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Introduction to the Study of Philippine

Literature is a term used to describe written or
spoken material. Broadly speaking, "literature" is
used to describe anything from creative writing to
more technical or scientific works, but the term is
most commonly used to refer to works of the
creative imagination, including works of poetry,
drama, fiction, and nonfiction.
Philippine literature had evolved much before
colonization. It is full of legends and tales of
colonial legacy. Mexican and Spanish dominance
over the land and the people, over varying
periods of time, witnessed the incorporation of
English, Spanish, Filipino and native languages, to
express ideology and opinion. Literature in
the Philippines developed much later than in
most other countries. Evidence reveals the use of
a script called Baybayin that flourished in 1521.
Baybayin was used to write about legends, in
Luzon, during Spaniard domination

History of Philippine Literature

The literature of the Philippines is predominantly
a reflection of the influence of the Spaniards on
the indigenous culture and traditions. The people
of Manila and native groups within the Philippines
used to write on bamboo and the arecaceae
palm. They used knives for inscribing the ancient
Tagalog script. The literature thus preserved was
limited to the seventeen basic symbols of the
language. With just three vowels and consonantal
symbols that had predetermined, inherent sound,
the literature handed down was in a 'raw' state
and needed to be developed.
The Tagalog language script that was used
initially to preserve and hand down literature,
was limited to a diacritical mark or 'kudlit' that
further modified pronunciation and writing. The
dot, line or arrow head was either placed above
or below the symbol. The literature thus
preserved has played a very important role in the
public schooling arena and the rise of the
educated class. 'Ilustrados' such as Jos Rizal and
Pedro Paterno contributed to important Spanish
literary work in the Philippines and subsequently,
Philippine Classical Literature. The cultural elite
penned a number of historical documents.
Literature in the Philippines also includes various
national anthems, revolutionary propaganda and
nationalist articles. Most of the literature of the
land was initially in the Spanish language and the
contributions were profound writings by Marcelo
H. Del Pilar and Claro M. Recto, among a host of
others. Philippine literature was preserved well
through private publications like 'Plaridel' and the
first Spanish newspaper 'El Boletn de Ceb' and
'Flora Sentino', by Orlando Agnes.
Literature in the Philippines was developed and
preserved by native Filipino intellectuals. Isidro
Marfori, Enrique Fernandez Lumba, Cecilio
Apostol, Fernando Ma. Guerrero, Jess Balmori,
Flavio Zaragoza Cano and Francisco Zaragoza
played a major role in the preservation of the
stories handed down in time. Writers such as
Castrillo, Fernandez, Rivera, Licsi and Estrada
also spent a major part of their lives in the
documentation of 'by-word-of-mouth' hand-

downs. Columns and articles in newspapers such

as El Renacimiento, La Vanguardia, El Pueblo de
Iloilo, La Democracia and El Tiempo and
magazines such as 'Independent' and 'Philippine
Review' kept the legacies alive in Spanish and
Many of the world's best short stories are native
to the Philippines. When the Filipino writers began
using the English language for artistic expression,
they took the original works of the Philippines to
the west. The folk tales and epics were, in time,
put into written word along with poems and
chants that were the legacies of the
ethnolinguistic groups. Literary work now
available includes articles on Spanish conquest,
native cultural heritage, pre-colonial literature
and traditional narratives. Another very
interesting segment of Philippine literature
includes inspiring speeches and songs. This
segment has effectively maintained the
mystifying characteristic of Philippine epics and
folk tales. The narratives and descriptions of
various magical characters, mythical objects and
supernatural are surreal, distinctly adhering to
the ideologies and customs of the natives.
Ethno-epics such as Biag ni Lam-ang or the Life of
Lam-ang, Agyu or Olahing, Sandayo of Subanon,
Aliguyon, the Hudhud and Labaw Donggon are
great examples of assimilated styles and
language variations. Today, Philippine literature
reflects national issues through political
prose, essay writing and novels. Novels by Jose
Rizal, El Filibusterismo and Noli Me Tangere
patronize the revival of the rich folk traditions.

Introduction to Literature with

Philippine Literature
What is Literature?

It is a body of work, written, oral, or

visual, containing imaginative language
that realistically portrays thought,
emotions, and experiences of the
human condition.
Is a product of particular culture that
concretizes mans array of values,
emotions, actions and ideas. It is
therefore a creation of human
experiences that tells about people and
their world.
Literature is LIFE

Importance of Literature

Studying literature is like looking at the

mirror of life where mans experiences,
his innermost feelings and thoughts are
Through literature, we learn the culture
of people across time and space.
We understand not only the past life of
a nation but also its present.
Moreover, we become familiar not only
with the culture of neighbouring
countries but also with that of others
living very far from us.

