Philippine Epics: Preserving Cultural Heritage and Identity

Categories: Folklore

The Philippines, long before the arrival of foreign invaders, boasted a rich tapestry of cultural traditions, folklore, mythologies, and epics. Early natives, as noted by Jesuit historian Fr. Pedro Chirino, were avid readers and writers. Chirino observed, "All of the islanders are much given to reading and writing. And there is hardly a man, much less a woman who did not read and write."

Unveiling the Beauty of Epics

Central to this cultural richness are epic poems, written in poetic form and characterized by tremendous vitality, color, and imagination.

These tales narrate the love and adventures of native heroes, often depicting how they acquire powers from the gods, combat monsters, conquer formidable armies, ride the wind, travel on flying shields, and safeguard the earliest communities of the islands. Historically significant figures such as Padre Colin, Joaquin Martinez de Zuniga, and Antonio Pigafetta confirmed the existence of these epics, with reports stating that upon the arrival of Don Miguel Lopez de Legaspi in 1565, natives presented him with a dramatic play derived from these tales.

Get quality help now
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Philippines

star star star star 4.9 (247)

“ Rhizman is absolutely amazing at what he does . I highly recommend him if you need an assignment done ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

During festivities and special occasions, epic poems and songs took center stage, offering a glimpse into the vibrant cultural heritage of the Philippines. These folk epics, sometimes titled after the names of the heroes involved or carrying traditional titles like the Kalinga Ulalim, Sulod Hinilawod, Maranao Darangan, or Bicol Ibalon, served as windows into the lifestyle and beliefs of ancient Filipinos. Referred to as "Old Time History," these stories provided a means to study the people's way of life and were later considered lost due to the influence of Spanish and Western colonization.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

Preservation and Misconceptions

Contrary to the belief that Spanish priests destroyed all records of paganism, writing, and artwork related to ancient Philippine folk heroes, these epic poems have endured through the ages. Even in the face of colonial influence, the early epic poetry remains known and used as a reference in studying the past, offering insights into the lifestyle, love, and aspirations of early Filipinos. This invaluable heritage must be preserved as it serves as proof of national identity.

The misconception that these stories were eradicated has been debunked, highlighting the resilience of the cultural artifacts. The early epic poetry stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the Filipino people and their commitment to preserving their rich cultural legacy.

Diversity in Unity

Comprising thousands of islands, the Philippines is a melting pot of cultures and traditions, influenced by various nations across its regions. The diverse epic poetry found in the country reflects this rich tapestry. Each epic, with its unique narrative and cultural nuances, contributes to the collective identity of the Filipino people.

As a source of a rich variety of culture and stories, the Philippines continues to pulsate with the splendor of its magnificent and authentic cultural force. These epics not only serve as a historical archive but also provide a source of inspiration for contemporary Filipinos to reconnect with their roots and find pride in their cultural heritage.


In conclusion, the epic poetry of the Philippines stands as a beacon, guiding the nation through the corridors of time. The tales of native heroes, filled with love, adventure, and cultural vibrancy, offer a unique window into the soul of the Filipino people. Preserving these epics is not merely an act of conservation but a celebration of a national identity that has withstood the test of time and external influences. As Filipinos continue to navigate the complexities of the modern world, the echoes of these epics serve as a reminder of the resilience and cultural wealth that define the heart of the Philippines.

Updated: Dec 15, 2023
Cite this page

Philippine Epics: Preserving Cultural Heritage and Identity. (2016, Dec 01). Retrieved from

Philippine Epics: Preserving Cultural Heritage and Identity essay
Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment