Philippine Literature Essay
Literature 1. Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources. The word literature means “acquaintance with letters”. The two most basic written literary categories include fiction and non fiction. a) Etymology- late 14c. , from L. lit(t)eratura “learning, writing, grammar,” originally “writing formed with letters,” from lit(t)era “letter. ” Originally “book learning” (it replaced O. E. boccr?
ft), the meaning “literary production or work” is first attested 1779 in Johnson’s “Lives of the English Poets” (he didn’t include this definition in his dictionary, however); that of “body of writings from a period or people” is first recorded 1812. b) Types: * An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. * Lyric poetry is a form of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings.
In the ancient world, lyric poems were meant to be played to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat. * Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning “action” , which is derived from “to do”. * Romance or chivalric romance is a style of heroic prose and verse narrative that was popular in the aristocratic circles of High Medieval and Early Modern Europe.
* Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement. * Comedy is any humorous discourse intended to amuse, in television, film, and stand-up comedy. * Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. 2. Literary Forms based on Philippine Historical Period a) Ancient Literature of Folk Literature.
Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines has very few artifacts that show evidence of writing. It is known that the Filipinos transferred information by word of mouth so it is not a surprise to know that literacy only became widespread in 1571 when the Spaniards came to the Philippines. But the early script used by the Filipinos called Baybayin or Alibata became widespread in Luzon. The Spaniards recorded that people in Manila and other places wrote on bamboo or on specially prepared palm leaves, using knives and styli.
They used the ancient Tagalog script which had 17 basic symbols, three of which were the vowels a/e, i, and o/u. Each basic consonantal symbol had the inherent a sound: ka, ga, nga, ta, da, na, pa, ba, ma, ya, la, wa, sa, and ha. A diacritical mark, called kudlit, modified the sound of the symbol into different vowel sounds. The kudlit could be a dot, a short line, or even an arrowhead. When placed above the symbol, it changed the inherent sound of the symbol from a/e to i; placed below, the sound became o/u.
Thus a ba/be with a kudlit placed above became a bi; if the kudlit was placed below, the symbol became a bo/bu. Owing to the works of our own archaeologists, ethnologists and anthropologists, we are able to know more and better judge information about Philippine pre-colonial times set against a bulk of material about early Filipinos as recorded by Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and other chroniclers of the past. Pre-colonial inhabitants of our islands showcase the Philippines’ rich past through their folk sayings, folk songs, folk narratives and indigenous rituals and mimetic dances.
The most seminal of these folk sayings is the riddle which is tigmo in Cebuano, bugtong in Tagalog, paktakon in Ilonggo and patototdon in Bicol. There are also proverbs or aphorisms that express norms or codes of behavior, community beliefs or values by offering nuggets of wisdom in short, rhyming verse. The folk song, is a form of folk lyric which expresses the hopes and aspirations, the people’s lifestyles as well as their loves. These are often repetitive and sonorous, didactic and naive as in the children’s songs or Ida-ida (Maguindanao), tulang pambata (Tagalog) or cansiones para abbing (Ibanag).
A few examples are the lullabyes or Ili-ili (Ilonggo); love songs like the panawagon and balitao (Ilonggo); harana or serenade (Cebuano); the bayok (Maranao); the seven-syllable per line poem, ambahan of the Mangyans that are about human relationships, social entertainment and also serve as tools for teaching the young; work songs that depict the livelihood of the people often sung to go with the movement of workers such as the kalusan (Ivatan), soliranin (Tagalog rowing song), the mambayu, a Kalinga rice-pounding song, and the verbal jousts/games like the duplo popular during wakes.
The folk narratives, such as epics and folk tales are varied, exotic and magical. They were created to explain the phenomena of the world long before science came to be known. They explain how the world was created, how certain animals possess certain characteristics, why some places have waterfalls, volcanoes, mountains, flora or fauna and, in the case of legends, the origins of things. Fables are about animals and these teach moral lessons. The epics come in various names: Guman (Subanon); Darangen (Maranao); Hudhud (Ifugao); and Ulahingan (Manobo).
