Pre-Spanish Philippine Literature

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Bambi Rose M. Española
BA Psychology III
December 13, 2011

Philippines Pre-spanish Literature

Even before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, the country already possessed a rich literary tradition. This tradition serves as a mirror of the life, values, hopes, ideals and aspirations of the ancient Filipino people.

In this tradition, literary works were usually orally passed to the next generations. Ancient people used these literary works for recreation and ritual purposes. These works are fables, legends, myths, folktales, folksongs, riddles and proverbs, with subjects involving the common daily experiences of ancient Filipino people.

One of these literary works is the epic. Epics are narrative explanations of heroic deeds or events of hero under supernatural control, which validate the beliefs and ideals of a certain tribe. These are either sung or chanted during events such as harvests, funerals, weddings and other special occasions. An example of an epic is the “Tuwaang Attends a Wedding.” It is an epic of the Manuvu about a certain wedding guest named Tuwaang, who became the bride’s groom. In this epic, one could learn the practices and beliefs of the Manuvu people. For example, marriage among the Manuvu people are usually arranged by their parents to gain alliances and the future groom must give brideswealth or dowry to the bride’s family before they would be married. This practice of the Manuvu people was reflected in the epic, wherein the marriage was arranged by their parents and that the Young Man of Sakadna (the groom) offered brideswealth to the bride’s family before they could be married to each other. Also reflected in the story is the importance of betel chew among the Manuvu people. In the song, the betel chew played a very important role, for it served as a determiner of the bride for his groom. Also included in the story was the energy that the people could get from betel chew, which was shown when Tuwaang chewed a betel...
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