Terese Guinsatao Monberg, Michigan State University
(Published April 20,, 2016)
Sitting in the National Office of the Filipino American National Historical Society [FANHS], I am constantly reminded of its roots in community. Posters and photographs of Filipina/o1 American community-based readings, events, and performances—past and present—line the walls. The Filipino Youth Activities, Inc., which like FANHS was co-founded by Fred and Dorothy Cordova, is located down the hall. During my visit, Filipina/o American youth (and adults) are in and out of the building, actively involved in art projects, Filipina/o martial arts classes, and planning future community activities. Dorothy Cordova attended school in this very building, the former Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Elementary School located in the Central Area of Seattle. Growing up here, Dorothy was part of a dense fabric of Filipina/o American union activism, community building, social justice and immigrant rights organizing. But she was also part of larger interracial coalitions with African American and other Asian American groups. The neighborhood has been gradually gentrified, and Dorothy has noticed the demographics of the neighborhood shifting racially and economically. As we walk to lunch, she points out different landmarks, some containing only a trace of the history she carries with her.
Listening to Dorothy’s stories of this place, I am reminded of the palimpsest metaphor often used by cultural geographers, urban historians, anthropologists, and artists to describe a place with sedimented layers of history and culture, a place that has been written upon and overwritten many times. But as I’ve continued to listen, I hear how FANHS itself, as a community-based organization, is also a palimpsest, one deeply shaped by the place(s) of Seattle but also layered with other traces and places, other palimpsests, previous community formations that have emerged, thrived, faded, or changed over time—some in Seattle, some in other geographical locations. This sedimented notion of community is a key characteristic of alternative institutions, like FANHS, but one that is often invisible to community-based projects that neglect to take what Jacqueline Jones Royster calls “the long view,” a historical narrative that references “institutional, collective patterns in broad scope” (83). A long view of community recognizes communities as existing not just in time but also over time. This view is crucial for understanding how alliances emerge, shift, and seemingly fade, often in response to changes in the larger political, economic, and global climates that challenge communities to regroup—rhetorically and otherwise—repeatedly over time. An understanding of how community members persist in their cultural/rhetorical work, often beyond the temporal and spatial boundaries we assume or see, redefines what it means to research, teach, and work with community members. Growing Up Brown stories reveal legacies of community building and community advocacy and the deeper constellation2 that surrounds any community institution.
“Growing Up Brown” Stories
I began to hear constellations of community by listening to what FANHS members call “Growing Up Brown” stories. These stories are told predominantly (though not solely) by members of what FANHS calls the Bridge Generation: “Filipino Americans of the Second Generation … born on or before 1945.”3 It is significant that the Bridge Generation is marked as ending before 1946, when passage of a number of federal legislative acts began altering the demographic contours of Filipina/o populations living in the United States. In addition to marking the first year after World War II, 1946 also marks the end of the territorial period of U.S. colonization in the Philippines, the beginning of the right for Filipina/os who had been living in the United States to apply for naturalized citizenship, and the passage of new immigration policies that admitted more Filipina/o women, children, and families than before. As Filipina/o populations in the United States grew following the war, racial structures and attitudes impacting Filipina/os were also shifting. These shifting political, economic, and cultural contexts help explain why living in the United States as a Filipina/o or Filipina/o American was radically different before rather than after World War II. The stark contrast between past and present communities and contexts helps explain why members of the Bridge Generation feel compelled to share their stories, not just to remember the past but also to bridge different waves and generations of Filipina/o Americans who might be positioned differently but persistently in larger social structures and legacies of colonization and racism.
As the daughter of a Filipina American of the Bridge Generation, I have heard stories of growing up brown my whole life. As a child and young adult, I heard them as stories about how the world works, how our community has worked as it has changed over time, and as a reminder of how important it was for me to hear these stories given my own experience growing up off-white as a mixed-race Filipina American. When I began researching and writing about FANHS as a community-based organization over fifteen years ago, I came across published Growing Up Brown stories in the FANHS Journal4and in historical programming videos produced by FANHS. I attended my first FANHS Conference in 2000 and heard them performed for a FANHS audience, confirming my understanding of how these stories were both pedagogical and methodological, and therefore, deeply theoretical. As I collected a handful of interviews for my project, I listened to these stories, recursively, along with other kinds of stories I was gathering though pamphlets, journals, videos, conferences, participation in local public programming/events, informal conversations after conference sessions, during historical tours, and over meals. I have followed these stories as they’ve been documented and published in community-based publications and book-length memoirs. I’ve listened to stories told by subsequent generations, including grandchildren of the Bridge Generation. And when I write about these stories, I honor the stories in the manner in which they are told and shared. For example, the Growing Up Brown stories that I cite in published work, like this article, are stories that FANHS members themselves have published or made widely available beyond the FANHS community. But my own story is continually shaped by my recursive listening across all the stories I have heard over time. What follows is the story I am able to tell by listening to these stories not as individual narratives but as collective accounts about community. I listen to these stories, in other words, as theories and practices of community.
Like the Molave: It’s About Time
As it concerns community, the notion of time is underdeveloped in comparison to the notion of space and place.5 When working with communities, time is frequently framed as a logistical concern when, for example, academic timeframes and goals constrain the ways we might work with communities. Or, more importantly, time becomes a concern as we consider the time it takes to build reciprocal, responsible relationships, the time needed for responsible reflection and collaborative action, and the willingness to invest the time required to grapple with the complexities of community-based work. But if we recognize the rhetorical legacies present in any community, it changes the ways we might historically situate any given community member, tradition, or organization. For the purposes of this short article, I turn to the metaphor of the molave tree to illustrate how the notion of time is crucial for understanding the rhetorical/cultural work that community members perform, collectively, over time.
Filipina/o American literary scholars have referenced the image of the molave to theorize Filipina/o American writing as a continuous but often invisible tradition.6 Rafael Zulueta da Costa’s poem “Like the Molave” calls forth legacies of oppression, but also legacies of Filipina/o people who are “firm, resilient, staunch.”7 The molave tree, which grows in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia, is a strong tree often used to build houses or furniture. Because the molave propagates as a rhizome, it has also become a symbol of the strength and endurance of Filipina/o resistance movements. Like a rhizome, when forces of colonization or oppression break a given resistance movement into pieces, these pieces may be able to grow entirely new movements. These rhizomatous resistance movements grow horizontally rather than vertically, underground rather than above ground; they grow continuously, but their existence or direct connections to one another are not always visible. Filipina/o American writing, as a rhetorical practice situated, shaped, and often informed by these resistance movements, is also a legacy that persists over time but is not always visible in any given moment. N.V.M. Gonzalez and Oscar V. Campomanes, for example, theorize Filipina/o writing in the United States as marked by “chronic and multiple displacements,” and often “unsuccessful attempts by Filipinos to break through the pall of invisibility that has historically shrouded anything Philippine-related in the United States’ popular memory or historical memory and consciousness” (80). But the “Filipino imagination,” as Gonzalez and Campomanes confirm, is resilient and spans deep into the past in various guises always with an eye toward a possible future.8
Listening to Growing Up Brown stories through the metaphor of the molave, enables us to understand how Filipina/o American community formations are rhizomatous like the molave, having grown from horizontal stems of previous community formations. These stories illustrate how community institutions, like FANHS, grow like the molave tree: they come up through an often invisible and sometimes underground constellation of grassroots movements, community-based associations, and nonprofit organizations. Referencing intergenerational lifetimes of experience with building, sustaining, and renewing community, these stories, heard in the company of other stories, flesh out a cultural rhetorics framework that makes visible the dynamics of how community members see the community landscape shifting and repurpose their tactics accordingly. As narratives about community, Growing Up Brown stories contain evidence of previous community formations. For example, the community-based organization known as FANHS grew out of previous community-based organizations that Fred and Dorothy Cordova have formed including the Filipino Youth Activities, Inc. (FYA) and the Demonstration Project for Asian Americans (DPAA). But members of FANHS, including FANHS members of the Bridge Generation, have also been part of community formations prior to and parallel with their participation in FANHS. Growing Up Brown stories, in other words, do not just narrate how one community-based organization intervened; they also demonstrate how members of the Bridge Generation have actively built community-based organizations at different times in their lives,9 a practice that stems deep into their ancestral past. As stories that reference previous community formations and traces of distant past and possible future community formations, these stories place FANHS within a larger continuum of Filipina/o American resistance to colonial and racial oppression that has persisted over time.
Listening for Community Constellations
I begin with stories from my own history of community constellations. Fran Alayu Womack and her two sisters grew up on the same street as my mother as part of a small south side Chicago Filipina/o American community in the 1930s and 1940s. One of Fran’s favorite phrases to characterize her growing up brown experience is the phrase, “Always on Sunday,” which she has presented on many times and tells again during my interview with her:
Well, I’m going to write a book one day. It’s called, “Always on Sunday.” Every Sunday there was a Filipino picnic, christening, birthday party, something to go to. But Monday though Saturday, you were busy being ‘American,’ in quotes.
Fran puts “American” in quotes because her family struggled with everyday acts of racism and, like many members of the Bridge Generation, she and her sisters were continually asked to explain their brownness to others. Her sister, Jane (Terry) Alayu remembers playing the following guessing game:
When people would ask us what we were, they’d say, “Are you Chinese?” “No.” “Are you Japanese?” “No.” … ‘Oh, are you from Cuba?’ Or ‘Is that Hawaii? Is that where the Philippines are?’”
While this story is not uncommon to Filipina/os who lived in the United States before World War II, listening to these two sisters’ stories of growing up in Chicago reveals deeper constellations of community. Because of constant interrogation, Terry and Fran both remarked on the importance of being immersed in a Filipina/o community, to “be Filipino,” on Sundays. Fran says that these community gatherings served as “extended family,” and in her stories, I can hear how these gatherings provided her generation with positive role models and exposed them to a larger network of support that existed outside of dominant American institutions, like school. The Filipina/o American community that Fran and Terry often refer to in their Growing Up Brown stories, in other words, was not just a gathering of people at a picnic or a party but a larger constellation of people involved with building and participating in community-based institutions that can’t always be located on a map. As I listen, I hear formations of community that, like the molave, are not tied to a single geographical location but grow in a dispersed formation as the community gathers in different spaces regularly over time, strengthening the community’s resilience to sustain and renew itself over time.
I’ve had many conversations with Fran and Terry, about how their experiences growing up brown differed from those shared by members of the Bridge Generation who grew up on the West Coast. And, as I listen to her stories, I hear how their parents worked hard to build and include them in community networks available to them, given that the number of Filipina/os in Chicago was much smaller than those living on the West Coast. For example, Terry tells the following story about life on Chicago’s south side:
We were very lucky, we lived near the University of Chicago. And my folks-except for my mother one time—didn’t look for Filipino students at the University but they would hear that there was a Filipino working at the library (because there weren’t many around you know). So, they’d go over there and they’d meet my father and then eventually would come over for dinner, or, you know, several times, more times, I don’t know. But anyway, it gave us an opportunity to see professionals—Filipinos—women and men. … And I could go up and talk to them anyway I wanted to, if they were available.
Growing up near the University of Chicago, Terry and her sisters were exposed to a network of Filipina/o associations meant to support Filipina/o students. In that era, Chicago was “an American educational mecca,” Barbara M. Posadas and Roland L. Guyotte explain, because it offered “a gamut of educational opportunities from junior college to graduate school unparalleled in any West Coast urban area before 1945” (32). While small in number, Filipina/os pursuing these educational opportunities in Chicago formed loose community-based and campus-based organizations to develop camaraderie, ease their adjustment to life in the United States, and support their academic aspirations—and Terry remembers being part of that network through her parents. As I listen to Terry’s story, I hear her tell not just of exposure to role models, but exposure to methods for building community networks, growing those networks into more stable community-based organizations, and shifting organizational purposes based on shifting social structures. In this way, Terry (and Fran) learned to be activists and community advocates through gestures that might be considered small and inconsequential and would therefore be invisible to most paradigms and theories of community because, like the molave’s, the communities’ interconnected root systems were often grown underground, sideways, and sometimes they seemingly died back only to surface in entirely new locations above ground. During their lifetimes, Terry and Fran were active not only in FANHS but in other Filipina/o American community-based organizations and civil rights organizations, and actively instilled this same sense of community in the next generation.
