Cebu Literature

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  • Topic: Visayas, Philippines, Cebuano literature
  • Pages : 5 (1949 words )
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  • Published : September 8, 2010
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Cebuano literature refers to the literary works written in Cebuano, a language widely spoken in the southern Philippines. The term is most often extended to cover the oral literary forms in both indigenous and colonial Philippines. While the majority of Cebuano writers are from the Visayas and Mindanao region, the most recognized Filipino literary outlet for them, including the Bisaya Magasin, is based in Makati city in Manila, while there is also a lively Cebuano community of writers in the language which is based outside the country. The term Cebuano literature, therefore, encompasses not only those Visayas and Mindanao-based writers writing in Cebuano, but all written output in Cebuano, wherever its source. History

Cebuano literature, as much as most literature of the Philippines, started with fables and legends of the early people in the Philippines and colonial period, right down to the Mexican (Viceroyalty of New Spain) and Spanish influences. Although existence of a pre-hispanic writing system in Luzon is attested, there is proof that baybayin was widespread in the Visayas. Most of the literature produced during that period was oral. They were documented by the Spanish Jesuit Fr. Ignatio Francisco Alzinal. During the Spanish colonial period, the religious theme was predominant. Novenas and gozos, most notably the Bato Balani for the Santo Niño. The first written Cebuano literature is Maming, by Vicente Sotto, The Father of Cebuano Literature. The story was published in the first issue (July 16, 1900) of his Ang Suga. Two years later Sotto wrote, directed, and produced the first Cebuano play, Elena.It was first performed at the Teatro Junquera (in what is now Cebu City) on May 18, 1902. The play established Sotto's reputation as a writer. The dedication of the play by the playwright reads, "To My Motherland, that you may have remembrance of the glorious Revolution that redeemed you from enslavement. I dedicate this humble play to you." Vicente Sotto attacked the decadent forms of linambay in his newspaper Ang Suga. He was challenged by a friend to write his own play as he was always attacking the linambay form. Sotto wrote the Cebuano "Ang Paghigugma sa Yutang Nataohan" (Love of the Native Land) as a response. The play was successful; Sotto organized the Compania de Aficionados Filipinos. Within the year, two more plays were written by Sotto: "Elena", which deals of a girl's love for an insurrecto; and "Aurora", which deals with a scandal involving the priests and nuns of the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion. Realism in Cebuano theater was stretched too much however; even Sotto himself was a victim of the movement he started, when prior to his running for mayor in 1907, a play entitled "Ang Taban" (1906, by Teodulfo V. Ylaya) was released. The play dealt with a kidnap allegation involving Sotto. During the American period, Ang Suga became the medium for publication of Cebuano writers. A community of writers slowly grow, to include the names of Florentino Rallos, Filomeno Veloso, Marcial Velez, Timoteo Castro, Segundo Cinco, Vicente Ranudo, Dionisio Jakosalem, Selestino Rodríguez, Filomeno Roble, Juan Villagonzalo, Leoncio Avila and Filemon Sotto. (Most of these people were recognized for their achievements by the generation right after them, as evidenced by the use of their names for major streets in Cebu City, but their role in the furtherance of Cebuano culture is lost to subsequent generations.) Juan Villagonzalo was the first to write a Cebuano novel. Four typical novels on the love theme written by popular writers during the American period would represent the pre-war writers' subconscious but collective efforts in creating a common core of meanings and values in the face of new American culture. These are Felicitas by Uldarico Alviola in 1912, Mahinuklugong Paglubong Kang Alicia ("The Sad Burial of Alicia") by Vicente Garces in 1924, Apdo sa Kagul-anan ("Bitterness of Sorrow") by Angel Enemecio in 1928-29,...
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