These epics revolve around supernatural events or heroic deeds and they embody or validate the beliefs and customs and ideals of a community. They are performed during feasts and special occasions such as harvests, weddings or funerals by chanters. Examples of these epics are the Lam-ang (Ilocano); Hinilawod (Sulod); Kudaman (Palawan); Darangen (Maranao); Ulahingan (Livunganen-Arumanen Manobo); Mangovayt Buhong na Langit (The Maiden of the Buhong Sky from Tuwaang–Manobo); Ag Tobig neg Keboklagan (Subanon); and Tudbulol (T’boli).
b) Philippine Literature under Spanish Period The arrival of the Spaniards in 1565 brought Spanish culture and language. The Spanish conquerors, governing from Mexico for the crown of Spain, established a strict class system that was based on race and soon imposed Roman Catholicism on the native population. While it is true that Spain subjugated the Philippines for more mundane reasons, this former European power contributed much in the shaping and recording of our literature.
Religion and institutions that represented European civilization enriched the languages in the lowlands, introduced theater which we would come to know as komedya, the sinakulo, the sarswela, the playlets and the drama. The natives, called indio, generally were not taught Spanish, but the bilingual individuals, notably poet-translator Gaspar Aquino de Belen, produced devotional poetry written in the Roman script in the Tagalog language. Literature from this period may be classified as religious prose and poetry and secular prose and poetry.
Religious lyrics written by ladino poets or those versed in both Spanish and Tagalog were included in early catechism and were used to teach Filipinos the Spanish language. Another type of religious lyrics is the meditative verse like the dalit appended to novenas and catechisms. It has no fixed meter nor rhyme scheme although a number are written in octo-syllabic quatrains and have a solemn tone and spiritual subject matter. Secular works appeared alongside historical and economic changes, the emergence of an opulent class and the middle class who could avail of a European education.
This Filipino elite could now read printed works that used to be the exclusive domain of the missionaries. The most notable of the secular lyrics followed the conventions of a romantic tradition: the languishing but loyal lover, the elusive, often heartless beloved, the rival. The leading poets were Jose Corazon de Jesus (Huseng Sisiw) and Francisco Balagtas. Some secular poets who wrote in this same tradition were Leona Florentino, Jacinto Kawili, Isabelo de los Reyes and Rafael Gandioco. Another popular type of secular poetry is the metrical romance, the awit and korido in Tagalog.
The awit is set in dodecasyllabic quatrains while the korido is in octosyllabic quatrains. An example of this is the Ibong Adarna (Adarna Bird). There are numerous metrical romances in Tagalog, Bicol, Ilonggo, Pampango, Ilocano and in Pangasinan. The awit as a popular poetic genre reached new heights in Balagtas’s Florante at Laura (ca. 1838-1861), the most famous of the country’s metrical romances. Again, the winds of change began to blow in 19th century Philippines. Filipino intellectuals educated in Europe called ilustrados began to write about the downside of colonization.
This, coupled with the simmering calls for reforms by the masses inspired a formidable force of writers like Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Mariano Ponce, Emilio Jacinto and Andres Bonifacio. This led to the formation of the Propaganda Movement where prose works such as the political essays and Rizal’s two political novels, Noli Me Tangere and the El filibusterismo helped usher in the Philippine revolution resulting in the downfall of the Spanish regime, and, at the same time planted the seeds of a national consciousness among Filipinos.
But before Rizal’s political novels came, the novel Ninay (1885) by Pedro Paterno, which was largely cultural and is considered the first Filipino novel. Although Paterno’s Ninay gave impetus to other novelists like Jesus Balmori and Antonio M. Abad to continue writing in Spanish, their efforts did not flourish. Other Filipino writers published the essay and short fiction in Spanish in La Vanguardia, El Debate, Renacimiento Filipino, and Nueva Era. The more notable essayists and fictionists were Claro M.