While Terry and Fran often spoke of the differences between growing up brown in Chicago versus on the West Coast, they also often spoke of the striking similarities. And stories of growing up brown on the West Coast also demonstrate how legacies of community building extend into the deep past of many members of the Bridge Generation. In “Letters to my Beloved Grandchildren,” Herb Jamero shares stories of growing up in a farm labor camp in Livingston, California that housed “as many as 100 ‘Pinoys’ [Filipinos] at the peak of harvest time” (24). He remembers, as a young boy, working alongside these “uncles” in the fields, doing domestic chores, and playing with them after work, talking, laughing and singing. But compared to the sense of community he felt in the labor camp, Herb describes going to school as “pretty strange”:
All of a sudden I was no longer surrounded by familiar and caring Filipino adults or playmates with whom we gathered every Sunday at the “sabong” (chicken fights). Now, I was in a schoolroom where I was the only Filipino boy with 20 to 30 other children – mostly white and Mexican. … Then, hurrying home, to the safer surroundings of our [farm labor] camp where I would read my daily lessons to my uncles. Not only would I read my lessons, I would read newspapers, comic books, and magazines to them. Not until much, much later did I come to realize that [me and my brothers and sisters] were tutoring them also – helping them become more familiar with English and expanding their own vocabulary. This I did not know. (24)
Herb’s Growing Up Brown story recalls memories of feeling safer in the labor camp than he did at school. Upon returning to the labor camp after school, Herb and his siblings shared what they had learned about American society—including the English language—with their uncles. In this role, Herb advocated for members of his community who were excluded from educational resources that would help them navigate American society and negotiate better working conditions. But he was also building community among a group of men, women, and children who were similarly positioned by racial, economic, and colonial forces and who were “[l]iving and depending on each other for the survival of a people so very far away from their own family and home [in the Philippines]” (25). Herb needed the sense of belonging and purpose this community provided him just as much as the men he tutored. The men encouraged Herb’s education in dominant U.S. institutions like school because as Herb brought his studies back to his community, the importance of that education was magnified. But Herb also needed the education that alternative institutions like the labor camp provided through his uncles—knowledge, relationships, and strategies around Filipina/o culture, language, history and the challenges facing Filipina/os in this particular racial and colonial context. Herb and his uncles formed horizontal alliances in their collective interest to resist and survive the racist and colonial institutions that structured their lives in the United States. And it's the power of these horizontal stems of community and social justice movements that have the power to propagate new movements as shifting landscapes impact the health of any given node.
Looking back on this practice, Herb not only emphasizes the significance of reading to his uncles but also places this practice within a longer legacy of community building practices. Embedded within his “Letters to My Beloved Grandchildren,” he shares “the story of how we all came to be and its beginnings” (22). In this particular story, Herb shares memories of his father, who, “as a young man, responded to the call for labor in the pineapple and sugar cane fields of Hawaii as did thousands of other Pinoys from the regions of Visayas and Ilocos” during the territorial period of U.S. colonization (23). As Herb explains that his father came from “a poor land,” he also calls forth the memory of centuries of Spanish colonization that transformed an agrarian subsistence economy into a global (primarily export) economy. But as he shares his father’s long-standing reputation as a leader, he calls forth his dad’s leadership in the Philippines and in the States: his need to leave school in the second grade, in part, to support his family; his willingness, as a young man, to migrate to the States for work; and his role as founder of a labor camp who “negotiate[ed] with the local farmers and ranchers for a better deal” for his workers (22). But Herb’s story of Growing Up Brown, like Terry’s story, also indexes other forms of work that his father performed to build and grow the rootstalks of community resistance and survival:
Because of his role, function, and connections in the community it was natural that he became a leader. However, he earned his leadership in many other ways as well. Through his visits and contacts with families or laborers in other camps (many isolated, at the end of dusty roads, or almost hidden by orchards)—he developed a network of communication and mutual support which strengthened their resolve and determination to “make it” in this country. (23)
Herb’s story demonstrates how his father built and used a network of community connections to help struggling migrant workers, families, and communities. In telling this story to his grandchildren (and to a larger intended audience of Filipina/o Americans), Herb is not just recounting and documenting memories that honor his father. He is also reenacting his father’s community leadership. Listening to this story, I hear not just the telling of how his father planted deep roots for community, I also hear Herb reenacting this practice. True to the molave, he is a node in an already complex ecosystem of resistance, a node that now grows another interconnected root system that both stabilizes and protects the larger movement by providing the nutrients that allow present and future community formations to sprout and grow.
Herb’s story demonstrates how his parents’ labor camp served as a community-based institution. While his father negotiated labor conditions, his mother also served as a bridge between these migrant workers and larger American society. In sharing his mother’s story, Herb also describes her as a leader among the migrant workers:
Because of her generosity, openness, and willingness to share her life with others—she attracted to her home many single and lonely men. This was the beginning of the “Jamero Labor Camp.” They not only sought out her company, but learned to depend on her natural and acquired skills of communicating to a different, and sometimes hostile culture. (17)
Just as Herb situates his father within longer legacies of struggle and resistance against colonizing forces, he also places his mother within these legacies when he asks: “Who was this ‘Pinay’ who came from an island archipelago half way around the world named after the King of Spain by those early Spanish explorers?” (17). As I listen to Herb’s story about his mother, I don’t hear a story of individual exceptionalism. Instead, the story evokes a deeper constellation of community formations and resistance movements led by Filipinas including Gabriela Silang, Teresa Magbanua, and Marina Dizon. Herb’s mother, in this story, is placed on equal footing with these revolutionary leaders. Her work is deeply connected to resistance movements that stem back in time and across space.
Herb’s Growing Up Brown stories, like those of Fran and Terry, provide us with a longer view of FANHS, showing us how previous community formations are carried forth in (re)newed rhizomatous community formations. In this long view, FANHS exists as part of a larger constellation of alternative institutions that persist (in old and new forms) because of their ability to excavate and mobilize—to carry forward—what I call alternative institutional memory in ways that meet contexts that are forever shifting. These stories demonstrate that the rhetorical work of building community happens not just once but repeatedly across lifetimes. As a member and former President of the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of FANHS, part of Herb’s work in FANHS is now dedicated to preserving the history of the Jamero Labor Camp—its stories and the land on which it once stood—for future generations. In telling his story, Herb places his grandchildren and other readers in this same interconnected system of lateral roots, cautioning them (and us) not to take community for granted but to keep growing these horizontal formations across time and space.
Stories and Sedimented Histories
While Growing Up Brown stories are particular to specific moments in the racialized and colonized history of these Filipina/o Americans, they also hold larger significance for what it means to do historical work and the role that stories play in doing that work. Research has not always recognized the long legacies of community-based institutions that communities, especially those of color, have built to resist, survive, and work toward changing the structural oppressions of dominant society. But stories of previous community-based organizations, however small or loosely defined, are present in all communities, even if they only “whisper rather than scream” (Royster 80). Stories help us view a community over time—rather than in time—and begin to unfold the layered histories and intricate constellations that help community members build, sustain, and renew community during times of rapid change as social structures shift yet still persist in making certain bodies and stories invisible and irrelevant to the project of “America.” And because all community-based organizations have been shaped by the rhetorical and social justice legacies of their members, an important dimension of this broader view must include an attention to how the stories of community members themselves contributes to this sedimented understanding of community.
