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21 Century Literature from the


Philippines and the World


• in its broadest sense, is any single body of written works.
More restrictively, literature is writing that is considered to
be an art form, or any single writing deemed to have artistic
or intellectual value, often due to deploying language in
ways that differ from ordinary usage.
• Its Latin root literatura/litteratura (derived itself
from littera: letter or handwriting) was used to refer to all
written accounts, though contemporary definitions extend
the term to include texts that are spoken or sung (oral
• Literature can be classified according to whether it is fiction
or non-fiction and whether it is poetry or prose; it can be
Why read 21st Century Literature?

• The scope is rather short from 2000

until the present day and yet, what it
reveals is both timeless and timely.
• This literature is timeless in the sense
that it stands on the shoulders of
literature of past centuries, and there
is an ongoing conversation with texts
and authors of the past.
• It is timely in the sense that the
preoccupations or ideologies are
quintessentially modern; these are
texts that seem to speak to the
“The history of a nation can be
learned in its constitution , its
laws, and its political statements.
But to know the history of a
nation’s spirit, you must read its
literature.” (Croghan, 1977)
What is Philippine Literature?
• 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.
• Philippine literature reveals the spirit
Why do we need to study 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.
Literature is usually one person's description of
a situation told through their own personal
feelings; eyewitness testimony to historical
Importance of Literature?

• sharing of human experiences

• learn what you are and how you

have become

• learn what you might be in the


• show how the Filipino differs from

Development of Philippine Literature

• The Early Period (1900-1930)

• The Middle Period (1930-1960)

• The Modern Period (1960-1974)

• Contemporary (1970-Present)
• 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.


• PANULAT or SINULATAN is our Hiligaynon literature.
• Literature is the body of all written works. Written materials
include poetry, novels, and essays or could be works of
imagination characterized by excellence of style and expression
and by the themes of general or enduring interest.
• Hiligaynon is the lingua franca in our region. The sweetest way
to speak it is to deliver it from the heart. The heart is the
chamber that keeps words that are not just sweet but magical.
• Our rich Hilgaynon folk literature before the coming of the
Spaniards include the paktakon (riddle), and hurubaton
(proverbs) imparted by the parents to their children that
would take themes on obedience, respect for the elders,
concern for the environment, and value of a promise, among
• It was so easy for a grandfather to let his grand children learn a
ditty, short very simple song or poem. These were also ritual
chants similar to the croaking of the frog to call for the rain,
“babaylan” chants to appease the spirits of nature, or a
“pukaw” chant to get information from a dead person. There
could be love songs for a fair lady, a serenade for lass, or a dust
performed by a “dalaga”, and a “soltero”.
• There were tales from a distant past. Classic examples of
“asoy” are the epics of Panay: “Labaw Dongon” and the
• Others could be about acclamation for fiesta queen (padayaw),
“luy-a luy-a” rituals, wake for the dead, betrothal rites
(pamalaye), or short stories about “aswang”.
• When the Spaniards came, our ancestors were converted into
• witty quatrain recited by the loser of the bordon, the most
popular game during the belasyon or vigil for the dead.
• a folk tradition, mirrors the Ilonggo’s folks’ creative or poetic
intuition. It encapsulates in a single form the workings of the
creative mind of the Ilonggo folks or the common tao – the
ordinary souls that one may meet in his daily existence;
housewives, farmers, “istambays”, labourers, teachers, even
students. Ordinary as they are, it is a proof of an extraordinary
mind whose creativity flows spontaneously from the soul.
• A bahandi of some sort, is an Ilonggo's version of tanaga of the
Tagalogs and haiku of the Japanese folks. It is usually made up
of four rhyming lines with every line having 5, 7, 9 or 11
syllables. Meaning, if the poet chooses 7 syllables, all the lines
• Sensitivity of the Ilonggo folks’ external senses to the sounds
and sighs of their immediate dsurroundings, resulted to the lo-
as orchestral and musical versification. It appears that sounds
appeal instantaneously to the Ilonggo mind manoeuvres the
connection of words to words and of sounds to sounds, almost
always logically, effecting meaning or pure rhythmic and
melodious utterances.
• The richness of the Ilonggo language also lends to the
musicality of the lo-a. The concrete sense experience or images
found in lo-a stand witness to the Ilonggo language’s power to
evoke direct visual, auditory and tactile sense experiences or
pure internal sensations. Words in the Ilonggo language, when
uttered, create mental pictures of things or situations.
• It is said that situations, objects or circumstances are as they

Kon ako ang mamana

Pilion ko ang daku mata
Kon wala kami suga
Patindugon ko sa tunga

This luwa masterpiece is not just side-splitting. Underneath its

literal message, it also shows something that carries more
weight. In fact, it may mean a lot of things worth telling. The big
eyes represent marital fidelity or genuine love. And whenever
problems beset the family, this man, though ugly as owl, will
always be there to light the home up.

Rosas, rosas nga kamantigue

Soltero nga waay nobya, agi.

Bulak, bulak sang tangkong

Dalaga nga wala sang nobyo, bingkong.

Tapakan ko central, gupi

Guwa kalamay, puti.

Didto sa Bohol
May isa ka lalaki nga manol
Panawag sa kasilyas, City Hall.
Lo-a, however, is more than just words and sounds. The
assemblage of words and sounds, arranged into logical directions
and connections, make lo-a act and will something.


Nonoy hinugay paglabay-labay

Sa atubang sang amon nga balay
Basi malagari ka ni Tatay
Mawasi gid ang imo nga tinday.

May ara lugar ako nga ginhalinan

Sa parte Aurora, nayon sa sidlangan
Madamo nga bulak ang akon gin-agyan
Solo gid ikaw Inday ang naluyagan.
The words and sounds do not only please the ears, but they also
challenge the thought processes. Lo-a speaks, relating that which
have been perceived by the mind through the senses. Hence,
ideas, cloaked in denotations and connotations, may be

Tintin ka na uwak
Latay sa margoso
Margoso nga mapait
Para sa soltero nga maanghit.

Mataas nga lamesa ang akon ginlakbay

Kutsara kag tinidor ang akon kaaway
Wala ko pagbaliha ang akon kabudlay
Lo-a, also, reveals the llonggo’s closeness to nature and to the
things around them. This is clearly evident in the surfeit of
images or sense experiences used in lo-a. The Ilonggo mind’s
knack for catching sights and sounds from his immediate world
embellishes lo-a with an abundance of picturesque words and
utterances. Perception and translation into image-evoking words,
however, undergoes a process. The folk mind, through the
external senses, perceives things or the reality around him and
through his imagination and intellect, transmits the image to the
soul. The image, as interpreted by the soul, is transmitted back
through the intellect and imagination into a concrete meaningful
form – folk poetry or lo-a.
With its meaningful form, lo-a signifies something. It is a sign,
complete with tangible form, a form with sense and a form and
sense with meaning. The meaning found in lo-a may be clothed in
Kon si papel man ang lumupad-lupad
Kag humapon diri sa akon palad
Kusniton ko lang kag ipilak
Dili gid makatintar kay bulak.

Didto sa amon sa Ajuy

May nadula nga balinghoy
Duda gid ako sa imo Nonoy
Ara sa imo gataboy-taboy.

Sa idalom sang taytay

May army nga napatay
Bulag-bulag ang lawas
P’ro gatindog ang armas.
Before any country came up with its writing system,
information was handed down orally. The oral literary forms that
were produced in that period were mostly folklore, and they
came in the form of proverbs or sayings, myths or legendary
accounts, riddles, fables, and songs. Since our country is made
up of islands, provinces, and regions with different languages,
the literary forms produced during the pre-colonial times were
expressed in varied tongues.
A proverb which contains words of wisdom are handed
down from one generation to another. It could talk about
prescribed forms of conduct or statements concerning accepted
Riddles are a type of literary output which call for the
audience to guess the thing being described. Our multilingual
Literary Selections:
Salawikain -Filipino proverbs or sayings which contain traditional wisdom from the

Do not do unto your fellow men what you do not wish

done to you.
Ang masama sa iyo, Huwag Kung ano ang maraot sa imo, Dai
mong gawin sa kapwa mo. mo gibuhon sa iba. (Bicol)
Saan mo aramiden iti padam a No agmo labay ya pagawad sica,
tao ti di ca cayat a maaramid Agmo gagaween edkaparam a
kenca. (Ilocano) too. (Pangasinense)
Dili mo pagpuhaton ngato sa Parinen mo ava du capayengay
uban ang alang kanimo dautan. mo, Ato u ichasekej mo
(Cebuano) aparinem dimo. (Ivatan)
Con ano ang guinbuhat mo,
Amo man na ang buhaton sa
Literary Selections:

A stitch in time saves nine.

Daig ng maagap ang Do not put off for

masipag. (Tagalog) tomorrow what you
can do today.

The early bird catches

the worm.
Literary Selections:

father is,
ti amam Tell me who your
Ibagam no sinno companions
ti caduam are,
And I’ll tell who
you are.

Ta ibagac no sinno ca. .

Birds of the same feather,

flock together.
Literary Selections:

Bikol Translated to English Proverb

Putusan mo man an English Looks do not make a
amo sa bulawan Wrap a monkey in man.
Amo man giraray gold; he will stay a
monkey yet.
Unsa ang tawo,
Maila sa iyang Translated to English Proverb
binuhatan English By their fruits, you
A man is known by shall know them.
Makikilala sa gawa his acts.
Ang totohanang
Analyzing Proverbs:

1. A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not

what a ship is for.
2. Barking dogs seldom bite.
3. Curiosity killed the cat.
4. Every cloud has a silver lining.
5. Lightning never strikes twice in the same
Making Sense of Words and Expressions in the Text

State how these pairs of words taken from the English proverbs in
Literary Selections B are related in meaning. Answer R if the words
in each pair relate to each other, S if they are synonyms, and A if
they are antonyms.

• birds – feather
• bird – worm
• same – like
• put off – can do
• today – tomorrow
PROVERBS are short but meaty sayings
prescribing accepted norms of behavior. For these
wise sayings to be easily remembered, they must
not only be meaningful in content but they must
create impact through the way they are worded.
Riddles of Three Linguistic Groups Describing the Same Object

Linguistic Group Riddle English

Visayan Taas ug puti nga babaye A tall white lady
Nag ka-on sa iya lawas Eating her own body
Ilocano Haan nga tau, Not human nor animal
Haan nga hayup, Yet tears flow from its eyes
Agtedtedted ti luwa na.

Ibanag Sinni pano y tadday nga babay Who can that lovely lady be,
Kanan na baggi na a maguroray Who eats her own body?
Descriptive and Problem-Solving Riddles
Adapted from Elma Herradura’s translation in Clavel, “The
Oral Literature of Capiz”

The sea is wrapped by the earth, The one sent to fetch someone,
the earth is covered by bone, has not yet returned,
the bone is covered by hair, but the one fetched,
the hair is covered by skin. has already arrived.
Making Sense of Words and Expressions in the Text

State how these pairs of words taken from the riddles are related in
meaning. Answer R if the words in each pair relate to each other, S
if they are synonyms, and A if they are antonyms.