Recto, Teodoro M. Kalaw, Epifanio de los Reyes, Vicente Sotto, Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, Rafael Palma, Enrique Laygo (Caretas or Masks, 1925) and Balmori who mastered the prosa romantica or romantic prose. c) Contemporary Literary Forms * Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning. * A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. * Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance.
 The term comes from a Greek word meaning “action”, which is derived from “to do”. * A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. * A novella is a written, fictional, prose narrative longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. 3. Various Geographical Regions and Historical Periods and Literary Genre a) Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Cordillera Administrative Regions Pre-colonial Iloko literature were composed of folk songs, riddles, proverbs, lamentations called dung-aw, and epic stories in written or oral form.
Ancient Ilokano poets expressed themselves in folk and war songs as well as the dallot, an improvized, versified and at times impromptu long poem delivered in a sing-song manner. During the Spanish regime, Iloko poetry was generally patterned after Spanish models. In fact, the earliest known written Iloko poems were the romances translated from Spanish by Francisco Lopez, an Augustinian friar who, in 1621, published his own Iloko translation of the Doctrina Cristiana by Cardinal Bellarmine, the first book to be printed in Iloko.
A study of Iloko poetry could be found in the Gramatica Ilokana, published in 1895, based on Lopez’s Arte de la Lengua Iloca, earlier published in 1627, but was probably written before 1606. Some Iloko writers credit Pedro Bucaneg, who collaborated with Lopez in the translation of the Doctrina into Iloko, for having been the first known Ilokano poet, and as the “Father of Ilokano Poetry and Literature. ” Bucaneg, blind since childhood, authored the popular epic known as “Biag ni Lam-ang” (“Life of Lam-ang”) written in the 17th century.
The earliest written form of the epic poem was given by Fr. Gerardo Blanco to Isabelo de los Reyes, who published it in El Ilocano from December 1889 to February 1890, with Spanish translation in prose, and also reprinted it in his El Folklore Filipino, under the title “Vida de Lam-ang. ” Iloko literature developed in many ways. During the 18th century, the missionaries used religious as well as secular literatures among other means to advance their mission of converting the Ilokanos to Christianity.
The century also saw the publication of religious works like Fr. Jacinto Rivera’s Sumario de las Indulgencias in 1719 and the Pasion, a translation of St. Vincent Ferrer’s sermons into Iloko by Fr. Antonio Mejia in 1845. The 19th century likewise saw the appearance of Leona Florentino, who has since been considered by some as the “National Poetess of the Philippines”. Her poems which have survived, however, appear to the modern reader as being too syrupy for comfort, too sentimental to the point of mawkishness, and utterly devoid of form.
Fr. Justo Claudio Fojas, an Ilokano secular priest who wrote novenas, prayerbooks, catechism, metrical romances, dramas, biographies, a Spanish grammar and an Iloko-Spanish dictionary, was Leona Florentino’s contemporary. Isabelo de los Reyes, Leona’s son, himself wrote poems, stories, folklore, studies, and seemingly interminable religious as well as political articles. The achievement of both Claudio Fojas and de los Reyes is possibly more significant than the critical reader of Iloko literature today is ready to admit.
The comedia, otherwise known as the moro-moro, and the zarzuela were presented for the first time in the Ilocos in the 19th century. The comedia, a highly picturesque presentation of the wars between Christians and Muslims, and the zarzuela, an equally picturesque depiction of what is at once melodrama, comic-opera, and the skit interminably preoccupied with the eternal theme of boy-meets-girl-who-always-live-happily-ever-after-seemingly-impossible-odds are still as popular today as they were when first staged in the Ilocos.
The comedia was scripted from the corridos like Principe Don Juan, Ari Esteban ken Reyna Hipolita, Doce Paris, Bernardo Carpio, Jaime del Prado. Marcelino Mena Crisologo helped popularize the zarzuela based on the culture and tradition of the Ilokanos particularly those in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. So did Pascual Agcaoili y Guerrero (1880-1958) of Ilocos Norte who wrote and staged “Daguiti Agpaspasukmon Basi,” and Isaias R. Lazo (1887-1983) of San Vicente, Ilocos Sur who wrote comedia and zarzuela. The year 1892 saw the printing for the first time of the first Iloko novel, written by Fr.
