Sunday, April 17, 2016

Philippine Literature - Pride of Filipinos, Mirror of a Noble Culture. IIn celebration of Philippine National Literature Month ( Panitikan)

Literature is the conservatory of language and culture. It is the treasure of every society, a testament to its rich history. It creates for a people a national identity, unites them under one common sentiment, national liberation and statehood.

Dr Abercio V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog [avrotor.blogspot.com]
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Miss Grace Velasco 

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Philippine Literature Today invites students to explore the vast history and diversity of Philippine literature. One of the primary aims of the course is to bridge the old and the new literary traditions that knit the fabric of humanity. In doing so, things must be put in context in order to trace the origins and sources of the country's present day literary production:
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Philippine Literature Today is a handy book, 8"x 6" in dimension, and has 237 pages. It is provided by a complementary DVD which contains additional learning materials. The book adopts an integrated (multi-disciplinary) approach presented in eight chapters:

  1. Philippine Literature: A Perspective 
  2. Literature Appreciation 
  3. Literature, Culture, and Society 
  4. Popular Literature 
  5. Myths and Legends 
  6. Literature, Nature, and Environment 
  7. Literature and the Humanities 
  8. Current Trends in Literature 

The book meets the requirements of literature courses at the tertiary level as prescribed by the general curriculum.

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The four  pillars of Philippine Literature

There are four  pillars of Philippine Literature that will aid students in answering the question: "Quo vadis?" or "To where are we heading for in Philippine literature?" 

These four pillars are considered vanguards of our literature.  The book's cover perfectly illustrates one of the course's primary objectives - a journey in literature with them.  In this journey, each vanguard represents specific areas of interest in literature:  
  • Jose Rizal for the novel and the essay
  • Francisco Batagtas for poetry;
  • Severino Reyes for theater (zarzuela) and children's literature; and 
  • Leona Florentino for literature written in Spanish and the Filipino regional languages
These authors greatly contributed to the development of a distinct kind of literature we proudly call our own today.  A uniquely Filipino literature , that is still linked to a larger realm - the literature of the world. 

Literature captures and enriches human experience.  Instead of talking about people and events, literature tackles various ideas and discourses.  It avoids all forms of obscurantism and strives, as much as possible, to illumine the most complex of concepts. 

Literature is also a builder of leaders - leaders emboldened by the pen and conviction of words.  As in the epilogue of Noli, these writer-leaders are expected to carry the torch and guide the nation "through night 'til dawn."
Co-authors Dr Abercio V Rotor and Dr Kristine Molina-Doria present the first copy of Philippine Literature Today during its soft launching. The two authors also wrote Humanities - An Experiential Approach. Both textbooks were published by C&E Publishing Co., and are now adopted in different schools and universities through the publisher's nationwide network. Both authors are bona fide residents of Lagro.   
   
Literature is also tested by time and change.  Its relevance is measured by events that shape history.  A lighthouse in a stormy sea, it signals the arrival of a new dawn.

We are being swept by the incessant tides of change.  Consequently, a deluge of information makes the task of separating the grains from the chaff in literature more difficult. This is not to mention the predilection of today's generation of anti-intellectual ideas.  In these trying times, nowhere is the challenge for writers to assert themselves as relevant agents of social change more evident than in literature. 

In the advent of multi-tasking and do-all. hand-held devices (i.e., tablets, smartphones, iPad), the world is as the saying goes, now in our hands.  In the same way, never have we been serious in analyzing William Blake's Auguries of Innocence, which in part reads:

To see the World in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your Hand,
And Eternity in an hour.

Fortunately, we still trace philosophy back to Socrates, Idealism to Kant, and naturalism to Aristotle.  In the same manner, our literature, despite new and emerging trends, is still rooted in Rizal, Balagtas, Reyes, Florentino, and their disciples. 

The authors pose with the senior staff of C&E Publishing Co. From left to right: Ms Lourdes Lopez, division chief; Dr Doria, Mr Amado Anthony G Mendoza III, Asst Editor; Dr Rotor; and Mr Ruzzel S Valdepeña, layout artist.  

At present, in the advent of rampant capitalism and globalization, our literature is besieged and reified in a free market where profit is the lure and rule,  In this world order structured on free-market principles, literature becomes a commodity; and if it merely holds on to its glorious past, then we may lose its essence and eventually, its value.