• wrapped – covered
• tears – eyes
• sea – earth
• send – return
• skin – bone
Examining and Responding to the Texts

A. Riddles of Three Linguistic Groups Describing the Same

• Which of the two give similar clues? Why do you think these riddles
are similar? Form-wise, in what way do those some riddles differ?
• In what way is the remaining riddle different?
• The riddles have the same answer. To get it, determine first what
the given clues in the three riddles seem to have in common and
where they differ. Complete these sentences which can help you
arrive at the answers to those three riddles.
Examining and Responding to the Text

• Although the Visayan and Ibanag riddles refer to the item as a lady,
the Ilocano riddle says it is neither human nor animal. Since it is
not alive, it must be an _________.

• The Visayan and Ibanag riddles say the item eats its own body, so
although it is tall, it must be _____ in height when it eats its body.

• The Ilocano riddle says tears flow from its eyes as it eats its own
body (as the Visayan and Ibanag version say). We say, then, that it
sheds some __________.
PARALLELISM refers to the similarity in the
wording of the lines.
Historical texts use factual information and artifacts to
account for the origin of nations and how they got their
names. Scientific texts likewise cite facts that indicate what
led to inventions and discoveries. Literary texts, on the other
hand, use the imagination and show the origin of things and
their names by way of legends. As such, whereas there
might be little to no difference in historical and scientific
explanations of beginnings, there are varied accounts of
creation that differ depending on the cultural group that
produced them.
Legends were passed down orally from one
generation to another and saw print only in ethnographic
studies of different cultural groups. Legends highlight cause-
The following are
the two different
accounts of the
creation of the
world coming
from two Bikol
groups. Both Bicol is a region in the Philippines encompassing the southern part of
Luzon Island and nearby island provinces. Caramoan, a peninsula in the
appeared in the east, is dotted with caves, limestone cliffs and white-sand beaches.
Nearby, Catanduanes Island has mountains, waterfalls and coral reefs.

second volume Donsol, in the west, is home to whale sharks. The region’s active
volcanoes include Bulusan Volcano and Mayon Volcano.

of H.O. Beyer’s
The Creation of the World

Thousand and thousands of years ago there was a time when the
space occupied by the universe was vacant. The moon, the sun, the
stars, and the earth were conspicuous by their absence. Only the vast
expanse of water and the sky above it could be seen. The kingdom of the
sky was under the rule of the great god Languit while the water was
under the sovereignty of Tubigan.
Languit had a daughter called Dagat, the Sea, who became the wife
of Paros, the Wind, who was the son of Tubigan.
Four children were born to Dagat and Paros, three of whom were
boys, called Daga, Aldao and Bulan, and one girl named Bitoon.
Daga, a young man, possessed a body of Rock; Aldao, a jolly fellow,
The Creation of the World

After the death of the father, Paros, Daga, being the eldest son,
succeeded in the control of winds. Soon after, Dagat, the mother, died,
leaving her children under the care of the grandparents, Languit and
After assuming control of the winds, Daga became arrogant, desiring
to gain more power, so he induced his younger brothers to attack the
kingdom of Languit. At first they refused; but because of Daga’s anger,
Bulan and Aldao were constrained to join Daga in his plot.
Preparations were made and when everything was ready, they set out
on their expedition and began to attack the gates of the sky. Failing to
open the gates, Daga get loose the winds in all directions so that the
The Creation of the World

golden body of Aldao. Daga’s body fell into the sea and became what is
now the earth.
Their sister Bitoon, on discovering the absence of her brothers went
out to seek them. But upon meeting the enraged Languit, Bitoon was
struck also by another bolt of lightning which broke her body in many
Then Languit descended from the sky and called Tubigan and accused
him of helping his grandsons in their attack on his kingdom. But Tubigan
defended himself saying he had no knowledge about the attack for he
was asleep far down into the sea. Tubigan succeeded in pacifying
Languit and the two regretted and wept over the loss of their
The Creation of the World

on the earth.
Tubigan then planted a seed which grew up into a bamboo tree. From
one of its branches came a man and a woman, who became the first
parents of the human race. Three children were born to them. One called
Maisog invented a fish trap. One day he caught a very big and grotesque
looking whale that he thought was a god, so he ordered the people to
worship it. The people gathered around and began to pray; but no
sooner had they begun when gods from the sky appeared and
commanded Maisog to throw the whale into the water and worship no
one but the gods. But Maisog was not afraid and defied the gods.
Languit, the king of the sky, struck Maisog with lightning and stunned
him. Then he scattered the people over the earth as a punsihment. In
The Creation of the World

But Maisog’s first son was carried off to the north and became the
parent of the white people.
His other children were brought to the south where the sun was hot
that it scorched their bodies so that all their people were of brown color.
The other people were carried to the east where they had to feed on
clay due to scarcity of food. Because of their diet, their descendants
were of yellow color. In this way, the earth came into being.
On the Origin of Earth and Man

Many many years ago, there was no earth or man. There was only
the sky. Now, in the sky there were two brothers, Bulan and Adlao. The
latter was the older and the stronger. But the former was proud and
hated his older brother.
One day there was a quarrel. Bulan hurled bad words at Adlao,
claimed superiority and challenged Adlao to a fight. The older brother
only laughed at his younger brother. But his laughed was answered by
Bulan who bellowed; “You coward, come and fight and I will show you
my superiority. If you don’t fight, I will kill you.” And Bulan suddenly
rushed to Adlao without waiting for an answer. Adlao was angered and
he was forced to fight his younger brother.
On the Origin of Earth and Man

