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21st Century Literature from Philippines and to the World

Roselle Anne Crisostomo-Silvestre

What is Literature ?
Literature • Is a body of written works. • Originated from oral traditions. • Are imaginative works. • Deals
with stories and poetry. • The content depends on the author. Three Points of Literature • Literature portrays
human experience. • Authors interpret these human experiences. • It is an art form and a style of expression.

BC-1564 The Pre-Colonial Period

The Pre-Colonial Period • This existed before the Spanish occupation in the 1500s. • It is oral in nature and is
full of lessons and ideas about life, its blessings, and its consequences. • It contains ideas from birth to the
grave. • The oral characteristic of pre-colonial literature gives the possibility for many alterations. • In the
Philippine context, no matter how it may be considered as altered, pre-colonial literature is still revered to by
many Filipinos. • The sources are usually the local native town folk.

Forms of Literarture

1. Oral Literature

2. Folk Songs a. Riddles a. Lullabies b. Proverbs b. Drinking Songs c. Love Songs d. Songs of Death e.
Religious Songs

3. Folk Tales a. Myths b. Legends c. Fables d. Epics

The Three Literary Periods

1521-1898 The SPANISH Period

The Spanish Period

The start of the Philippine's more colorful history took place in March 6, 1521 when Ferdinand Magellan
docked on the shores of Homonhon. • The Filipinos were then called “Ladinos”, meaning they were latinized.
• Filipinos were called two things. One is the “Taga-Bayan”, while the other is the “Taga-bukid” or “Taga-
bundok”. • A person who is a Taga-bayan is considered urbane and civilized and were in easy range of the church
and state. • A person who is a Taga-bundok or Taga-bukid is called a Bruto Salvage (Savage Brute) or Indio
and were the ones who lived far from the center of the Spanish power.

Forms of Literarture

1. Religious Literature
2. Secular or Non-Religious Literature
a. Pasyon a. Awit b. Senakulo b. Korido c. Komedya c. Prose Narratives
3. Propaganda Literature
4. Revolutionary Literature
Religious Literature • Revolves around the life and the death of Jesus Christ.

Forms of Religious Literature:

Pasyon- it is about the passion (journey and suffering) and the death of Jesus Christ. Senakulo- it is the re-
enctment of the Pasyon.

Komedya- it depicts the European society through love and fame, but can also be a narrative about a journey,
just like Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. It is also considered religous, because it usually depicts the battle
between the Christians and the Saracens or the Moros.

.Secular or Non- Religious Literature • Revolves around tales of valiance and adventure.

Forms of Secular or Non-Religious Literature:

Awit- these are tales of chivalry where a knight saves a princess. Florante at Laura is a good example.

Korido- is a metrical tale or a tale that follows the struture of a poem.

Prose Narratives- are easy to understand instructional materials that in a literary light that teaches Filipinos on
proper decorum. Pagsusulatan ng Dalawang Binibini na si Urbana at Feliza (1864) is a good example.

Propaganda Literature

These were in the forms of satires, editorials, and news articles that aimed to attack the Spanish Rule.

The propaganda trinity is composed of Dr. Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, and Graciano Lopez Jaena.

Examples: Graciano Lopez Jaena Ang Fray Botod- One of his works written in Jaro, Iloilo in 1876, six years
after the Cavite Revolt attacking the friars in the Philippines. He exposed how some of the friars were greedy,
ambitious and immoral.

LA HIJA DEL FRAILE (The Child of the Friar) and EVERYTING IS HAMBUG (Everything is mere show)-
Here Jaena explains the tragedy of marrying a Spaniard.

Marcelo H. Del Pilar KAIINGAT KAYO (Be Careful)- a humorous and sarcastic dig in answer to Fr. Jose
Rodriquez in the novel NOLI of Rizal, published in Barcelona in 1888. He used Dolores Manapat as pen-name

DASALAN AT TOCSOHAN (Prayers and Jokes)- similar to a cathecism but sarcastically done agains the
parish priests, published in Barcelona in 1888. Because of this, del Pilar was called “filibuster.” Done in
admirable tone of supplication and excellent use of Tagalog.

ANG CADAQUILAAN NG DIOS (God’s Goodness)- published in Barcelona, it was also like a cathecism
sarcastically aimed against the parish priests but also contains a philosophy of the power and intelligence of
God and an appreciation for and love for nature.

Dr. Jose Rizal NOLI ME TANGERE- his was the novel that gave spirit to the propaganda movement and
paved the way to the revolution against Spain. In this book, he courageously exposed the evils in the Spanish-
run government in the Philippines.
Revolutionary Literature • are exposes that sparked revolution and resistance in the hearts of Filipinos.
Examples: Andres Bonifacio Katungkulang Gagawin ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Obligations of our Countrymen)
– an outline of obligations just like the Ten Commandments, hence, it is likewise called Ang Dekalogo.

Ang Dapat Mabatid ng mga Tagalog (What the Tagalogs should Know) – an essay outlining the basic tenets
of Bonifacio’s ideas on nationalism.

Examples: Emilio Jacinto Liwanag at Dilim (Light and Darkness) – a collection of essays on different
subjects like freedom, work, faith, government and love of country.