Thank you for listening.
I offer this story as one way to honor the memory of the Alayu sisters: Fran Alayu Womack, Terry Alayu, and Ethel Alayu Parisot.
Literature and history are closely interrelated. In discovering the history of race, the feelings, aspirations customs and traditions that are written is literature. History can also be written and this too, is literature. Events that can be written down are part of true literature. literature therefore is part of history.
Literature and history, however, also have differences. Literature may be figments of the imagination or events devoid of truth, that have been written down, while history is made up of events that really happened.
The Pre-Spanish Period (1565)
Long before the spaniards and other foreigners landed on Philippine shores, our forefathers already had their own literature stamped in the history of our race.
Our ancient literature shows our customs and traditions in everyday life as traced in our folk stories, old plays and short stories.
Our ancestors also had their own alphabet which was different from that brought by the Spaniards. The first alphabet used by our ancestors was similar to that of the Malayo-Polenisian alphabet.
Whatever records our ancestors left were either burned by the Spanish friars in the belief that they were works of the devil or were written on materials that easily perished, like the barks of trees, dried leaves and bamboo cylinders which could not have remained undestroyed even if efforts were made to preserve them.
Other records that remained showed folk songs that proved the existence of a native culture truly your own. Some of these were passed on by the word of mouth till they reached the hands of some publishers or printers who took interest in printing the manuscripts of the ancient Filipinos.
The Spaniards who came to the Philippines tried to prove that our ancestors were really fond of poetry, songs, stories, riddles and proverbs which we still enjoy today and which serve to show to generations the true culture of our people.
The Pre-Spanish Literature is characterized by:
- Folk song
- Epigrams, Riddles and Chants
- Proverbs and Sayings
The Spanish Period (1565-1898)
It is an acceped belief that the Spanish colonization of the Philippines started in 1565 during the time of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the first Spanish governor-general in the Philippines. Literature started to flourish during his time. This spurt continued unabated until the Cavite Revolt in 1872. The Spaniards colonized the Philippines more than three centuries.
During these times, many changes occurred in the lives of Filipinos. They embraced the Catholic religion, changed their names, and were baptized. Their lifestyles changed too. They built houses made of stones and bricks, used beautiful furniture like the piano and used kitchen utensils. Carriages, trains and boats were used as means of travel. They held fiestas to honor the saints, the pope and the governors. They had cockfights, horse races and the theater as means of recreation.
This gave rise to the formation of the different classes of society like the rich and the landlords. Some Filipinos finished courses like medicine, law, agriculture and teaching. Many Filipinos finished their schooling in the Philippines because many schools already had been established.
A. Spanish Influences on Philippine Literature
Due to the long period of colonization of the Philippines by the Spaniards, they have exerted a strong influence on our literature.
1. The first Filipino alphabet called Alibata was replaced by the Roman alphabet.
2. The teaching of the Christian Doctrine became the basis of religious practices.
3. The Spanish language which became the literary language during this time lent many of its words to our language.
4. European legends and traditions brought here became assimilated in our songs, corridos, and moro-moros.
5. Ancient literature was collected and translated to Tagalog and other dialects.
6. Many grammar books were printed in Filipino, like Tagalog, Ilocano and Visayan.
7. Our periodicals during these times gained a religious tone.
B. The First Books
1. Ang Doctrina Cristiana (The Christian Doctrine). This was the first book printed in the Philippines in 1593 in xylography. It was written by Fr. Juan de Placencia and Fr. Domingo Nieva, in Tagalog and Spanish. It contained the Pater Noster (Our Father), Ave Maria (Hail Mary), Regina Coeli (Hail Holy Queen), The Ten commandments of God, the Commandments of the Catholic Church, the Seven mortal Sins, how to Confess, and the Cathecism. Three old original copies of this book can still be found at the Vatican, at the Madrid Museum and at the Us at the US Congress.
2. Nuestra Señora del Rosario. The second book printed in the Philippines was written by Fr. Blancas de San Jose in 1602, and printed at the UST Printing Press with the help of Juan de Vera, a Chinese mestizo. It contains the biographies of saints, novenas, and questions and answers on religion.
3. Libro delos Cuatro Postprimeras de Hombre (in Spanish and Tagalog). This is the first book printed in typography.
4. Ang Barlaan at Josephat. This is a Biblical story printed and translated to Tagalog from Greek by Fr. Antonio de Borja. It is believed to be the first Tagalog novel published in the Philippines even if it is only a translation. The printed translation has only 556 pages. The Ilocano translation in poetry was done by Fr. Agustin Mejia.
5. The Pasion. this is a book about the life and sufferings of Jesus Christ . It is read only during Lent. There were 4 versions of this in Tagalog and each version is according the name of the writer. These are the Pilapil version (by Mariano Pilapil of Bulacan, 1814), the de Belen version (by Gaspar Aquino de belen of Bat. In 1704), the de la Merced (by Aniceto de la Merced of Norzogaray, Bulacan in 1856), and the de Guia version (by Luis de Guia in 1750).
The dela Merced version is in octosyllabic verse with 5 verses to the stanza.
Chanters may take 2-4 nights singing the Pasion with the chanters taking turns in shifts 3-4 hours each.
5. Urbana at Felisa. A book by Modesto de Castro, the so called Father of Classic prose in Tagalog. These are letters between two sisters Urbana at Felisa and has influenced greatly the behavior of people in society because the letters dealt with good behavior.
6. Ang Mga Dalit kay Maria (Psalms for Mary). This is a collection of songs praising the Virgin Mary. Fr. Mariano Sevilla, a Filipino priest, wrote this in 1865 and it was popular especially during the Maytime “Flores de Mayo” festival.
C. Literary Compositions
1. Arte y Reglas de la Lengua Tagala. Written by Fr. Blancas de San Jose and translated to tagalog by Tomas Pinpin in 1610
2. Compendio de la Lengua Tagala. Written by Fr. Gaspar de San Agustin in 1703.
3. Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala. The first Tagalog dictionary written by Fr. Pedro de San Beunaventura in 1613.