The challenge for us now is to find new ways to assert the importance of literature as a human endeavor,  Readers and writers alike must produce works that represent and depict current social and global realities.  To achieve this purpose, we must strive for a literature that has an intellectual moral value; narrates and reveals the marginalized history of our people; and helps unite us under one national identity.  

Philippine Literature - Pride of Filipinos, Mirror of a Noble Culture.

1. Philippine literature takes us back to the domain of the gods and goddesses, to the throne of Bathala, to the times of Malakas at Maganda.

2. Philippine literature brings back the sweet days of childhood when kapres still lived in big trees, dwendes in punso (anthill), and manananggal used to peep through thatched roofs.  

The whole experience is distilled in the form of fantastic tales - a sort of transference, a courageous parting from childhood memories, albeit leaving imprints of the unknown and ineffable aspects of the world - which serve as forms of nostalgia and entertainment during our adult years.

3. Philippine literature unveils the world of the minutiae - honeybee converting nectar into pukyutan (honey), worms weaving the finest sutla (silk), and fireflies emitting the brightest of lights.  

4. Philippine literature has never been dull and prosaic.  It has done away with romanticism and evolved alongside events that shaped the Philippines as a nation .  It blazed paths which remained untrodden, spoke about relevant issues that used to be unspeakable, and utilized modes of expression shunned in the past.

5. Philippine literature "on the other side of the fence," so to speak, portrays the wretched, pitiful, painful, and deplorable conditions of human life; but at the same time, it gives a sense of hope and redemption in the end.  Doing away with the idyllic representation of reality, literature is able to lend its voice to the voiceless, oppressed, and marginalized sectors of the society.

6. Philippine literature was inevitably shaped by a colonial past.  This led a lot of scholars and critics to prolematize and debate the "pureness" of our literature.  However, the point is not to categorize and evaluate our literary tradition and production in terms of its purported originality and provenance, but to trace and identify the historical events, processes, and departures that affected its development.

7. Philippine literature exalts the beauty of the Filipina - the subject of countless stories, poems, and songs - though the Maria Clara image of the Filipina has coalesced with contemporary culture.  Moreover, we can still say that the essence of Filipino womanhood is still present in the modern society.  Proof of this is the abundance of literary texts that feature the important role of women in our society. 

8. Philippine literature not only produced transcendent works, but also showed the world the greatness of the Philippines and its people: Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo described the plight of Filipinos during the Spanish colonial period; Bonifacio's Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa inflamed the Philippine Revolution; Lopez-Jaena's Fray Botod exposed corruption and oppressive rule of the Spanish friars and Balagtas' Florante at Laura, unanimously considered as the masterpiece in Philippine narrative poetry,   

9. We have an extensive and pervasive oral literary tradition.  Most modern and contemporary literary forms trace their roots not only from foreign sources but also from native literary forms like the bugtong, dagli, ambahan, tanaga, dalit, diona, pasingaw, ulahingan, leyenda, awit, korido, duplo, zarzuela, kotkotan, hudhud, patotodon, etc.  This goes to show that our literature, despite the detrimental effects of colonialism and increased Westernization, still suckles from its original literary bosom. 

10. Philippine literature has been instrumental in the preservation of Philippine culture and values like bayanihan (cooperation), lamayan (wake), and the annual pista (fiesta). Through poems and stories that depict the richness and quaintness of Filipino life in the past, people of the present learn to appreciate the practices, values, and beliefs being passed on to them by their parents and forebears.  

11. Philippine literature needs to continuously question and reinvent itself; it needs to "come down to earth" to address relevant societal issues and concerns.  It needs to get out of the academe, its eternal comfort zone, and find new ways to articulate and tackle pressing realities.  "Get out of the house," cried the late national poetess Ophelia A Dimalanta. "Bond with the people, bond with nature," a call for responsive change.  On the other hand, literature should also utilize new mediums like the Internet and multimedia.

12. Lastly, Philippine literature should uphold challenge both the young and the old; lend new light to old beliefs and ideologies and contextualize forthcoming trends; describe and comment on exigent national and global issues; and trace and outline history through the lens of the voiceless, oppressed, and marginalized. ~

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