Arts and Culture

What should Senior High school students need to know about Philippine Literature?

By Nigel Maranan

At an early age in the education learning system Filipino students are already taught about the history of our country which also covers Philippine literature. There are subjects like Makabayan, Aralin Panlipuan and Filipino that expand students’ knowledge on various topics regarding our country. With the implementation of the K-12 curriculum, what should Senior high school students really know about our own literature?

At the age of twelve my family decided to move back to the Philippines, leaving London, my place of birth and half of my life. At that time little did I know anything about the Philippines and I hardly could speak Tagalog. I entered my first year at high school and learned more about out motherland and its native language Tagalog. Philippine Literature was covered in our Filipino classes but I still did not have a clear understanding of the whole Philippine literature because I took education in the Philippines later than the normal but the foundations and material were already there.

I do remember reading “Ibong Adarna” and “Florante at Laura”, and also Jose Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo” which where all part of the curriculum. With the birth of the senior high school years, many great Philippine Literature works could be explained more like the “Ang Doctrina Cristina” which is said to be the first Philippine book published in 1953. Fr. Juan de Placencia and Fr. Domingo Nieva both wrote the books, both in Tagalog and Spanish which consisted of 87 pages. The Christian Doctrine the Our Father, Hail Mary, Hail Holy Queen, The Ten Commandments of God, The Commandments of the Catholic Church, The Seven Mortal Sins, How to Confess and The Catechism. Another could be the “Carillo” or Shadow Play in English, which is also called differently in different parts of the country like “Titiri” in Zambales, “Aliala” in La Union and “Titres” in Pangasinan. This form of entertainment is performed during moonless night during fiestas and other dark nights. Cardboard figures are usually placed in front of a lamp producing shadows while songs and poems are also sung.

Ladino Poems are also something new to the ear for many. The term Ladino was used to describe a native writer who could read and write in both Tagalog and Spanish. Many known poets of this nature are Fernando Bagongbanta and Tomas Pinpin. This could be an interesting subject under our Philippine Literature that many students could learn of in their senior high school years. Awit and Corrido’s which are believed to be introduced in the 1600′s are metrical romances that were normally influenced by other foreign cultures. They tell stories in verses about different events, religious activities and love stories.

In the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) syllabus, it requires the learning of literary texts from various parts of the Philippines at different periods of time. But with the welcoming of senior high school students there are a lot more contexts that one can nurture and appreciate of our very own Philippine Literature.

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