Philippine Literature

1933 Words Aug 1st, 2009 8 Pages


Philippine literature, written in Filipino, English, Spanish, and Philippine languages (e.g., Cebuan, Ilocano, Tagalog,
Hiligaynon, Pampangan, Hanunuo-Mangyan, and Bontok), has been influenced by colonization, economic and social systems, religion, and political movements. An oral tradition continues to exist through epics, riddles, poems, and legends of the country's around sixty ethnolinguistic groups, reflecting a culture linked with the Malay of Southeast Asia and the influence of Indian, Arabic, and Chinese cultures. With the colonization of the islands by Spain and the United
States, Western forms such as the novel, short story, essay, and full-length play were introduced.
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The growth of a nationalist consciousness resulted in literature that called for reform. Written by ilustrados (Filipino students in Spain), many of these works either parodied religious literature or introduced new literary forms to better articulate issues. Marcelo H. del Pilar (1850–1896) criticized religious orders using the pasyon and prayers, using monetary currency to describe the friar in the poem "Friar Ginoong Barya" (Hail Father Coins) a parody of "Aba Ginoong
Maria" (Hail Mary, a popular prayer). National hero Jose Rizal (1861–1896) wrote the novels Noli me tangere
(Touch Me Not, 1887), and El filibusterismo (The Subversive, 1891), works that portrayed Philippine society with a critical view, introduced realism, and are considered to be among the most important works in Philippine literature.

The revolutionary organization Katipunan published in its newspaper Kalayaan essays and poems emphasizing that the
Philippines was a free land before the coming of the Spaniards, thus justifying the need for a revolution. "Ang Dapat
Mabatid ng mga Tagalog" (What the Filipinos Should Know), by Andres Bonifacio (1863–1896), rallied Filipinos in the struggle against Spain. The essay "Kalayaan" (Freedom), by Emilio Jacinto (1875–1899), asserts that freedom is a basic right of all human beings. Along with the revolutionary love songs of the period (kundiman), these anticolonial and
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