It was Adlao’s turn to hit. So, with his club he hit with all his might, first
eye of Bulan, then the arm of Bulan which became flat at the might of
the stroke. Then with his bolo he cut Bulan’s flattened arm. When
Bulan’s eye was hit and his arm was flattened and cut from his body, he
cried with pain. His tears fell on the cut flattened arm. As Bulan
foresaw his defeat with only one arm and one eye to fight with, he fled,
and he was pursued by Adlao who was very angry and wanted to kill
Bulan. And they kept running on and on, chasing each other.
Now, the cut flattened arm of Bulan as well as his tears fell. Down
and down those went until they finally settled. The flattened arm of
Bulan became the earth, and the tears became the rivers and the sea.
Time came when two hairs sprang from Bulan’s cut arm and from these
Making Sense of Words and Expressions in the Text
State how the words and expressions below are related in meaning.
Answer I if they differ in the intensity or shades of meaning, S if
they are synonyms, and A if they are antonyms.
• origin – beginnings fell down - settled
• explain – account for hit - struck
• different – similar induced - refused
• enraged – angered fled - pursued
• older – younger sovereignty - kingdom
• chasing – running on and on parents - descendants
• strength – with all his might arrogant - proud
Examining and Responding to the Texts
Answer the following questions:
• Which character from the legends can you relate to? Why?
• The earth, the rivers, seas, sun, moon, and stars are mentioned in
the legends. Which elements of nature are not mentioned? Why do
you think are they not mentioned?
• Compare these two legends to the other creation stories you know
through the following aspects: a) character; b) the plot; and c) the
origin of the human race.
• In both stories, men and women are not directly created but come
from the earth. What does this mean?
• The legend “The Creation of the World” accounts not only for the
creation of the world and of man and woman but also of the
Examining and Responding to the Texts

Answer the following questions:

• Which character from the legends can you relate to? Why?
• The earth, the rivers, seas, sun, moon, and stars are mentioned in
the legends. Which elements of nature are not mentioned? Why do
you think are they not mentioned?
• Compare these two legends to the other creation stories you know
through the following aspects: a) character; b) the plot; and c) the
origin of the human race.
• In both stories, men and women are not directly created but come
from the earth. What does this mean?
• The legend “The Creation of the World” accounts not only for the
Since those two versions of the origin of world
come from the same cultural group, the Bikolanos,
they are similar in some points yet they differ in
other details because the Bikol peninsula is actually
made up of several provinces- Camarines Norte,
Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon- to mention a few.
Variations are therefore expected even within a
given region because of the geographical differences
among groups.
Because our country went through several colonial
periods, a cry for freedom was underscored in various
patriotic literary output from different regions of our country.
Patriotism was expressed in songs addressed to our country,
proverbs about freedom, and essays that paid tribute to men
and women who risked their lives to secure our
independence from foreign dominion.
And since our country was colonized by Spain and later
the United States, some literary creations from the colonial
period were in Spanish and later, some were in English. It
was only when we developed our national language as an
independent country that we had translations of those
patriotic songs, proverbs, and poems in our native language.
The Philippine National Anthem was composed by
Julian Felipe, a Filipino music teacher and composer of
Cavite. He completed it on June 11, 1898, and showed it to
General Emilio Aguinaldo, who right away liked it
because of its inspiring melody. The following day the music
band of San Francisco de Malabon performed it for the
first time during the unfolding of the Filipino flag at Kawit
during the Independence Day ceremony.
For more than a year the anthem remained without
words. Towards the end of August of 1899, a young poet-
soldier named Jose Palma wrote the poem entitled
Filipinas. This poem expressed in elegant Spanish verses
the devoted patriotism and fighting spirit of the Filipino
people. It became the words of the anthem and today the
anthem is sung in Pilipino, its official lyrics interpreted by
Lupang Hinirang
by Jose Palma

Bayang Magiliw
Perlas ng Silanganan
Alab ng Puso
Sa dibdib mo'y buhay

Lupang hinirang
Duyan ka nang magiting
Sa manlulupig
Di ka pasisiil

Sa dagat at bundok
Sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw,
Philippine Hymn
by Camilo Osia and A.L. Alang

Land of the morning,

Child of the sun returning,
With fervor burning,
Thee do our souls adore.

Land dear and holy,

Cradle of noble heroes,
Ne'er shall invaders
Trample thy sacred shore.

Ever within thy skies and through thy clouds

And o'er thy hills and sea,
Making Sense of Words and Expressions in the Texts

One use of the apostrophe is to indicate that a letter or letters are

left out in the word. Determine the letter that is omitted in each of
the following English words in the translation and in the Filipino
words found in the Filipino version.
1. Ne’er _____________
2. O’er _____________
3. Mo’y _____________
4. ‘Di _____________
5. Luwalhati’t _________
6. Ligaya’y ___________
Examining and Responding to the Texts

Answer the following questions:

• Who would be singing this anthem? On what occasion it is expected
to be sung?
• To what extent is the translation true to the original text? In what
ways are they the same? In what ways they are different?
• Which part of the national anthem reflects the history of the
Philippines? State these lines and the historical events they reflect
or allude to.
• Which version of the anthem do you like better? Why?
• Which part of the anthem, whether the Filipino version or the
Stanza is a group of line in a poem.

