Philippine Literature

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Ironically, the greatest portion of Spanish literature by native Filipinos was written during the American commonwealth period, because the Spanish language was still predominant among the Filipino intellectuals. One of the country's major writers, Claro M. Recto, continued writing in Spanish until 1946. Other well-known Spanish-language writers, especially during the American period were Isidro Marfori, Cecilio Apostol, Fernando Ma. Guerrero, Flavio Zaragoza Cano and others. Among the newspapers published in Spanish were El Renacimiento, La Democracia, La Vanguardia, El Pueblo de Iloilo, El Tiempo and others. Three magazines, The Independent, Philippine Free Press and Philippine Review were published in English and Spanish. In 1915, the local newspapers began publishing sections in English. Cebu had its share of writers in Spanish, most of whom flourished during the early decades of the century. Although their output would diminish in later years, Jose del Mar won a Zobel Prize (Premio Zobel) for his work Perfiles in 1965. In Asian literature, Filipinos especially excel in short stories. Leon Comber, the former British publisher of the Heinemann Writing in Asia Series and the head judge for the Asiaweek Short Story Competition commended the Filipino writers in his introduction to the book Prize Winning Asian Fiction, published in 1991 by Times Book International. He wrote: "Many of the best short stories came from the Philippines... because Filipino writers felt at ease using English as a medium of expression. In fact, their country is the third-largest English-speaking nation in the world and they take to writing in the language as a form of "artistic expression" and show just as much zest and natural talent for it as they do for painting, music and the other arts."
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