4. Vocabulario de le Lengua Pampanga. The first book in Pampanga written by Fr. Diego in 1732.
5. Vocabulario de la Lengua Bisaya. The best language book in Visayan by Mateo Sanchez in 1711.
6. Arte de la Lengua Ilokana. The first Ilocano grammar book by Francisco Lopez.
7. Arte de la Lengua Bicolana
The Period of Enlightenment (1872-1898)
After 300 years of passivity under Spanish rule, the Filipino spirit reawakened when the three priests Gomez, Burgos and Zamora were guillotined without sufficient evidence of guilt. This occurred on the 17th of February. This was buttressed with the spirit of liberalism when the Philippines opened its doors to world trade and with the coming of a liberal leader in the person of Governor Carlos Maria de la Torre.
The Spaniards were unable to suppress the tide of rebellion among the Filipinos. The once religious spirit transformed itself into one of nationalism and the Filipinos demanded changes in the government and in the church.
A. The Propaganda Movement (1872-1896)
This movement was spearheaded mostly by the intellectual middle-class like Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Antonio Luna, Mariano Ponce, Jose Ma. Panganiban and Pedro Paterno. The objectives of this movement were to seek reforms and changes like the following:
1. To get equal treatment for the Filipinos and the Spaniards under the law.
2. To make the Philippines a colony of Spain.
3. to restore Filipino representation in the Spanish Cortes.
4. To Filipinize the parishes.
5. To give the Filipinos freedom of speech, of the press, assembly and for redress of grievances.
Heads of the Propaganda Movement
1. Dr. Jose P. Rizal
His books and writings:
1. Noli Me Tangere
2. El Felibusterismo
3. Mi Ultimo Adios (My Last Farewell)
4. Sobre la Indolencia de los Filipinos (On the Indolence of the Filipinos)
5.Filipinas Dentro de cien Años (The Philippines within a Century)
6. A la Juventud Filipina (To the Filipino Youth)
7. El Consejo de los Dioses (The Council of the Gods)
8. Junto al Pasig (Beside the Pasig River)
9. Me Piden Versos (You asked Me for Verses-1882) and A las Flores de Heidelberg(To the Flowers of Heidelberg)
10. Notas a la Obra Sucesos de las Filipinas for el Dr. Antonio de Morga (Notes on Philippine Events by Dr. Antonio de Morga)
11. P. Jacinto: Memorias de un Estudiante de Manila (P. Jacinto: Memoirs of a Student of Manila)
12. Diario de Viaje de Norte America (Diary of a Voyage to North America)
2. Marcelo H. del Pilar
Writings of Marcelo H. del Pilar
1. Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa (Love of Country)
2. Kaiingat Kayo (Be Careful)
3. Dasalan at Tocsohan (Prayers and Jokes)
4. Ang Cadaquilaan ng Dios (God’s Goodness)
5. Sagot sa Espanya sa Hibik ng Pilipinas (Answer to Spain on the Plea of the Filipinos)
6. Dupluhan... Dalit... Mga Bugtong (A poetical contest in narrative sequence, psalms, riddles)
7. La Soberania en Pilipinas (Sovereignty in the Philippines)
8. Por Telefono (By Telephone)
9. Pasiong Dapat Ipag-alab ng Puso ng Taong Babasa (Passion that should arouse the hearts of the readers).
3. Graciano Lopez Jaena
The Works of Graciano Lopez Jaena:
1. Ang Fray Botod (Friar Botod)
2. La Hija del Praile (The Child of the Friar) and Everything is Hambug (Everything is Mere Show)
3. Sa mga Pilipino. 1891…
4. Talumpating Paggunita kay Kolumbus ( An Oration to Commemorate Columbus)
5. En Honor del Presidente Morayta de la Assuciacion Hispano Filipino 1884
6. En Honor de los Artistas Luna y Resurreccion Hidalgo 1884
7. Amor a España o a las Jovenes de Malolos (Love for Spain or To the Youth of Malolos)
8. El Bandolerisma en Pilipinas (Banditry in the Philippines)
9. Honor en Pilipinas (Honor in the Philippines)
10. Pag-alis sa Buwis sa Pilipinas(Abolition of Taxes in the Philippines)
11. Institucion ng Pilipinas (Sufferings of the Philippines)
1. Antonio Luna
Some of his works were:
1. Noche Buena (Christmas Eve)
2. Se Devierten (How They Diverted Themselves)
3. La Tertulia Filipina (A Filipino Conference or Feast)
4. Por Madrid (For Madrid)
5. La Casa de Huespedes (The Landlady’s House)
2. Mariano Ponce
His writings were:
1. Mga Alamat ng Bulacan (The Legend of Bulacan)
2. Pagpugot kay Longinos (The Beheading of Longinus)
3. Sobre Filipinos (About the Filipinos)
4. Ang mga Pilipino sa Indo-Tsina (The Filipinos in Indo- China)
3. Pedro Paterno
Thefollowing were a few of his writings:
2. A Mi Madre (To My Mother)
3. Sampaguita y Poesias Varias (Sampaguitas and Varied Poems)
4. Jose Ma. Panganiban
Some of his writings were:
1. Ang Tinubuang Lupa (My Native Land)
2. Ang Aking Buhay (My Life)
3. Su Plano de Estudio (Your Study Plan)
4. El Pensamiento (The Thinking)
B. Period of Active Revolution (1896-1898)
The Filipinos did not get the reforms demanded by the propagandists. The government turned deaf ears to this petitions; oppressions continued and the church and the government became even more oppressive to the Filipinos. The good intensions of the Spain were reversed by the friars who were lording it over in the Philippines.
Because of this, not a few of the Filipinos affiliated with La Liga Filipina (a civic organization suspected of being revolutionary and which triggered Rizal’s banishment to Dapitan). Like Andres Bonifaci, Emilio Jacinto, Apolinario Mabini, Jose Palma, and Pio Valenzuela decide that there was no other way except to revolt.
The gist’s of literature contained mostly accusations against the government and were meant to arouse the people to unite and to prepare for independence.
Highlights of Active Revolution
1. Andres Bonifacio
1. Ang Dapat Mabatid ng mga Tagalog (What the Tagalog Should Know)
2. Katungkulang Gagawin ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Obligation of Our Countrymen)
3.PAG-IBIG SA TINUBUANG LUPA (Love of One’s Native Land)
4.HULING PAALAM (Last Farewell)
2. Emilio Jacinto
1. Kartilya ng Katipunan (A primer book on the Katipunan)
2.Liwanag at Dilim (Light and Darkness)
3. A Mi Madre (To My Mother)
4. A la Patria (To my Country)
3. Apolinario Mabini
1. El Verdadero Decalogo (The True Decalogue or ten Commandments)
2. El Desarollo y Caida de la Republica Pilipina (The Rise and Fall of the Philippine Republic)
3. SA BAYANG PILIPINO (To the Filipino Nation)
4. PAHAYAG (News)
1. Jose Palma
Aside from the National Anthem, here are his other works:
1. Melancolias (Melancholies)
2. De Mi Jardin (In my Garden)
Newspaper During the Revolution
In the effort of the Revolutionists to spread to the world their longings for their country, many newspapers were put up during the Revolutionary period. They were:
1. Heraldo de la Revolucion
2. La Independencia (Independence)
3. La Republica Pilipina (the Philippine Republic)
4. La Libertad (Liberty)
The American Regime (1898-1941)
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 selected the First president of the Philippine Republic but this was short-lived.
The Fil-American war resulted of 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, plays, essays, and novels. Their writings clearly depicted their love of country and their longing 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). Establish 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.
2. Tanikalang Ginto: This is a work of Juan Abad
3. Malaya. This is written by Tomas Remegio
4. Walang Sugat. Written 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.
1. 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 CecilioApostol, Fernando Ma. Guerrero, Jesus Balmori, Manuel Bernabe and Claro M. Recto.
Other writers in Spanish are Adelina Guerrea, Isidro Marpori, Macario Adriatico, Epifanio de los Santos (known as Don Panyong), and Pedro Aunorio.
2. Filipino Literature
FLORANTE AT LAURA of Francisco Balagtas and URBANA AT FELISA of Modesto de Castro became the inspiration of the Tagalog writers.
Julian Cruz Balmaceda classified three kinds of Tagalog poets. They were:
1. Poet of the Heart (MakatangPuso). These included Lope K. Santos, Iñigo Ed. Regalado, Carlos Gatmaitan, Pedro Gatmaitan, Jose Corazon de Jesus, Cirilo H. Panganiban, Deograciasdel Rosario, Ildefonso Santos, Amado V. Hernandez, NemecioCarabana, and Mar Antonio.
2. Poets of Life (MakatangBuhay). Led by Lope K. Santos, Jose Corazon de Jesus, FlorentinoCollantes, Patricio Mariano, Carlos Gatmaitan, and Amado V. Hernandez.
3. Poets of the Stage (MakatangTanghalan). Led by Aurelio Tolentino, Patricio Mariano, Severino Reyes, and Tomas Remigio.
In the realm of short stories that started to appear in the column Pangsandaliang Libangan (Short-time Leisure) and Dagli(Fast) we find here the names of Lope K. Santos, Patricio Mariano, and RosauroAlmario. In the Liwayway Publications, we find Deogracias Rosario, TeodoroGener, and Cirio H. Panganiban.
Noted novelists or biographers were Valeriano Hernandez Peña, Lope K. Santos, Iñigo Ed. Regalado, Faustino Aguilar, etc.
The Tagalog Drama
During the advent of the American period, Severino Reyes and HermogenesIlagan started the movement against the moro-moro (a play on the Spanish struggles against Muslims) and struggled to show the people the values one can get from the zarzuela and the simple plays.
The people one should not forget in the field of writing are Severino Reyes, Aurelio Tolentino, Hermogenes Ilagan, Patricio Mariano, and Julian Cruz Balmaceda.
The Tagalog Short Story
Two collections of Tagalog stories were published during the American period. First was the MGA KWENTONG GINTO (Golden Stories) published in 1936 and 50 KWENTONG GINTO ng 50 BATKANG KUWENTISTA (50 Golden Stories by 50 Noted Storytellers) in 1939. The first was written by Alejandro Abadilla and ClodualdodelMundo that contained the 25 best stories according to them. The second was written by Pedrito Reyes. PAROLANG GINTO (Golden Lantern) and TALAANG BUGHAW (Blue List) of Abadilla became popular during this period.
Almost all Tagalog writers during the American Period were able to compose beautiful poems which made it difficult to select the best. Even if poetry writing is as old as history, poetry still surfaces with its sweetness, beauty, and melody.
Other Forms of Literature
Pedro Bukaneg, Claro Caluya and Leon Pichay are those recognized in the field of Ilocano Literature.
Two stalwarts in the literature of the Kapampangans stand out. They are Juan Crisostomo Soto: (Father of Kapampangan Literature) and Aurelio Tolentino.
Eriberto Gumban (Father of Visayan Literature) and Magdalena Jalandoni are the top men in Visayan Literature.
3. Philippine Literature in English
In a way, we can say that we can trace the beginnings of Philippine literature in English with the coming of the Americans. For this purpose, we can divide this period into three time frames, namely: The Period of Re-orientation (1898-1910), The Period of Imitation (1910-1925), and The Period of Self-Discovery (1925-1941).
The Period of Re-orientation (1898-1910)
English as 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.
Writers of this period were still adjusting to the newfound freedom after the paralyzing effect of repression of thought and speech under the Spanish regime. They were adjusting to the idea of democracy, to the new phraseology of the English language and to the standards of the English literary style. Writers had to learn direct expression as conditioned by direct thinking. They had to learn that sentence constructions, sounds and speech in English were not the same as in the vernacular. They had to discard sentimentality and floridity of language for the more direct and precise English language.
Not much was produced during this period and what literature was produced was not much of literary worth. The first attempts in English were in two periodicals of this time: (a) El Renacimiento, and (b) Philippines Free Press.
In 1907, Justo Juliano’s SURSUM CORDA which appeared in the Renacimiento was the first work to be published in English.
In 1909, Jan f. Salazar’s MY MOTHER and his AIR CASTLES were also published in this paper.
It was also in 1909 when Proceso Sebastian followed with his poem TO MY LADY IN LAOAG, also in this same paper.
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 groping their way into imitating American and British models which resulted in a stilted, artificial, and unnatural style, lacking vitality and spontaneity. Their models included Longfellow and Hawthorne. Emerson and Thoreau, Wordsworth and Tennyson, Thackeray and Macaulay, Longfellow, Allan Poe, Irving and other American writers of the Romantic School.
Writers of this folio included Fernando Maramag (the best editorial writer of this period) Juan F. Salazar, Jose M. Hernandez, Vicente del Fierro, and Francisco Tonogbanua, Maximo Kalaw, Vidal A. Tan, Francisco M. Africa and Victoriano Yamzon. They pioneered in English poetry.
The noted essayists of this time were: Carlos P. Romulo, Jorge C. Bocobo, Mauro Mendez, and Vicente Hilario. Their essays were truly scholarly characterized by sobriety, substance and structure. They excelled in the serious essay, especially the editorial type.