Apostrophe is a literary device in which a

persona addresses an imaginary character.
Another popular song before we were granted
independence from the United States and which is
sung even today is a hymn that hails and addresses
our country. The three-stanza English song
“Philippines, My Philippines” was written by
Prescott Jernegan and Francisco Santiago in 1907,
while the lyrics of it’s Filipino counterpart “Pilipinas
Kong Mahal” was written by Ildefonso Santos in
1931 to the same musical score by Francisco
Santiago. Although the two hymns share the same
musical score, the Filipino version is not a translation
of the English version.
Philippines, My Philippines
by Francisco Santiago and Prescott F. Jernegan

I love my own, my native land,

Philippines, my Philippines;
To thee I give my heart and hands,
Philippines, my Philippines.
The trees that crown thy mountains grand,
The seas that beat upon thy strand;
Awake my heart to thy command,
Philippines, my Philippines.

Ye islands of the Eastern sea,

Pilipinas Kong Mahal
by Francisco Santiago and Ildefonso Santos

Ang bayan ko’y tanging ikaw

Pilipinas kong mahal.
Ang puso ko at buhay man
Sa iyo’y ibibigay.

Tungkulin kong gagampanan

Na lagi kang paglingkuran.
Ang laya mo’y babantayan
Pilipinas kong Hirang.
Examining and Responding to the Texts

• Which of the three stanzas in the English hymn refers to the

following features? State the specific line/s.
a. the typology of our country
b. our forebears
c. the generations to come
d. a personal response and commitment to our country
e. hope for future independence of our country
• Which of the two songs do you find more effective in communicating
love for the country?
• Which lines from either song resonate with you? Why?
Apostrophe is a figure of speech in which the
persona addresses a person, thing, or inanimate

Personification is a figure of speech in

which object or abstract notions are made to act like
a person or are given human attributes.
During the Spanish colonial period of the
Philippines, Jose Rizal- our national hero-
wrote novels and poems which were
revolutionary in nature. This lead to his
arrest, imprisonment, and execution before a
firing squad. His last poem “Mi Ultimo
Adios” (My Last Farewell), written in his cell
before his execution, is said to have been
folded many times to fit a lamparilla which
was smuggled out and that his sisters had to
unfold it delicately with their hairpins.
An early Tagalog translation of the 15-stanza
poem was done by Andres Bonifacio, another
national hero who sparked the armed revolt.
Through the years, several other translations
of the poem were made.
Mi Ultimo Adios is
considered as the greatest
contribution of the Philippines
to the world literature.
Written by Rizal’s in
December 29, 1896, on the
eve of execution, it was the
longest poem ever written by
Rizal. The poem is
autobiographical, and it
restates in the most sublime
and finest tonal rhythm
Rizal’s unfailing nationalism,
patriotism, and religious
idealism that inspired his
Mi Ultimo Adios
by Jose P. Rizal

Adiós, Patria adorada, región del sol querida,

Perla del mar de oriente, nuestro perdido Edén!
A darte voy alegre la triste mustia vida,
Y fuera más brillante, más fresca, más florida,
También por ti la diera, la diera por tu bien.

En campos de batalla, luchando con delirio,

Otros te dan sus vidas sin dudas, sin pesar;
El sitio nada importa, ciprés, laurel o lirio,
Cadalso o campo abierto, combate o cruel martirio,
Lo mismo es si lo piden la patria y el hogar.

Yo muero cuando veo que el cielo se colora

Y al fin anuncia el día tras lóbrego capuz;
si grana necesitas para teñir tu aurora,
Vierte la sangre mía, derrámala en buen hora
Y dórela un reflejo de su naciente luz.

Mis sueños cuando apenas muchacho adolescente,

Mis sueños cuando joven ya lleno de vigor,
Fueron el verte un día, joya del mar de oriente,
Secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente,
Sin ceño, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor

Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo,

¡Salud te grita el alma que pronto va a partir!
¡Salud! Ah, que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo,
Morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo,
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir.
My Last Farewell
by Encarnacion Alzonaand Isidro Escare Abeto

Farewell, my adored Land, region of the sun caressed,

Pearl of the Orient Sea, our Eden lost,
With gladness I give you my life, sad and repressed;
And were it more brilliant, more fresh and at its best,
I would still give it to you for your welfare at most.

On the fields of battle, in the fury of fight,

Others give you their lives without pain or hesitancy,
The place does not matter: cypress, laurel, lily white;
Scaffold, open field, conflict or martyrdom's site,
It is the same if asked by the home and country.

I die as I see tints on the sky b'gin to show

And at last announce the day, after a gloomy night;
If you need a hue to dye your matutinal glow,
Pour my blood and at the right moment spread it so,
And gild it with a reflection of your nascent light

My dreams, when scarcely a lad adolescent,

My dreams when already a youth, full of vigor to attain,
Were to see you, Gem of the Sea of the Orient,
Your dark eyes dry, smooth brow held to a high plane,
Without frown, without wrinkles and of shame without stain.

My life's fancy, my ardent, passionate desire,

Hail! Cries out the soul to you, that will soon part from thee;
Hail! How sweet 'tis to fall that fullness you may acquire;
To die to give you life, 'neath your skies to expire,
And in thy mystic land to sleep through eternity!
Pahimakas ni Dr. Jose Rizal
by Andres Bonifacio

Pinipintuho kong Bayan ay paalam,

lupang iniirog ñg sikat ñg araw,
mutiang mahalaga sa dagat Silañgan,
kalualhatiang sa ami'y pumanaw.

Masayang sa iyo'y aking idudulot

ang lanta kong buhay na lubhang malungkot;
maging mariñgal man at labis alindog
sa kagaliñgan mo ay akin ding handog.

Sa pakikidigma at pamimiyapis
ang alay ñg iba'y ang buhay na kipkip,
walang agam-agam, maluag sa dibdib,
matamis sa puso at di ikahapis.

