Influences on Philippine Literature

Topics: Philippines, Short story, Literature Pages: 12 (3138 words) Published: August 10, 2014
Historical Background

The Filipino Revolutionists won against the Spaniards who colonized us for more than 300 years. Our flag was hoisted on June 12, 1898 as a symbol of our independence. Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo was elected the first President of the Philippine Republic but this was short-lived. The Fil.-American was resulted in the defeat of Gen. Miguel Malvar in 1903. The peace movements started as early as 1900. Many Filipinos started writing again and the nationalism of the people remained undaunted.

Filipino writers went into all forms of literature like news, reporting, poetry, stories, plays, essays, and novels. Their writings clearly depicted their love of country and their longings for independence. The active arousal in the field of literature started to be felt in the following newspapers.

1. EL NUEVO DIA (The New Day). Established by Sergio Osmeña in 1900. The American censors twice banned this and threatened Osmeña with banishment because of his nationalistic writings.

2. EL GRITO DEL PUEBLO (The Call of the Nation). Established by Pascual Poblete in 1900.

3. EL RENACIMIENTO (The Rebirth). Founded by Rafael Palma in 1901.

There were also plays written then but after the first and second presentations, the Americans put a stop to this because of the consistent theme of nationalism. Included here were the following:

1. KAHAPON, NGAYON AT BUKAS (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow). Written by Aurelio Tolentino depicting the suppression done by the Americans and their plan to colonize the Philippines.


3. MALAYA by Tomas Remigio.

4. WALANG SUGAT by Severino Reyes. A. Characteristics of Literature during This Period Three groups of writers contributed to Philippine Literature during this period.

During the first year of the American period, the languages used in writing were Spanish and Tagalog and the dialects of the different regions, but Spanish and Tagalog predominated. In 1910, a new group started to write in English. Hence, Spanish, Tagalog, the Vernaculars and finally, English, were the mediums used in literature during these times. While the three groups were one in their ideas and spirit, they differed in their methods of reporting. The writers in Spanish were wont to write on nationalism like honoring Rizal and other heroes.

The writers in Tagalog continued in their lamentations on the conditions of the country and their attempts to arouse love for one’s native tongue. The writers in English imitated the themes and methods of the Americans.

A. Literature in Spanish

The inspiration of our Filipino writers in Spanish was Rizal not only because of his being a national leader but also because of his novels NOLI and FILI. These two novels contained the best qualities of a novel ever written, in English or in Filipino. Those who were inspired to write in praise of him were Cecilio Apostol, Fernando Ma. Guerrero, Jesus Balmori, Manuel Bernabe and Claro M. Recto.

Cecilio Apostol wrote poems dedicated to Rizal, Jacinto, Mabini and all other heroes but his poem dedicated to Rizal is considered the best poem in praise of the hero of Bagumbayan.

It is believed that Fernando Ma. Guerrero shared with Apostol the reign in the balagtasan in Spanish during their time.

He also dedicated a poem to Rizal but he collected the best of his poems in a book called CRISALIDAS, meaning, a kind of black, wooly caterpillar. Here are a few stanzas of his call to Rizal which he wrote on June 19, 1901 to commemorate Rizal’s birthday.

Jesus Balmori is well-known for his pen name of Batikuling. He and Manuel Bernabe participated in a debate on the topic – (Remembrance and Forgetfulness). He was elected Poet Laureate in Spanish besting Manuel Bernabe.

Manuel Bernabe is a lyric poet and the fierceness of his nationalistic spirit was unchanged in any...
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