Literary Standards

UNIVERSALITY Great literature is

timeless and timely. Forever relevant, it
appeals to one and all, anytime,
anywhere, because it deals with
elemental feelings, fundamental truths
and universal conditions.
Artistry. This is the quality that appeals
to our sense of beauty. Intellectual
Value a literary works stimulates
thought. It enriches our mental life by
making us realize fundamental truths
about life and human nature.
Permanence A great work of literature
endures. It can be read again and again
as each reading gives fresh delight and
new insights and opens a new world of
meaning and experience. Its appeal is
Style. This is the peculiar way in which
writers sees life, forms his ideas and
expresses them.
Spiritual Value. Literature elevates the
spirit by bringing out moral values
which makes better persons. The
capacity to inspire is part of the
spiritual value of literature.
Suggestiveness. This is associated with
the emotional power of literature. Great
literature moves us deeply and stirs our
feeling and imagination, giving and
evoking visions above and beyond the
plane of ordinary life and experience

Why do we need to study Philippine


Formalistic or Literary Approach The

study of the selection is more or less
based on the so-called literary
Moral or Humanistic Approach
A. Literature is viewed to discuss man
and its nature.
B. It presents man as essentially
rational; that is, endowed with
intellect and free will; or that the
piece does not misinterpret the true
nature of man.
C. The approach is close to the
morality of literature, to questions
of ethical goodness or badness.
Historical Approach Literature is seen
both as a reflection and product of the
times and circumstances in which it
was written.
Sociological Approach Literature
Viewed as the expression of man within
a given social situation which is
reduced to discussions on economy
which will underscore the conflict
between the two classes- the rich and
the poor.
Cultural Approach Literature is seen as
one of the manifestations and vehicles
of a nations or races culture and
tradition. It includes the entire compels
of what goes under culture
Psychological Approach Literature is
viewed as the expression of
personality, of inner drives or
neurosis. It includes the psychology
of the author, of the characters, and
even the psychology of creation. It has

To trace our rich heritage of ideas and

handed down to us from our forefathers
For appreciation of our heritage.
To understand that we have noble
traditions this can serve as the means
to assimilate other cultures.

Literature and History Together

Literary Approaches

resulted in an almost exhausting and

exhaustive psychological analysis of
characters, of symbols and images, of
recurrent themes, and others.
Impressionistic Approach Literature is
viewed to elucidate reacting response
which is considered as something very
personal, relative and fruitful.
Unconditioned by explanations and
often taking the impact of the piece as
a whole, it seeks to see how the piece
has communicated.

Literature and history are closely

In discovering history of a race, a
country, we basically understand their
own culture and traditions, hence the
written customs and traditions of a
country, the dreams and aspirations of
its people is called Literature.
History can also be written down and
this too, is literature. History therefore
is an integral part of literature.

Literary Compositions that Influenced

the World

The Bible or the Sacred Writings This

has become the basis of Christianity
originating from Palestine and Greece.
Koran- The Muslim Bible originating
from Arabia.
The Iliad and Odyssey These have
been the source of myths and legends
of Greece. They were written by Homer.
The Mahabharata- The longest epic of
the world. It contains the history of
religion of India.
Canterbury Tales- It depicts the religion
and customs of the English in the early
days. This originated from England and
written by Chaucer.
Uncle Toms Cabin- by Harriet Beecher
Stowe of the US. This depicted the sad
fate of slaves; this became the basis of
democracy later on.
The Divine Comedy by Dante
Alighieri. This shows the religion and
customs of the El Cid This shows the
cultural characteristics of the Spaniards
and their national history.
The Song of Roland This includes
Doce Pares and Ronscesvalles of
France. It tells about the Golden age of
Christianity in France.

The Book of the Dead This includes

the cult of Osiris and the mythology
and theology of Egypt.
One Thousand and One Nights or the
Arabian Nights From Arabia and Persia
(Iran) It shows the ways of government,
of industries and of the society of the

General Types of Literature Poetry


Genres of Literature Poetry Short

Story Novel Drama Essay

Why do we need to study Philippine


INTRODUCTION: "Philippine Literature"

An Introduction...