Rufino Redondo, an Augustinian friar, titled “Matilde de Sinapangan. ” Another Iloko novel which was written before the end of the 19th century by one Don Quintin Alcid was “Ayat, Kaanonto Ngata? ” (“Love, When Shall it Be? “) Arturo Centeno of Vigan, Ilocos Sur, also wrote three novels titled “Apay a Di Mangasawa? ” (“Why Doesn’t He Get Married? “), “Dispensara” and “Padi a Puraw Wenno Naamo a Kibin” (“A White Priest or a Good Guide”). The 20th century is comparatively more intense in literary activity.
Some of the literature in this period are “Biag ti Maysa a Lakay, Wenno Nakaam-ames a Bales” (“Life of an Old Man, or a Dreadful Revenge”) by Mariano Gaerlan (1909); “Uray Narigat no Paguimbagan” (“Improvement Despite Obstacles”) by Facundo Madriaga (1911); “Mining Wenno Ayat ti Cararua” (“Mining or Spiritual Love”) by Marcelino Pena Crisologo (1914); “Nasam-it ken Narucbos nga Sabong dagiti Dardarepdep ti Agbaniaga” (“Sweet and Fresh Flower of a Traveller’s Dreams”) by Marcos E. Millon (1921); “Sabsabong ken Lulua” (“Flowers and Tears”) by R. Respicio (1930); “Apay a Pinatayda ni Naw Simon?
” (“Why Did They Kill Don Simon? “) first known detective novel in Iloko by Leon C. Pichay (1935); “Puso ti Ina” (“A Mother’s Heart”) by Leon C. Pichay (1936). When the Bannawag magazine, a sister publication of Liwayway, Bisaya and Hiligaynon, hit the streets on Nov. 3, 1934, Iloko literature reached a headland. Many Ilokanos started to write literary pieces. The early Bannawag short stories showed sustained growth. The short stories written in the 1920s were poor imitations of equally poor American fiction. Early short story writers had practically no literary background in their attempts.
The growth of the short story was not apparent until Bannawag resumed publication in 1947. Most of the stories published dealt with themes of war; guerrilla activities, Japanese atrocities, murder, pillage and death. By the latter part of the decade, writers of different ages emerged, and from their ranks came stories that were less verbose, tighter,and with more credible characterization than those written previously. While many articles have been written by Ilokanos and non-Ilokanos about the Ilocos Region, few scholarly studies have been conducted.
Among these scholars were Leopoldo Y. Yabes of the University of the Philippines, who made a brief survey of Iloko literature in 1934. His findings showed that Iloko literature began with Pedro Bucaneg. In 1940, Thomas B. Alcid of the University of Santo Tomas made a study on the Iloko prose fiction and discussed the Iloko short story and the Iloko novel and their possibilities in Philippine literature. His study showed that the short stories and novels at that time were still young and needed more improvement. In 1954, Mercedes F. Guerrero of the Manuel L.
Quezon Educational Institution (now MLQU) made a masteral thesis titled “Critical Analysis of the Outstanding Iloco Short Stories Published in the Bannawag from 1948 to 1952. ” Her findings showed that the Iloko stories offer a mine of information about the ideals and customs of the Filipino people. In the display of emotions and feelings, the Iloko author has been free or spontaneous in dealing with the life he portrayed. Most often he has been compassionate with his characters. He has treated a wide variety of subjects that there is no important place of Filipino life that has not been depicted.
There are stories on mere trifling matters as well as their own nation-slaking subjects. These are stories about persons, about animals, about places and about events. Guerrero also found out that the Ilokano author served his society by: 1. ) Preserving the ideals, customs and traditions of the people. 2. ) Bringing out the social consciousness of the era–its mood, conflicts, struggles, and rehabilitation. 3. ) Awakening man’s sensibilities to the joys, sorrows, loves, hatreds and jealousies of the people. 4.
