p.and perhaps just because of its profound influence on the popular imagination -. was published in 1704. This long poem. But the native oral literature. published their work.1829) was the foremost exponent of the komedya during his time. called ladinos because of their fluency in both Spanish and Tagalog (Medina. whether secular or mythicoreligious continued. a Tagalog poem based on Christ·s passion. de la Cruz marks a turning point in that his elevated diction distinguishes his work from folk idiom (as for instance. p. But by far the most gifted of these native poet-translators was Gaspar Aquino de Belen (Lumbera. p. Among the earliest writers of note were Francisco de San Jose and Francisco Bagongbata (Medina). Mahal Na Pasion ni Jesu Christo. the oral tradition persisted in such forms as artifact it marks the beginning of the end of the old mythological culture and a conversion to the new paradigm introduced by the colonial power. Yet his appeal to the non-literate was universal. was due to it being experienced as performance both by the lettered minority and the illiterate but genuinely appreciative majority. mainly devotional poetry. 15).

Liberal ideas. The first Filipino novel was Ninay. Of peasant origins. Balagtas was one of the first Indios to become a Filipino.1862).e. the stage set for the development of prose. by itself. Despite the foreign influence. . Spaniards born in the Philippines) expanded to include not only the acculturated wealthy Chinese mestizo but also the acculturated Indio (Medina). social values were transformed. He steeped himself in classical studies in schools of prestige in the capital. Printing overtook tradition.. With these great material changes. is about tyranny in Albanya. but it is also perceived to be about tyranny in his Filipino homeland (Lumbera). became the mnemonic device. The industrial revolution had caused a great movement of commerce in the globe. His verse plays were performed to the motley crowd. however. provide insight and information to his oppressed compatriots in the very style and guise of a tradition provided him by a foreign (and oppressive) culture. broke class -. despite and because of the introduction of printing.and. Great social and political changes in the world worked together to make Balagtas· career as poet possible. To support his studies. in the Philippines -. allowing greater social mobility. In short. But the crucial element in Balagtas· unique genius is that. he was a child of the global bourgeois revolution.even racial barriers (Medina). His poems were sung by the literate for the benefit of the unlettered. which used to refer to a restricted group (i.PHILIPPINE LITERATURE IN THE SPANISH COLONIAL PERIOD ´ ´ ´ ´ Francisco Baltazar (1788 . The metrical regularity and rhyme performed their age-old mnemonic function. in time. The printed page. the novel endeavored to highlight the endearingly unique qualities of Filipinos. popularly called Balagtas. he worked as a domestic servant in Tondo. he left his hometown in Bigaa. 93). he remained true to his native traditions. with a strong determination to improve his lot through education. creating wealth and the opportunity for material improvement in the life of the working classes. Bulacan for Manila. written in Spanish by Pedro Paterno. being caught between two cultures (the native and the colonial/classical). His narrative poem Florante at Laura written in sublime Tagalog. The word Filipino. is the acknowledged master of traditional Tagalog poetry. a Philippine-born ilustrado (Medina p. Following the sentimental style of his first book Sampaguitas (a collection of poems in Spanish). he could switch codes (or was perceived by his compatriot audience to be switching codes).

Rizal·s two novels. by her poetry. they served to instill the conviction that there could be no solution to the social ills but a violent one. His closest aide. both were writers and social critics profoundly influenced by the liberal ideas of the French enlightenment. and its decline led to nativism and a renaissance of literature in the native languages. was the revolutionary organization·s ideologue. Rizal·s novels and patriotic poems were the inevitable conclusion to the campaign for liberal reforms known as the Propaganda Movement. Jacinto wrote political essays expressed in the language of the folk. who attempts to reform his country through education. The figure of Rizal dominates Philippine literature until the present day. The turn of the century witnessed not only the Philippine revolution but a quieter though no less significant outbreak. Rizal also cut his ties with the Balagtas tradition of the figurative indirection which veiled the supposed subversiveness of many writings at that time. the wealthy jeweler. By writing in prose. The two novels so vividly portrayed corruption and oppression that despite the lack of any clear advocacy. although either writer could have written in Spanish (Bonifacio. Meanwhile. Liberalism led to education of the native and the ascendancy of Spanish. But Spanish was undermined by the very ideas of liberation that it helped spread. waged by Graciano Lopez Jaena. the college-bred Emilio Jacinto (1875 . chronicle the life and ultimate death of Ibarra.1899). was the Philippine revolution headed by Andres Bonifacio (1863 .1896) chose the realistic novel as his medium.1897). a Filipino educated abroad.PHILIPPINE LITERATURE IN THE SPANISH COLONIAL PERIOD ´ ´ ´ ´ ´ ´ National Hero Jose Rizal (1861 . wife of Andres Bonifacio. for instance. and hastens social decay by further corrupting the social fabric till the oppressed react violently to overthrow the system. and like Rizal. the most well-known being Pag-Ibig Sa Tinubuang Lupa. Gregoria de Jesus. . The educated women of the period produced significant poetry.H. the Noli Me Tangere and its sequel El Filibusterismo. in Vigan of the Ilocano North. his efforts end in near-death and exile from his country. del Pilar. wrote notable Tagalog poetry. Choosing Spanish over Tagalog meant challenging the oppressors on the latter·s own turf. became the foremost Ilocano writer of her time. Bonifacio·s most important work are his poems. wrote a Tagalog translation of Rizal·s Ultimo Adios). At the conclusion of the Noli. and M. Significantly. In a sense. he returns after reinventing himself as Simoun. In the Filibusterismo. But the insurrection is foiled and Simoun suffers a violent death. Leona Florentino. Following closely on the failed reformist movement. about human dignity. Both were admirers of Rizal. both chose to communicate to their fellowmen in their own native language. and on Rizal·s novels.