Saan man mautas ay di kailañgan,

cípres ó laurel, lirio ma'y patuñgan
pakikipaghamok, at ang bibitayan,
yaon ay gayon din kung hiling ñg Bayan.

Ako'y mamatay, ñgayong namamalas

na sa silañganan ay namamanaag
yaong maligayang araw na sisikat
sa likod ñg luksang nagtabing na ulap.

Ang kulay na pula kung kinakailañgan

na maitim sa iyong liway-way,
dugo ko'y isabog at siyang ikinang
ñg kislap ñg iyong maningning na ilaw.
Examining and Responding to the Texts

Answer the following questions:

• What is the mood of the poem? Cite lines to support your answer.
• Pick out phrases from the English version where Rizal describes the
physical attributes of the country. Based on his descriptions, how
does he see the Philippines?
• Based on the lines, what does Rizal feel about his imminent death?
What does the line “To die is to rest” mean?
• In which stanza/s do you most feel Rizal’s burning love for the
country? Why?
• What does Rizal wish for the country? Do you think this wish has
Diction refers to the word choice and the style of
expression that a writer employs in a work.

Anaphora a figure of speech characterized by the

repetition of a word or expression in two or more lines.

Anastrophe a figure of speech characterized by the

inversion of words or phrases.

Apostrophe a figure of speech which is an absent

person or an abstract entity or thing is addressed.
Personification the figure of speech where animals,
things or ideas are given human qualities.
Tales are another literary creation which were
originally shared orally and later put down in writing.
Various tales from the past eras reflect the culture of the
place where they were written, and have thus become
widely popular and important parts of the canon.
One popular collection of English tales is Chaucer’s
The Canterbury Tales which feature short narratives
supposedly shared by pilgrims on their way to Canterbury.
There are also accounts about Robinhood of Sherwood
Forest, the champion of the masses exploited by barons
and monarchs during the feudal ages in England. Still
another classic collection of tales, this time is a Moroccan
setting, is Arabian Nights. It consist of a thousand and one
tales narrated by Scheherazade, who managed to escape
Speculative fiction, one of the 21st Century literary genres,
is referred to as the literature of the fantastic. As
such, it may be considered as the reaction to “realism” which
Dean Francis Alfar, a Filipino writer, claims to be the mode
handed down to us by generations that came before us. It is an
umbrella term for varied kinds of fiction that speculate about
worlds different from ours and tackle topics that range from
science, fantasy, horror, supernatural, superhero, and the like.
Dean Francis Alfar is a Filipino fictionist
and playwright. His short stories have
appeared in The Year’s Best Fantasy &
Horror, Strange Horizons, Rabid Transit:
Menagerie, The Apex Book of World SF,
and the Exotic Gothic anthologies, among
other venues. A multi-awarded author, his
books include a novel, Salamanca, as well
as two collections of fiction, The Kite of
Stars and Other Stories and How to
Traverse Terra Incognita. He is the
publisher of the annual Philippine
Speculative Fiction series. He is working
on a second novel, his third collection of
short fiction and a handful of new
Dean Francis Alfar
anthologies. He lives in Manila with his
wife, Nikki, and their two daughters, Sage
and Rowan.
Simon’s Replica
By Dean Francis Alfar

In March 2005, Dean Francis Alfar

produced an anthology of speculative
fiction written by Filipinos who
responded to his call for speculative
texts. This is a story which served as
an example of literature “magical
beyond, lyricism, tenor and style”.
Simon’s Replica
by Dean Francis Alfar

In the final decades of her rule that was characterized by an intense yearning to
preserve memory, Mon Jiera, Reina of Lusan, Protector of Bisyas, and First Citizen of
Danao, decreed the creation of a precise replica of her three maritime kingdoms.
Those were days of incontestable bounty and quiet peace, when the network of
roads and island-spanning bridges were new and led to uttermost parts of the
kingdoms, when fishermen did not have to go beyond a cigarette’s distance from the
deep harbors to make a day’s wage, when being a policeman was a part-time job due
to the indolence of the dwindling number of criminals, and when the theatrical
recitative was at its creative zenith, inspiring narratives about knowledge and
devotion, mostly in the vulgar tongue for the edification of the masses.
Within the Royal Enclosure of Lusan (that part of the grand manse where royalty of old
celebrated with tuba or witnessed beheadings), Mon Jiera summoned Simon de los
Santos, multi-decorated architect, composer, playwright, perennial beauty pageant
judge and champion stock car driver; at forty-eight years old, already famous for the
intricate pneumatic fountains at the Gate of Idad, the choreopoetic transliteration of
Ibn al Faran’s Gestures Under Rainfall, and for being the five-time off-road record
Simon’s Replica
by Dean Francis Alfar

“I would, My Queen,” Simon de los Santos replied, with a graceful bow.