) Casting away sectional sentiments and prejudices and bringing about fuller understanding of the different ethnic groups. A related literature published by Dr. Marcelino A. Foronda, Jr. in 1967, titled “Dallang: An Introduction to Philippine Literature in Iloko,” discussed the traits and characteristics of the Ilokanos. Of their literature, he stated: “… The Ilokano language is so highly developed as to have produced the greatest number of printed works in any Philippine language, next to Tagalog. Bannawag has played and still plays a major role in the development of Iloko literature.
At present, it publishes poems (daniw), short stories (sarita), novels (nobela), essays (salaysay), comics, biographies, folktales and many others including what some call avant garde literary output. It is the only magazine where Ilokano writers hope to publish most of their writings. During the magazine’s infancy years in the 1930s, most of its contents were translations from the Liwayway magazine save a novel by Hermogenes F. Belen titled “Nadaraan a Linnaaw” (Blood-stained Dew) which was serialized in 1947. Other writers at that time included Benjamin M. Pascual, David D. Campanano, Godofredo S.
Reyes, Benito de Castro, Jose P. Acance, Benjamin Gray, Marcelino A. Foronda,Jr. In the 1960s, poems, short stories and novels published by the Bannawag became better–in craftsmanship, development of plots and themes, among others. Writers by then, most of whom were college students and professionals, had a bigger library of literary books. To help in the development of the Iloko short story, Bannawag launched a writing contest in 1961. The judges were Prof. Santiago Alcantara of the National University, Prof. Angel C. Anden of the Manuel L. Quezon University, and Dr. Marcelino A. Foronda, Jr.
of the De La Salle University-Manila. This contest lasted until 1970. One of the judges said the quality of Iloko short stories was competitive with those written in English. Before the martial-law era, most of the poems, stories and novels dwelt on political unrest and protests, like rallies and demonstrations by students, professionals and workers against the government. Ilokano writers have also published their works in foreign countries. One of the most popular authors of Ilocano ancestry abroad was the late Carlos Bulosan, a California immigrant born to Ilokano parents in Pangasinan.
And currently, the most internationally translated Filipino author is an Ilokano from Rosales, Pangasinan–Francisco Sionil Jose, popularly known as F. Sionil Jose. He is famous for his Rosales saga, a five-novel work about an Ilokano clan, virtually documenting Philippine history from Spanish time to the years of the Marcos administration. The novels, translated in about 22 languages, are circulated and read around the world. Back home, many Iloko writers have won major prizes in the annual Palanca Awards, the most prestigious and most anticipated of all literary contests in the Philippines.
These famous winners’ names include Reynaldo A. Duque, Ricarte Agnes, Aurelio S. Agcaoili, Lorenzo G. Tabin, Jaime M. Agpalo Jr. , Prescillano N. Bermudez, William V. Alvarado, Maria Fres-Felix, Clarito G. Francia, Arnold Pascual Jose, Eden Aquino Alviar, Severino Pablo, Ariel S. Tabag, Daniel L. Nesperos, Roy V. Aragon, Danilo Antalan, Joel B. Manuel and others.
b) Central Visayas Region Cebuano literature, as much as most literature of the Philippines, started with fables and legends of pre-colonial Philippines down to the Mexican (New Spain) and Spanish influences. Although existence of a pre-hispanical writing system in Luzon is attested, there is little proof that baybayin (sometimes erroneously called alibata) was widespread in the Visayas. Most of the literature produced during was oral.
They were documented by the Spanish Jesuit Fr. Ignatio Francisco Alzinal. During Spanish times, the religious theme was predominant. Novenas and gozos, most notably the Bato Balani for the Sto. Nino. The literature during this time was predominantly propagandistic. At this time, the Cebuanos were still seething with resentment at the American betrayal of their hopes and the new colonizers were retaliating with restrictions on the freedom of expressions.
