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PRE-COLONIAL PERIOD Pre-colonial inhabitants of our island showcase a rich past through their folk speeches, folk songs, folk narratives and indigenous rituals and mimetic dances that affirm our ties with our Southeast Asian neighbors. During this period, everyone in the society-male or female knows how to read and write. They have their own method of writing which they use sharp-pointed tools, leaves, bamboo and trunk’s skin. They write from top to bottom and read it from left to right.


This period was rich in literary forms- riddle, legends, folktales, folksongs, proverbs, epics and fables. Examples: Riddle- three old people, sit facing each other (stove) Legends- “ALAMAT NI DARAGANG MAGAYON” Folktales- “HANSEL AND GRETEL” Folk songs- “MAGTANIM AY DI BIRO” Proverbs- “KUNG PUKULIN KA NG BATO, TINAPAY ANG IGANTI MO.” Epics- “IBALON” Fables- “SI LANGGAM AT SI TIPAKLONG” by Virgilio S. Almario


SPANISH PERIOD The existing literature of the Philippine ethnic groups at the time of conquest and conversion into Christianity was mainly oral, consisting of epics, legends, songs, riddles, and proverbs. The conquistador, especially its ecclesiastical arm, destroyed whatever written literature he could find, and hence rendered the system of writing (e.g., the Tagalog syllabary) inoperable. Among the only native systems of writing that have survived are the syllabaries of the Mindoro Mangyans and the Tagbanua of Palawan. Literature in this period may be classified as religious prose and poetry and secular prose and poetry. Religious prose and poetry written lyrics by Landino Poets are versed in Spanish and Tagalog and early Catechism used to teach Filipinos the Spanish language. The Tagalog Languages in 1605 are dalit , novenas, catechism.


This development marked the beginning of Indio literacy and thus spurred the creation of the first written literary native text by the native. These writers, called ladinos because of their fluency in both Spanish and Tagalog (Medina, pp. 55-56), published their work, mainly devotional poetry, in the first decade of the 17th century. Among the earliest writers of note were Francisco de San Jose and Francisco Bagongbata (Medina). But by far the most gifted of these native poet-translators was Gaspar Aquino de Belen ( Lumbera , p.14). Mahal Na Pasion ni Jesu Christo, a Tagalog poem based on Christ’s passion, was published in 1704. This long poem, original and folksy in its rendition of a humanized, indeed, a nativized Jesus, is a milestone in the history of Philippine letters. Ironically — and perhaps just because of its profound influence on the popular imagination — 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.


   In the 18th century, 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 , p. 15).         Jose de la Cruz (1746 – 1829)  was the foremost exponent of the  komedya  during his time. A poet of prodigious output and urbane style, de la Cruz marks a turning point in that his elevated diction distinguishes his work from folk idiom (as for instance, that of Gaspar Aquino de Belen). Yet his appeal to the non-literate was universal. The popularity of the dramatic form, of which he was a master, was due to it being experienced as performance both by the lettered minority and the illiterate but genuinely appreciative majority.         Francisco Baltazar (1788 – 1862) , popularly called  Balagtas , is the acknowledged master of traditional Tagalog poetry. Of peasant origins, he left his hometown in Bigaa , Bulacan for Manila, with a strong determination to improve his lot through education. To support his studies, he worked as a domestic servant in Tondo . He steeped himself in classical studies in schools of prestige in the capital.


Great social and political changes in the world worked together to make Balagtas’ career as poet possible. The industrial revolution had caused a great movement of commerce in the globe, creating wealth and the opportunity for material improvement in the life of the working classes. With these great material changes, social values were transformed, allowing greater social mobility. In short, he was a child of the global bourgeois revolution. Liberal ideas, in time, broke class — and, in the Philippines — even racial barriers (Medina). The word Filipino, which used to refer to a restricted group (i.e., Spaniards born in the Philippines) expanded to include not only the acculturated wealthy Chinese mestizo but also the acculturated Indio (Medina). Balagtas was one of the first Indios to become a Filipino. But the crucial element in Balagtas’ unique genius is that, being caught between two cultures (the native and the colonial/classical), he could switch codes (or was perceived by his compatriot audience to be switching codes), 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. His narrative poem Florante at Laura written in sublime Tagalog, is about tyranny in Albanya , but it is also perceived to be about tyranny in his Filipino homeland ( Lumbera ).


AMERICAN PERIOD  Philippine literary production during the American Period in the Philippines was spurred by two significant developments in education and culture. One is the introduction of free public instruction for all children of school age and two, the use of English as medium of instruction in all levels of education in public schools.         Free public education made knowledge and information accessible to a greater number of Filipinos. Those who availed of this education through college were able to improve their social status and joined a good number of educated masses who became part of the country’s middle class.         The use of English as medium of instruction introduced Filipinos to Anglo-American modes of thought, culture and life ways that would be embedded not only in the literature produced but also in the psyche of the country’s educated class. It was this educated class that would be the wellspring of a vibrant Philippine Literature in English.


THE PERIOD OF RE-ORIENTATON (1898-1910) English is a literary vehicle came with the American occupation in August 13, 1898 and as they say, a choice bestowed on us by history. By 1900, English came to be used as a medium of instruction in the public schools. From the American forces were recruited the first teachers of English. By 1908, the primary and intermediate grades were using English. It was also about this time when UP, the forerunner in the use of English in higher education, was founded.


THE PERIOD OF IMITATION (1910-1924) By 1919, the UP College Folio published the literary compositions of the first Filipino writers in English. They were the pioneers in short story writing. They were then grouping their way into imitating American and British models which resulted in a stilted, artificial, and unnatural style, lacking vitality, and spontaneity.


PERIOD OF SELF-DISCOVERY AND GROWTH (1925-1941) By this time, Filipino writers had acquired the mastery of English writing. They now confidently and competently wrote on a lot of subjects although the old-time favorites of love and youth persisted. They went into all forms of writing like the novel and the drama.


CONTEMPORARY PERIOD Filipino Writers during this period continue to write poetry, short stories, novellas, novels and essays whether this was socially committed, gender/ ethnic related or are in personal in intention or not. The Filipino writers has become more conscious of his art with the prolifiration of writers works shop here and abroad and the bulk of literature available to him via the mass media including the internet. The various literary award such as Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for literature, the philippine free press , philippine graphic encourage him to compete with his peers and hope that his creative efforts will be rewarded in the long run.


Members: RESEARCHERS- Reynato Belga Jr. Eugine Verdadero BACKGROUND MUSIC- Daniela Rose Baranda Eric John Campollo OTHERS- Mark Ali Bea Samuel Ballaran Jayson Arteta Francis Karl Camilo Jasper Paul Bordarais

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