“And would you say that what we have built with our hands and hearts will last
forever?” the queen asked.
“My Great Lady,” Simon said, choosing his words with care. “Only the human spirit is
immortal. That, and the legacy of free will, beauty, and law that we pass to those who
come after us.”
“But will we be remembered?” the queen asked. “Will everything that we have
created, all that we have worked for, will everything be remembered as things are?”
“ ‘As things are?’ “ Simon repeated. “Books will be written, of course, My Queen;
paintings, murals, photographs commissioned. But those cannot possibly cover
“We need everything to be remembered,” the queen said, closing her eyes.
“But—” Simon began.
“Favorite,” Mon Jierra interrupted him. She opened her eyes and looked directly at
Simon. “You will undertake a task for us that will make all your previous achievements
Simon’s Replica
by Dean Francis Alfar

court, before escaping down the hallway in the mouths of secretaries and serving
boys, and from them to the scullions, washers, mechanics, deliverymen, and
gardeners on the palace grounds, then off into the polished streets where beautiful
brown-skinned women with dark hair trembled in sadness, and handsome men with
broad noses daubed their eyes with handkerchiefs, and into the mosques, gas
stations, mercados, food courts, amusement parks and massage parlors where obese
men’s hearts were given a double workout, and finally into the broad countryside and
beyond, across the islands to the satellite towns, villages, and crofts, where the news
was met with great sorrow.
“Oh, no, My Queen,” Simon de los Santos protested, rising daringly to his feet. “It
cannot be true!”
“Spare us your theatrics, Favorite,” the queen said, gesturing for him to resume his
initial kneeling position. “There is no true palliative against time. Now, we possess no
charm to reduce our kingdoms to the size of a biscuit and keep them in a glass box.
We do not believe that the miracles of science can etch the lives of people on to
strangely flavored particles. And we do not think that people in heaven keep track of
Simon’s Replica
by Dean Francis Alfar

“You will create, beginning this very day and without relent, a replica of our three
kingdoms as they stand. You will capture the spirit of our people and all we have built.
It must be exact, faithful, and true. You will perform this task with all your talent and all
your strength.”
“With all my heart, Great Lady,” Simon de los Santos said softly.
“We intend to see some semblance of its wonder before we close our eyes for the
last time, Favorite,” the old woman on the ornate throne told him. “Now go. Begin.”
“At once, My Queen.” Simon de los Santos stood, bowed, and walked away on legs
weakened by the impossible weight of the Queen’s imperative, and when he was alone
in his car, lit a cigarette, tuned the radio to sentimental love songs, and thought about
glassworks, cartography, and the flickering nature of memory. Then he began to drive
home, taking the opportunity offered by every stoplight to make calls on his cell phone
to people he knew and to people who knew people he didn’t know.
Eight months later, Mon Jiera, pale and tired, was informed over breakfast, by one
of her attendants, that Simon de los Santos’ miraculous replica was completed.
Simon’s Replica
by Dean Francis Alfar

for her royal retinue to convey her, with the barest of pomp, to a large field on the
outskirts of the capital, where a huge tent housed Simon de los Santos and his labors.
Her traveling throne was set securely on a narra platform in the tent’s dimly lit
interior. As the platform slowly ascended to thrice a man’s height, she steadied
herself, squinting into the shadows that offered tantalizing shapes and forms.
A lone spotlight suddenly illuminated Simon de los Santos, broad shoulders
squarely set inside a crisp, white linen suit, standing on some lesser elevation.
“My Queen,” he addressed her, his amplified voice echoing in the vast interior.
“After months of dreams and labor, I humbly present Your Majesty’s three kingdoms!”
At his signal, hidden voices began to sing, as lights shone in structured sequence,
revealing Simon de los Santos astride the Cordil mountain range, rendered in
miniature. All around him, forests and lakes and plains sprawled outward, gleaming
roads racing toward coastlines. Provinces and their capitals glittered like gemstones,
slender bridges arched across water linking island to island to island. Every single
geographic feature of each of the three kingdoms, every famous river and volcano and
Simon’s Replica
by Dean Francis Alfar

When everything on display was fully lit, when artificial waves lapped against the
shores of the multitudes of islands, and when all the tiny rice fields transformed from
paddies into bountiful harvest, synchronized to the rhythm of a troupe of dancing girls,
Simon de los Santos raised his eyes toward his queen, certain in his heart of his
Mon Jiera, unmoving and unmoved by the spectacle, met his gaze. “We cannot see the
cities; they are too small. Do better. It is not as things are.”
And with that pronouncement, the show was over. As the queen’s platform descended,
Simon fought back the sudden nausea that enveloped him, rested a hand against the
nearest mountain peak, obliterating vast tracts of miniscule forests, and thought about
what to do next.
When the queen and her retinue had departed, Simon de los Santos addressed the
dejected crowd of set and lighting designers, miniaturists, geomancers, gardeners,
cartographers, carpenters, engineers, electricians, musicians, historians,
documentarians, reporters, caterers, dancing troupes, and child volunteers.
“Clearly, my friends,” Simon said, stretching his trembling arms to full extension,
Simon’s Replica
by Dean Francis Alfar

response was to give way to the queen’s will and to begin the task of uprooting
themselves. With the provincial boundaries determining the edges of the site, Simon
de los Santos and his growing population of workers and specialists and their families
and hangers-on settled in and began to work. Over the next decade, doctors of
forestry and mathematics, their famous university transplanted to another province,
teamed up with landscape designers to render the archipelago in perfect scale, while
oceanographers, animatronics experts, and animal rights advocates worked with
officers of the Queen’s Navy to ensure the veracity of every beach, cove, and estuary,
as well the appropriate distribution of each locality’s maritime wildlife. Massive tractors
and excavators, powered by liquefied petroleum gas, flattened hills and shattered
rocks. A network of polyvinyl chloride pipes stretched from Lagun Bay and created a
new coastline, submerging all the small towns in a line from San Padro to Alamin, from
Luisan to Silong. With an escalating portion of the kingdoms’ budget allocated to the
immense project, materials arrived on the site via helicopters, ten-wheelers, and
barges. Work never stopped, except out of respect for Ramadan.
In the midst of all this, Simon de los Santos kept everyone and everything on
Simon’s Replica
by Dean Francis Alfar