The first written Cebuano short story 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. 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 Rodriguez, 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 of the City of Cebu, but their role in the furtherance of Cebuano culture is lost to subsequent generations. ) 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 1928-1929, and Ang Tinagoan (“The Secret”) by Vicente Rama in 1933-1934.
While Felicitas and Paglubong assert the value of marital fidelity and Apdo that of feminine chastity, Tinagoan challenges the emergent value that tolerates divorce. Such novels were seen as fictionalized renditions of their writers’ stand or traditions and practices which were subjected to debate in the school stage and within the pages of periodicals.
The pre-war period in the Philippines is sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of Vernacular Literature, with the 1930s marking a boundary between two kinds of popular writing: the predominantly propagandistic and the more commercialized escapist literature that proliferated since the Commonwealth. In the year 1930, Bisaya Magasin started publishing. In 1936 Cebuano writers started publishing anthologies; readers engaged in amateur literary criticism; and complaints of plagiarism livened up the weekly news. Periodicals that featured creative writing mushroomed, although most of these were short-lived.
The generally considered first feminist Cebuano novel, Lourdes by Gardeopatra G. Quijano was serialized in the period May 26 to September 23, 1939 in Bag-ong Kusog (literary “New Force”), the most popular pre-war periodical. It has been predicted by no less than the late novelist and Philippine National Artist for Literature N. V. M. Gonzalez that Philippine literature in English will die, leaving the regional literature (Ilokano, Waray, etc. ). In the case of Cebuano literature, this has been the case. Some of the prominent writers and poets in the Visayas and Mindanao who used to write in English have shifted to Cebuano.
Among them are Davao-based Macario Tiu, Don Pag-usara, and Satur Apoyon, and Cebu-based Ernesto Lariosa (a Focus Philippines Poetry Awardee in 1975) and Rene Amper (a two-time Palanca awardee for English poetry. These giants of Cebuano literature are now regularly contributing to Bisaya Magasin; their shift to Cebuano writing has influenced young Cebu and Mindanao-based writers in English to follow suit (among them are Michael Obenieta, Gerard Pareja, Adonis Durado, Januar Yap, Delora Sales, Cora Almerino and Raul Moldez). In 1991, Cebuano poet Ernesto Lariosa received a grant from the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
He used the grant to introduce the 4-s in Cebuano poetry: social sense, sound and story. The language he used was slack, devoid of strong metaphors. He used the language of the home and of the streets. Writer-scholar Dr. Erlinda Alburo, director of the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos noted in a forum sponsored by the university’s theater guild in 2003 that the young writers (those given above) have given a new voice to Cebuano fiction. They have introduced modern writing styles, experimented with the Cebuano language and explored themes which have never been elaborated before by their predecessors.
There are now emerging number of publications featuring fiction and poetry in Cebuano. The ownership of the de-facto literary journal, Bisaya Magasin, was transferred from the Chinese-owned Liwayway Publishing, Inc. to Napoleon Rama’s Manila Bulletin Publishing in 2003, ushering a change in layout, acceptance policies, and an increase in contributors’ fees. Aside from the reinvigoration of Bisaya Magasin, Cebu-based publishing houses have also started tabloids in the language (Banat News of Freeman Publications and SunStar SuperBalita of SunStar Publications).
This tabloids have bigger circulation than their English counterparts. There are also unconfirmed reports that Dr. Mel M. Allego, a giant in Cebuano literature, will be returning from the United States in 2007 and will start his own broadsheet in Cebuano. The U. P. National Writers Workshop every October and the Iligan National Writers Workshop every summer have reserved slots for Cebuano writers. In every edition of these workshops, there are Cebuano works that are being dissected or discussed by the panelists.
