Philippine Literature is a diverse and rich group of works that has evolved side-by-side with the country’s history. Literature had started with fables and legends made by the ancient Filipinos long before the arrival of Spanish influence. The main themes of Philippine literature focus on the country’s pre-colonial cultural traditions and the socio-political histories of its colonial and contemporary traditions. It is not a secret that many Filipinos are unfamiliar with much of the country’s literary heritage, especially those that were written long before the Spaniards arrived in our country. This is due to the fact that the stories of ancient time were not written, but rather passed on from generation to generation through word of mouth. Only during 1521 did the early Filipinos became acquainted with literature due to the influence of the Spaniards on us. But the literature that the Filipinos became acquainted with are not Philippine-made, rather, they were works of Spanish authors.
So successful were the efforts of colonists to blot out the memory of the country’s largely oral past that present-day Filipino writers, artists and journalists are trying to correct this inequity by recognizing the country’s wealth of ethnic traditions and disseminating them in schools through mass media. The rise of nationalistic pride in the 1960s and 1970s also helped bring about this change of attitude among a new breed of Filipinos concerned about the “Filipino identity.” Philippine literature is written in Spanish, English, Tagalog, and/or other native Philippine Languages. Why do we need to study Philippine Literature?
Whatever nationality you are it is always very important to study the literature of your country. In doing so you are not only learning about the historical aspects of your land, but you are also keeping alive the thoughts, beliefs and cultural variations of your ancestors that differentiate your country from the rest of the world. A country’s literature also tells us about its civilization in a form other than straight fact.