Over the course of years, he fought back the temptation to stop, to say that it was
enough, to rush to his queen’s side, to simply be there for her as she faded. But a
challenge was a challenge, and Simon de los Santos was never one to accept failure,
no matter how well-cloaked by extenuating circumstances. It was only when he was
satisfied, after a period of intense personal review and scrutiny, that he declared the
marvelous replica completed and sent a brief formal telegram to the queen’s Office of
It took the queen, on an intricately-designed wheeled conveyance encased in a
delicate glass bubble, with Simon de los Santos mounted on a champion racehorse,
accompanied by her retinue and palace security in various vehicles, thirty days to tour
the province-sized scale model of her three kingdoms. Through it all, she kept her
opinions to herself, permitting her guide every bit of space his narrative required, as
he gestured to this mosque or that tree-lined hot spring. On his part, Simon de los
Santos left no detail unmentioned, drawing her attention to the transition from dry
season into wet with an elegant flourish of his hands, a signal for the aerial team of
Simon’s Replica
by Dean Francis Alfar

he could not help but sense the fleeting nature of her attention. The old queen’s
movements were so economical that Simon de los Santos often thought she had
stopped breathing, and was utterly relieved when the tour was done.
She gestured to him from within the bubble.
He slowly knelt in front of her, ignoring the arthritic pains he had developed due to
his own advancing years.
Her lips moved, and he strained to listen but could hear no more than a soft whirring
from inside the bubble. He turned his face to one of the officers of the court for help.
“Her Majesty remembers you and commends you on your good work,” the official
Simon de los Santos permitted himself a sigh.
“But Her Majesty says that everything is still too small,” the official continued.
“Everything is too small to remember; that memory must be writ large; and that the
streets stand sadly empty. It is Her Majesty’s will that the scale be larger.”
Simon de los Santos stared unseeing at the ground, beset by sudden phantom aches.
“You are to start again.”
Simon’s Replica
by Dean Francis Alfar

thanking every project team leader. At a certain point he stopped, set down the
congratulatory list he held, and spoke into the microphone.
“My friends and colleagues, on behalf of the queen, I thank you for all your time and
effort. I personally thank you for your commitment to seeing the project through. You
are released from your duties as this part of the project is complete. Go back to your
true homes, with pride in your part in this tremendous achievement. Goodnight and
During the next three years leading to Mon Jiera’s demise, these are the things
Simon de los Santos did not do: make new plans for a larger replica, entertain
questions about the mysterious next phase of the project, encash any of the monies
allocated for the continuance of the project, judge any beauty pageants, nor watch the
Instead, he did two things: he waited, and he kept himself abreast of all the minutiae
of the dying queen’s medical conditions.
Simon’s Replica
by Dean Francis Alfar

people in the room.

“My Queen,” Simon de los Santos softly said, brazenly taking her small leathery
hand in his.
Mon Jiera, barely recognizable, opened her still-bright eyes.
“My Queen,” he said. “Do you remember me?”
She nodded once, and with great effort.
“Do you remember what you asked me to do for you?”
No, she offered, looking at him uncertainly.
“You tasked me to create a replica, so people could remember things as they are.”
Her eyes widened with understand.
“The first one I built was too small, and the second was still not big enough to
encompass memory.”
Her brow furrowed slightly.
“For the third and final replica, I realized three things. Firstly, it was as much for
you, your memory, as it will be for those who come after all of us. Secondly, there is an
insurmountable problem of scale. And thirdly, I cannot build you what you asked for—
Simon’s Replica
by Dean Francis Alfar

“Will you let me show you, My Queen?”

She nodded.
With great tenderness, he carried her in his arms, the vanished strength of his
youth belied by the quiver in his hands, to the nearby armchair next to a window.
And, her hand in his, they waited.
When dawn came, its radiance spilled first over the distant mountains, turning
shadows into vibrant greens and browns. Then the roads sprang gently into the light,
grey and black and white, stretching and winding and intersecting in the city, as the
first motorists and bus drivers drove their vehicles of red and yellow and blue and
silver. People began to appear: joggers, newspaper vendors, delivery men,
schoolchildren in their khakis, in ones or twos at first, then as the sun rose, in clusters
and crowds, as the city roared into life.
When the sun was higher in the sky, when every tree and monument and lake and
building was enveloped in sunshine, Mon Jiera sighed her thanks, leaned her head
In the past, quick reads were mainly reportorial in nature. They
came in form of summaries of texts or minutes of meetings which simply
let the reader know the plot of a story or the key points and result of
deliberations in a meeting. Moreover, these short texts were usually
written from a objective point of view.
Flash Fiction refers to stories told using minimal number of words
ranging from six-word short stories in the extreme to not more than three
to five hundred words. Because of the limitation in words, stories under
this genre may require the reader to put in details or elements that the
story leaves out, as is the case in six-word stories, in which the reader
becomes a co-creator of the narrative.
Chick Literature, commonly known as chick lit, addresses the
issues faced by modern, young, urban single women and shows how they
cope with the troubles they face, romantic or otherwise, in today’s world.
This genre was first popularized in the United Kingdom and in the United
States. The narratives may come in various forms, whether as flash fiction
or a full-length novel, in which case it is not considered as direct
Six-Word Stories
Literary Selections “I came but you’re not
Six-word stories have been there.”
around for some time now but
have gained popularity with “Under the tree: childhood
the rise of social media dreams built.”
platforms such as Twitter
which encourage creativity “You stabbed me with your
within a limited number of promises.”
characters. “For sale: baby
shoes, never worn” is a
famous six-word story “It’ not working, let me go.”
commonly attributed to Ernest
Hemingway, although this is
not verified. “I wish you would be mine.”