Apolinario Mabini El Desarollo y Caida de la Republica Filipina (The Rise and Fall of the Philippine
Republic) – this essay highlights the establishment of the Philippine republic and its subsequent doom due to
disunity among the Filipinos

Examples: Dr. Jose Rizal El Filibusterismo– This is a sequel to the NOLI. While the NOLI exposed the evils
in society, the FILI exposed those in the government and in the church. However, the NOLI has been dubbed
the novel of society while that of FILI is that of politics.

Publications El Heraldo de la Revolucion (Herald of the Revolution) – printed the decrees of the
Revolutionary Government, news and works in Tagalog that aroused nationalism. This is the Official
Newspaper of the Revolutionary Government of Aguinaldo. La Independencia (Independence) – an independent
newspaper founded and edited by General Antonio Luna. La Republica Filipina (The Philippine Republic) – a
private newspaper edited by Pedro Paterno. La Libertad (Liberty) – another private newspaper edited by
Clemente Zulueta.

1900-1942 The AMERICAN Period

The American Period • The Philippines had a great leap in Education and Culture. • The use of English
alongside Filipino was practiced. • The Philippines Public School system was introduced. • Free public
instruction was given to the Filipinos. • The literature during the American period was considered as imitative
of American model. Instead of asking the students to write originals, students ended up following the form of
American poets.


1. Poetry- poetry under the American rule still followed the style of the old, but had contents that ranged from
free writing to societal concerns under the Americans.

2. Drama- was usually used in the American period to degrade the Spanish rule and to immortalize the heroism
of the men who fought under the Katipunan.

3. Remake Novels- took up Dr. Jose Rizal's portrayal of social conditions by colonial repression.

Poetry Jose Corazon de Jesus (1832-1896) popularly known as “Batute,” created his own generation with his
first book of poems.

Mga Gintong Dahon (1920)- were poems pre-occupied with such non- traditional themes as passion-slaying,
grief-induced, insanity, and lover’s suicide.
Sa Dakong Silangan (1928)- returned to the awit form, retelling the history of Philippines under Spain, the
coming of the U.S under the guise of friendship to take over from Spain

Drama Severino Reyes (1861-1942) – spearheaded a movement to supplant the komedya with a new type of
drama, the sarsuwela, a Filipino adaptation of the Spanish zarzuela. Examples: Walang Sugat (1902)- is a
sarsuwela (drama in the form singing) drawn from the period of Revolution, depicting the cruelty and
corruption of friars and the heroism of the soldiers of the Katipunan.

Other successful sarsuwelas: Hindi Aco Patay (1903) by Juan Matapang Cruz Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas
(1903) by Aurelio Tolentino- is an allegorical presentation of the history of the nationalist struggle and how the
U,S. frustrated the Philippine revolution.

Tanikalang Guinto (1902) by Juan Abad (1872-1932)- is about Liwanag and K’Ulayaw, lovers who stand for
freedom and the Filipino.

Remake Novels Gabriel Beato Francisco (1850-1935)- is best known for his trilogy of Fulgencia Galbillo
(1907), Capitan Bensio (1907), Alfaro (1909), depicting the 30 years of colonial repression by the Spanish rule.
Inigo Ed. Regalado (1888-1976)- Madaling Araw (1909) was his first novel showing the complex interrelations
of issues and people in contemporary Philippine society.

Juan Lauro Arsciwals (1889-1928)- Lalaking Uliran o Tulisan (1914), allusion to the colonial law that branded
Filipino patriots as bandits.

1941-1945 The JAPANESE Period&1946- 1985 The REPUBLIC

The Japanese Period and the Republic

• The Philippine literature came into a halt.

• The use of the English language was forbidden, and the use of the Filipino language was mandated under the
Japanese rule.

• For some this was a problem, but to most writers, it was a blessing in disguise.

• Almost all newspapers were stopped except for some.

• Filipino literature was given a break during this period. Many wrote plays, poems, short stories, etc. Topics
and themes were often about life in the provinces.


1. Poetry 2. Fiction 3. Drama 4. Newspapers 5. Essays

Drama The drama experienced a lull during the Japanese period because movie houses showing American
films were closed. The big movie houses were just made to show stage shows. Many of the plays were
reproductions of English plays to Tagalog..

Newspapers Writings that came out during this period were journalistic in nature. Writers felt suppressed but
slowly, the spirit of nationalism started to seep into their consciousness. While some continued to write, the
majority waited for a better climate to publish their works.
Poetry The common theme of most poems during the Japanese occupation was nationalism, country, love, and
life in the barrios, faith, religion and the arts. Fiction The field of the short story widened during the Japanese
Occupation. Many wrote short stories.

Essays were composed to glorify the Filipinos and at the same time to figuratively attack the Japanese.


21st Century Literature In the 21st century Philippines, there are a lot of literary innovations that are adapted
and created by Filipinos. Nowadays, even those who do not have any significant literary background make their
own way using the freedom that they have to write and to express. There are a lot of new forms from the basic
genres of literature; thus, proving how far the literature in the Philippines has gone and how far it will go on
from here.