The next group of writers introduced the informal essay, criticism and the journalistic column. They spiced their work with humor, wit and satire. These group included Ignacio Manlapaz, Godefredo Rivera, Federico Mangahas, Francisco B. Icasiano, Salvador P. Lopez, Jose Lansang and Amando G. Dayrit.
In the field of short stories, DEAD STARS by Paz Marquez Benitez written in the early 1920’s stand out as a model of perfection in character delineation, local color, plot and message. Other short stories published during this time were but poor imitations of their foreign models.
The UP College Folio was later replaced by the Philippine Collegian. Newspaper and periodicals also saw print during this time like the Bulletin, the Philippines Herald (1920), the Philippine Review, the Independent, Rising Philippines and Citizens, and the Philippine Education Magazine 1924.
Here are a few of the writers during this period:
1910: Bernardo P. Garcia’s poem GEORGE WASHINGTON was published in El Renacimiento.
1917: Eulogio B. Rodriguez,, a research writer in the UP College of Liberal Arts won the Vilamor Prize in the provincial history competition. He was an authority on literary and cultural development in the Philippines.
1919: Paz Marquez Benitez was editor of the Woman’s Journal, the first literary magazine in English published in the Philippines.
1920: Marcelo de Gracia Concepcion gained recognition for Filipino poetry abroad with his publication of the poem AZUCENA, in the US.
1920: Procopio L. Solidum wrote NEVER MIND AND OTHER POEMS.
1921: Lorenzo E. Paredes wrote the first poetry anthology REMINISCENSES.
1921: Zoilo M. Galang published his first volume of essays entitled LIFE AND SUCCESS.
1924: EliseoQuirino and Vicente Hilario wrote the essays THINKING OF OURSELVES.
1924: Rodolfo Dato published FILIPINO POETRY, the first anthology of poems.
1924: Carlos P. Romulo published a collection of plays DAUGHTERS FOR SALE AND OTHER PLAYS.
1925: Zoilo M. Galang published the first anthology of short stories in TALES OF THE PHILIPPINES.
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.
Noteworthy names in this field include Marcelo de Garcia Conception, Jose Garcia Villa, Angela Manalang Gloria, AbelardoSubido, Trinidad TarrosaSubido and Rafael Zulueta da Costa. They turned out not only love poems but patriotic, religious, descriptive and reflective poems as well. They wrote in free verse, in odes and sonnets and in other types. Poetry was original, spontaneous, competently written and later, incorporated social consciousness.
Jose Garcia Villa, the first to break away from the conventional forms and themes of Philippine poetry placed the Philippines on the literary map with the publication of his books in U.S. some of the writings during this time were:
1925: The Philippine Writers Association was organized in Manila
1926: Manila: A Collection of Verses by Luis Datu
1932: BAMBOO FLUTE by Marcelo de Gracia Conception
1934: MOON SHADOWS ON THE WATER by Aurelio S. Alvero
1934: An English-German Anthology of Filipino Poets by Pablo Laslo (ed.)
1936: MY BOOK OF VERSES By Luis Dato
1937: FIRST LEAVES by Rafael Zulueta da Costa
1939: NUANCES by Aurelio S. Alvero
1940: LIKE THE MOLAVE AND OTHER POEMS, a first prize winning collection of poems by a single author in the Commonwealth Literary Contest won by Rafael Zulueta da Costa.
1940: MANY VOICES won second award in the Commonwealth Literary Contest
1941: POEMS by Doveglion: by Jose Garcia Villa
The Short Story (1925-1941)
Probably because of the incentives provided by publications like the Philippine Free Press, The Graphic, The Philippine Magazine and college publications, like the UP Literary Apprentice, poetry and the short story flourished during these times. Here are some of the writings of our writers during this time:
1927- Paz M. Benitez published her first anthology of Filipino short stories entitled FILIPINO LOVE STORIES.
1929- Jose Garcia Villa published Philippine Short Stories
1930- Jose Garcia Villa’s Mir-in-isa won first place in The Age Press short story writing contest.
1932- Zoilo M. Galang published his first volume of short stories entitled TALES OF THE PHILIPPINES.
The Commonwealth Literary Contest awarded first prize to HOW MY BROTHER LEON BROUGHT HOME A WIFE by Manuel Arguilla.
Other writers during this time include Osmundo Sta. Romana, Arturo Rotor, Paz Latorenas Sunset , and Jose Garcia Villa’s Mir-in-isa. From 1930 to 1940, the Golden era of Filipino writing in English saw the short story writers “who have arrived,” like Jose lansang’s The Broken Parasol, Sinai C. Hamada’s Talanata’s Wife, Fausto Dugenio’s Wanderlust Amando G. Dayrit’s His gift and Yesterday, Amador T. Daguio’s The Woman who look Out of the Window.
Characteristics of the short stories during this time:
There were still remnants of Spanish influence in the use of expressions that were florid, sentimental, exaggerated and bombastic. The influence of the Western culture also was already evident.
Essays and Other Prose Styles (1925-1941)
Essays during this period improve with the years in quality and quantity, in content, subject and style. Essayists like Carlo9s P. Romulo became even more eminent editorial writers.
Political, social reflective essays: Through their newspapers columns the following became popular: Federico Mangahas, Salvador P. Lopez, Pura S. Castrence, Vicente Albano Pacis, Ariston Estrada and Jose A. Lansang.
Critical essays were espoused by Salvador P. Lopez, I. V. Mallari, Ignacio Manlapaz, Jose Garcia Villa, Arturo B. Rotor, and Leopoldo Y. Yabes. An example of this is Maximo V. Soliven’s THEY CALLED IT BROTHERHOOD.
Personal or familiar Essays were written by F.B. Icasiano (Mang Kiko), Alfredo E. Latiatco, Solomon V. Arnaldo, Amando G. Dayrit and Consuelo Gar (Catuca).
Some of the notable works during this time were:
1940: Salvador P. Lopez’ Literature and Society which is a collection of critical reflections and serious essays and which won first prize in the Commonwealth Literary Contest of 1940.
1940: Camilo Osias published The Filipino Way of Life, a series of essays on the Filipino way of life as drawn from history, folkways, philosophy and psychology of the Philippines.
1941: F.B. Icasiano (Mang Kiko) were reprints of the best of Icasiano’s essays in the Sunday Time’s Magazine under the column From My Nipa Hut. It is an essay of the common “tao” and is written with humor and sympathy.
Aug. 16, 1941: Carlos P. Romulo had an editorial printed in the Philippines Herald. Entitled I am a Filipino, it was reprinted in his book My Brother Americans in 1945 in New York by Doubleday & Co.