as reflected in the works of this literature period. In addition. and had caused them to rise up to a nationalistic cause. The Filipino literature of this period became the predecessor of many more literary works to come in the ages. wherein the theme of nationalism and freedom of speech would be evident. the influence of religion. Yet regardless of the conflicts that plagued the relationship between the Spaniards and the Filipinos. . However. was lead by the friar/missionary/parish priest who were appointed by the Spanish government. besides on the daily life of the natives. due to the length of stay of the colonizers.SPANISH COLONIAL PERIOD (MID-16TH ± LATE 19TH CENTURY) ´ ´ ´ ´ ´ ´ ´ ´ The Spanish culture. The essay genre was recognized amidst the scene of editorial protest ² Jose Rizal and Plaridel (Marcelo H. Introduction of the roman alphabet that gradually replaced the ¶alibata·. which eventually turned into a revolution. Religion became an important theme that had influenced the early Filipino writings which had the presence of paganism ² ´Christian Folk-Taleµ. the Spanish influence ironically inspired a reformation from the natives. the Spanish culture was eventually imbued in the Filipino literature of the period. Despite the goal of the Spanish government to turn the country into a full-fledged European colony. a sense of nationalism was formed among the oppressed. showed a clash with the pre-colonial Filipino literature in the beginning. Del Pilar) were among those who opt in using the pen in voicing out the people·s cry instead of the sword.

PHILIPPINE LITERATURE AND ART DURING THE SPANISH PERIOD: Pasyon and Sinakulo (religious dramas performed during the Holy Week). ´ . ´ Komedya ² a theatrical performance which captured the ideal European lifestyle as portrayed by medieval characters. Corrido. ´ Narrative Poems ² Awit.

as well as the values of a Filipino. though there are symbols and themes which dictate the protest of the Filipino against the Spanish regime. Bienvenido Lumbera. works which created an impact on the national consciousness and love for one s country against the abusive government of the Spaniards. Pedro Paterno. is the first printed literary work in Tagalog. Florante at Laura Francisco Balagtas Baltazar. May Bagyo Mat May Rilim according to literary historian.NOTABLE WORKS OF THE SPANISH PERIOD: ´ ´ ´ ´ ´ ´ ´ Doctrina Christiana (1593) the first book ever published in the Philippines. . Natin na Tola (1704) eventually referred to as Pasyon. La Solidaridad Propagandist newspaper. it is uncertain as to whether or not Balagtas had intended the issue which was subtly derived from his work since he left no notes or additional pieces that may affirm the conclusion. Ninay (1885) first Filipino novel written. Noli Me Tangere (1887) and El Filibusterismo (1891) Jose Rizal. an example of Christian folk epic in which the passion of Jesus Christ was written in relation with the plight of the Filipino people who were oppressed by the colonizers. Ang Mahal na Passion ni Jesu Christong P. printed by the Dominican Press. was written by Gaspar Aquino de Belen.

Dagohoy. Brillantes. Zobel. documented East Visayan literature including the poetic forms such as the candu. His novels were El Último Romántico. early forms of narratives. ´ ´ . was a poet. Premio Concurso Literario de la Mancomunidad Filipina. he edited La Solidaridad (The Solidarity).most famous works were his two novels.was a Filipino politician. authored the book to reflect the golden age of Philippine literature written in the Spanish language. He also described the susumaton and posong. El La Vida Secreta de Daniel Espeña. who wrote in such was the language of the Filipino society.Philippines. Fr. fictionist. balac. canogon. 1960 (one of the last Filipino novels written in ´ ´ Fernando María Guerrero.haya. the most popular newspaper by Filipino exiles campaigning for reforms. His famous written Poetry is Original in Spanish titled ´A Hispaniaµ and in English Translation is ´To Spainµ. playwright and essayist from Cebu. Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. 1939. Premio Campeón and Spanish). Marcelo H. From 1889 to around 1895. ambahan. journalist. he helped the Propaganda Movement through his speeches and liberal writings on the plight of the Filipinos as a result of the abuses of the Spanish friars in the country.A master polemist in both the Tagalog and Spanish languages.a compilation of Spanish literature written by Filipinos.NOTABLE WRITERS IN SPANISH: ´ ´ Jose Rizal. bical. Ignatio Francisco Alzina (or Alcina) was a Spanish Jesuit who. Antonio AbadSpanish when 1929. Del Pilar. Lourdes Castrillo Brillantes. in 1668. who is herself a Zobel Prize winner in 1998. lawyer and polyglot who became a significant figure during the Philippine's golden period of Spanish literature. siday and awit. a period ranging from 1890 to the outbreak ofWorld War II in 1940.