In 1998, the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature opened the Cebuano short story category. c) Eastern Visayas Region Modern East Visayan literature, particularly Waray, revolves around poetry and drama produced between the 1900s and the present. The flourishing economy of the region and the appearance of local publications starting in 1901 with the publication of An Kaadlawon, the first Waray newspaper, saw the flourishing of poetry in Waray. In Samar, Eco de Samar y Leyte, a long running magazine in the 1900s, published articles and literary works in Spanish, Waray and English.
A noteworthy feature of this publication was its poetry section, An Tadtaran, which presented a series of satirical poems that attacked the changing values of the people at the time. Eco likewise published occasional and religious poems. In Leyte, An Lantawan, which has extant copies from 1931 to 1932, printed religious and occasional poetry. It also published satirical poems of Bagong Katipunero, Luro, Datoy Anilod, Marpahol, Vatchoo (Vicente I. de Veyra), Julio Carter (Iluminado Lucente), Ben Tamaka (Eduardo Makabenta), and Kalantas (Casiano Trinchera).
Under these pseudonyms, poets criticized corrupt government officials, made fun of people’s vices, and attacked local women for adopting modern ways of social behavior.. With the organization of the Sanghiran San Binisaya in 1909, writers as well as the illustrados in the community banded together for the purpose of cultivating the Waray language. Under the leadership of Norberto Romualdez Sr, Sanghiran’s members had literary luminaries that included Iluminado Lucente, Casiano Trinchera, Eduardo Makabenta, Francisco Alvarado, Juan Ricacho, Francisco Infectana, Espiridion Brillo, and statesman Jaime C.
de Veyra. For a time, Sanghiran was responsible for the impetus it gave to new writing in the language. The period 1900 to the late fifties witnessed the finest Waray poems of Casiano Trinchera, Iluminado Lucente, Eduardo Makabenta, and the emergence of the poetry of Agustin El O’Mora, Pablo Rebadulla, Tomas Gomez Jr. , Filomeno Quimbo Singzon, Pedro Separa, Francisco Aurillo, and Eleuterio Ramoo. Trinchera, Lucente, and Makabenta were particularly at their best when they wrote satirical poetry.
The growing acceptance of English as official language in the country strengthened these writers’ loyalty to the ethnic mother tongue as their medium for their art. The publication of Leyte News and The Leader in the twenties, the first local papers in English, brought about the increasing legitimization of English as a medium of communication, the gradual displacement of Waray and eventual disappearance of its poetry from the pages of local publications. Where local newspapers no longer served as vehicles for written poetry in Waray, the role was assumed by MBC’s DYVL and local radio stations in the seventies.
Up to the present time, poetry sent to these stations are written mostly by local folk – farmers, housewives, lawyers, government clerks, teachers, and students. A common quality of their poetry is that they tend to be occasional, didactic, and traditional in form. The schooled writers in the region, unlike the local folk poets, do not write in Waray nor Filipino. Most of them write in English although lately there has been a romantic return to their ethnic mother tongue as the medium for their poetry. Waray drama was once a fixture of town fiestas.
Its writing and presentation were usually commissioned by the hermano mayor as part of festivities to entertain the constituents of the town. Town fiestas in a way sustained the work of the playwright. In recent years, this is no longer the case. If ever a play gets staged nowadays, it is essentially drawn from the pool of plays written earlier in the tradition of the hadi-hadi and the zarzuela. According to Filipinas, an authority on the Waray zarzuela, the earliest zarzuela production involved that of Norberto Romualdez’ An Pagtabang ni San Miguel, which was staged in Tolosa, Leyte in 1899.
The zarzuela as a dramatic form enthralled audiences for its musicality and dramatic action. Among the noteworthy playwrights of this genre were Norberto Romualdez Sr. , Alfonso Cinco, Iluminado Lucente, Emilio Andrada Jr. , Francisco Alvarado, Jesus Ignacio, Margarita Nonato, Pedro Acerden, Pedro Separa, Educardo Hilbano, Moning Fuentes, Virgilio Fuentes, and Agustin El O’Mora. Of these playwrights, Iluminado Lucente stands out in terms of literary accomplishment. He wrote about thirty plays and mos