Other Essayist includes:
Ignacio Manlapaz, Vicente Albano Pacis, I. V. Mallari, Jose M. Fernandez, Leopoldo Y. Yabes, Isidro L. Ritizos, Pura Santillan.
The Philippine writers League put out a collection of essays called Literature Under the Commonwealth.
Amando G. Dayrit with his column Good Moring Judge led others like Leon Ma. Guerrero, Salvador P. Lopez, Vicente P. Albano Pacis, Jose A. Lansang and Federico Mangahas.
In 1935, I.P. Caballero and Marcelo de Gracia Concepcion wrote about QUEZON.
In 1938, The Great Malayan won a prize in the national contest sponsored by the Commonwealth of the Philippines. This was written by Carlos Quirino, the most famous biographer of the period. He also wrote Quezon, the Man of Destiny.
In 1940, I.V. Mallari’s The Birth of Discontent revealed the sensitive touch of a writer who in simple language was able to reveal his profound thoughts and feelings.
Not much about history has been written by Filipino writers. In 1937, with regard to literary history, we can cite Teofilo del Castillo’s The Brief History of the Philippine Islands.
The Philippine Free Press provided the first incentives to Filipino writers in English by offering prizes to worthwhile contributions. Other publications followed suit.
The Drama (1925-1941)
Drama during this period did not reach the heights attained by the novel or the short story. The UP provided the incentives when they introduced playwriting as a course and established the UP Little Theater.
Among the writers of plays during this period were:
- Daughters For Sale And Other Plays by Carlos P. Romulo
- The Radiant Symbol by George C. Bacobo
- The Husband of Mrs. Cruz and A Daughter of Destiny by Vidal A. Tan
- The Oil Lamp and The Earthquake by Augusto C. Catanjal
- The Waves by Hilarion Vibal
- The Land of our Fathers by Severino Montano
- Panday Pira,The Canon Maker by Jose M. Hernadez
- 13 Plays by Wilfredo Ma. Guerrero
By and all, the plays during this period were considered “too wordy” and left nothing to the imagination. This probably accounts for the lack of drama awards during the Commonwealth Literary Contest of 1940 to 1941.
The Japanese Period (1941-1945)
Between 1941-1945, the Philippine Literature was interrupted in its development when the Philippines was again conquered by another foreign country, Japan Philippine literature in English came to a halt. Except for the Tribune and the Philippine Review, almost all newspapers in English were stopped by the Japanese.
This had an advantageous effect on Filipino literature, which experienced renewed attention because writers in English turned to writing in Filipino. Juan Laya, who used to write in English turned to Filipino because of the strict prohibitions of the Japanese regarding any writing in English.
The weekly Liwayway was placed under strict surveillance until it was managed by Japanese named Ishiwara.
In other words, Filipino Literature was given a break during this period. Many wrote plays, poems, short stories, etc. Topics and themes were often about life in the provinces.
A. Filipino Poetry During This Period
The common themes of most poems during the Japanese occupation were nationalism, country, love, life in the barrio’s, faith, religion, and the arts.
Three types of poems emerged during this period. They were:
a. Haiku – a poem of free verse that the Japanese liked. It was made up of 17 syllables divided into three lines. The first line had five syllables, the second seven syllables, and the third, five. The Haiku is allegorical in meaning, is short in covers a wide scope in meaning.
b. Tanaga – like the Haiku, is short but it had measure and rhyme. Each line had 17 syllables and is also allegorical in meaning.
c. Karaniwang Anyo (Usual Form) – like those mentioned earlier in the beginning chapters of this book.
B. Filipino Drama during the Japanese Period
The drama experienced a lull during the Japanese period because movie houses showing American films were closed. The big movie houses were just made to show stage shows. Many of the plays were reproductions of English plays to Tagalog. The translators were Francisco Soc Rodrigo, Alberto Concio, and Narciso Pimentel. They also founded the organization of Filipino players named Dramatic Philippines. A few of the play writers were:
1. Jose Ma. Hernandez – Panday Pira
2. Francisco Soc Rodrigo –Sa Pula, Sa Puti
3. Clodualdo del Mundo – Bulaga ( an expression in the game Hide and Seek)
4. Julian Cruz Balmaceda – Sino ba Kayo?, Dahil sa Anak and Higante ng Patay
C. The Filipino Short Story During The Japanese Period
The field of the short story widened during the Japanese occupation. Many wrote short stories. Among them were: Brigido Batungbakal, Macario Pineda, Serafin Guinigundo, Liwayway Arceo, Narciso Ramos, NVM Gonzales, Alicia Lopez Lim, Ligaya Perez, and Gloria Guzman.
The best writings in 1945 were selected by a group of judges composed of Francisco Icasiano, Jose Esperanzacruz, Antonio Rosales, Clodualdo del Mundo and Teodoro Santos. As a result of this selection, the following got the first three prizes:
First prize: Narciso Reyes with his Lupang Tinubuan
Second Prize: Liwayway Arceo’s Uhaw ang Tigang na Lupa
Third Prize: NVM Gonzales’ Lunsod, Nayon at Dagat-dagatan
D. Philippine Literature in English (1941-1945)
Because of the strict prohibitions imposed by the Japanese in the writing and publishing of works in English, Philippine literaturein English experienced a dark period. The few who dared to write did so for their bread and butter or for propaganda.
Writings that came out during this period were journalistic in nature. Writers felt suppressed but slowly, the spirit of nationalism started to seep into their consciousness. While some continued to write, the majority waited for a better climate to publish their works.
Noteworthy writer of the period was Carlos P. Romulo who won the Pulitzer Prize for his best sellers I saw the Fall of the Philippines, I see the Philippines Rise and his Mother America and My Brother Americans.
Journalist include Salvador P. Lopez, Leon Ma. Guerrer, Raul Manglapuz and Carlos Bulosan.
Nick Juaquin produced The Woman who looked like Lazarus. Fred Ruiz Catro wrote a few poems.
F.B. Icasiano wrote essays n the Philippine review.
Carlos Bulosan’s works included The laughter f My Father (1994), The Voice of Bataan, 1943, Six Filipino Poets, 1942, among others. Alfredo Litiatco published With Harp and Sling and 1943, Jose P. Laurel published Forces that Make a nation Great.
The Commonwealth Literary Awards gave prizes to meritorious writers. Those who won were:
Like the Molave – by Rafael Zulueta da Costa (Poetry)
How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife – by Manuel E. Arguilla (Short Story)
Literaturwe and Society – by Salvador P. Lopez ( Essay)
His Native Soil – by Juan Laya (Novel)