History of Philippine Literature

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The literature of the Philippines has its roots in pre-historic fables and tales, which were combined with Hispanic writing terms and the culmination of different languages to form what it is today. Even before colonization, Philippine literature had evolved, and there are tales of Spanish and Mexican domination that give insights into the use of English, Spanish, Filipino, and other native languages. In 1521, a script known as Baybayin was used to exaggerate tales from Luzon, and locals used bamboos and palm leaves to write using knives to engrave a script known as Tagalog. The Tagalog script was limited to seventeen symbols, but it was later developed and kept intact by Filipino intellectuals. The use of English later helped to develop the literature, which is best known for its fables and tales. The literature has been taken to the West in its raw form and developed into many famous folklores and epics.

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Philippines Literature has a rich history.

The literature of the Philippines has been shaped by fables and tales from the pre-historic era, as well as the writing techniques of the Hispanic period and the integration of multiple languages. This amalgamation has resulted in its present form. It is believed that Philippine literature existed even before colonization, with stories reflecting Spanish and Mexican dominance providing insights into how English, Spanish, Filipino, and other native languages were used. During Spanish rule in 1521, a script called Baybayin was employed to enhance Luzon’s narratives. The locals utilized bamboo and Arecaceae palm leaves as writing materials and engraved this script known as Tagalog using knives. This script encompassed only seventeen symbols representing the language’s three consonants and vowels which have been passed down through generations.

The language needed further improvement in terms of its sound. Literature was preserved through the use of the Tagalog script, which included a diacritical mark called “Kudlit” to aid in writing and speaking. People utilized various symbols such as lines, periods, or arrows placed above or below the Kudlit to convey their thoughts. While initially developed, Filipino intellectuals played a significant role in enhancing and maintaining the integrity of Philippine literature. Eventually, the use of English became prevalent for expressing their ideas. Renowned for its folktales and stories worldwide, Philippine literature in its original form was brought to the West, where it underwent development and gave birth to numerous famous folklores and epics.

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History of Philippine Literature. (2016, Oct 29). Retrieved from


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