Philippine Literature is a diverse and rich

group of works that has evolved side-by-side with
the countrys history. Literature had started with
fables and legends made by the ancient Filipinos
long before the arrival of Spanish influence. The
main themes of Philippine literature focus on the
countrys pre-colonial cultural traditions and the
socio-political histories of its colonial and
contemporary traditions.
It is not a secret that many Filipinos are
unfamiliar with much of the country's
literary heritage, especially those that
were written long before the Spaniards
arrived in our country. This is due to the
fact that the stories of ancient time were
not written, but rather passed on from
generation to generation through word of
mouth. Only during 1521 did the early
Filipinos became acquainted with
literature due to the influence of the
Spaniards on us. But the literature that the
Filipinos became acquainted with are not
Philippine-made, rather, they were works
of Spanish authors.
So successful were the efforts of colonists
to blot out the memory of the country's
largely oral past that present-day Filipino
writers, artists and journalists are trying to
correct this inequity by recognizing the
country's wealth of ethnic traditions and

disseminating them in schools through

mass media.
The rise of nationalistic pride in the 1960s
and 1970s also helped bring about this
change of attitude among a new breed of
Filipinos concerned about the "Filipino
Philippine literature is written
in Spanish, English, Tagalog, and/or other
native Philippine Languages.

Whatever nationality you are it is always

very important to study the literature of
your country. In doing so you are not
only learning about the historical aspects
of your land, but you are also keeping
alive the thoughts, beliefs and cultural
variations of your ancestors that
differentiate your country from the rest of
the world.
A country's literature also tells us about its
civilization in a form other than straight
fact. Literature is usually one person's
description of a situation told through their
own personal feelings; eyewitness
testimony to historical events that we
were not present at. Writers have a talent
for bringing the past back to life with
emotive language and metaphor, helping
us to imagine scenarios that may have
happened decades, or even centuries,

Genres of literature are important to learn about.
The two main categories separating the different
genres of literature are fiction and nonfiction.
There are several genres of literature that fall
under the nonfiction category. Nonfiction sits in
direct opposition to fiction. Examples from both
the fiction and nonfiction genres of literature are
explained in detail below.
Types of Nonfiction:

Narrative Nonfiction is information

based on fact that is presented in a format
which tells a story.
Essays are a short literary composition
that reflects the authors outlook or point.
A short literary composition on a particular
theme or subject, usually in prose and
generally analytic, speculative, or
A Biography is a written account of
another persons life.

An Autobiography gives the history of a

persons life, written or told by that
person. Often written in Narrative form of
their persons life.
Speech is the faculty or power of
speaking; oral communication; ability to
express ones thoughts and emotions by
speech, sounds, and gesture. Generally
delivered in the form of an address or

Genres of Fiction:

Drama is the genre of literature thats

subject for compositions is dramatic art in
the way it is represented. This genre is
stories composed in verse or prose,
usually for theatrical performance, where
conflicts and emotion are expressed
through dialogue and action.
Poetry is verse and rhythmic writing with
imagery that evokes an emotional
response from the reader. The art of
poetry is rhythmical in composition,
written or spoken. This genre of literature
is for exciting pleasure by beautiful,
imaginative, or elevated thoughts.
Fantasy is the forming of mental images
with strange or other worldly settings or
characters; fiction which invites
suspension of reality.
Humor is the faculty of perceiving what is
amusing or comical. Fiction full of fun,
fancy, and excitement which meant to
entertain. This genre of literature can
actually be seen and contained within all
A Fable is a story about supernatural or
extraordinary people Usually in the form of
narration that demonstrates a useful truth.
In Fables, animals often speak as humans
that are legendary and supernatural tales.
Fairy Tales or wonder tales are a kind of
folktale or fable. Sometimes the stories
are about fairies or other magical
creatures, usually for children

Science Fiction is a story based on

impact of potential science, either actual
or imagined. Science fiction is one of the
genres of literature that is set in the future
or on other planets.
Short Story is fiction of such briefness
that is not able to support any subplots.
Realistic Fiction is a story that can
actually happen and is true to real life.
Folklore are songs, stories, myths, and
proverbs of a person of folk that was
handed down by word of mouth. Folklore is
a genre of literature that is widely held,
but false and based on unsubstantiated
Historical Fiction is a story with fictional
characters and events in a historical
Horror is an overwhelming and painful
feeling caused by literature that is
frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting.
Fiction in which events evoke a feeling of
dread in both the characters and the
A Tall Tale is a humorous story with
blatant exaggerations, swaggering heroes
who do the impossible with an here of
Legend is a story that sometimes of a
national or folk hero. Legend is based on
fact but also includes imaginative
Mystery is a genre of fiction that deals
with the solution of a crime or the
unraveling of secrets. Anything that is
kept secret or remains unexplained or
Mythology is a type of legend or
traditional narrative. This is often based in
part on historical events, that reveals
human behavior and natural phenomena
by its symbolism; often pertaining to the
actions of the gods. A body of myths, as
that of a particular people or that relating
to a particular person.
Fiction in Verse is full-length novels with
plot, subplots, themes, with major and
minor characters. Fiction of verse is one of
the genres of literature in which the
narrative is usually presented in blank
verse form.