World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Philippine folk literature

Article Id: WHEBN0012526478
Reproduction Date:

Title: Philippine folk literature  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Philippine literature, Philippine mythology, Art of the Philippines, Culture of the Philippines, Filipino women artists
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Philippine folk literature

Philippine folk literature refers to the traditional oral literature of the Filipino people. Thus, the scope of the field covers the ancient folk literature of the Philippines' various ethnic groups, as well as various pieces of folklore that have evolved since the Philippines became a single ethno-political unit.

While the difference between Philippine folk literature and Philippine mythology is a fine one, this article distinguishes folk literature as the source from which Philippine mythology derives.

Philippine folk literature in oral and print formats

While the oral, and thus changeable, aspect of folk literature is an important defining characteristic, much of this oral tradition has been written into a print format. To point out that folklore in a written form can still be considered folklore, Utely points out that folklore "may appear in print, but must not freeze into print."[1] It should be pointed out that all the examples of folk literature cited in this article are taken from print, rather than oral sources.

Categories of Philippine folk literature

Eugenio classifies Philippine Folk Literature into three major groups: Folk narratives, folk speech, and folk songs. [2]

Folk narratives can either be in prose - the alamat (myth), the legend, and the kuwentong bayan (folktale) - or in verse, as in the case of the folk narrative.

Folk speech includes the bugtong (riddle) and the salawikain (proverbs).

Folk songs can be sub-classified into those that tell a story (folk ballads), which are rare in Philippine folk literature, and those that do not, which form the bulk of the Philippines' rich heritage of folk songs.

As an example of Southeast Asian folklore

Since it comes from a Southeast Asian nation, Philippine folk literature can be counted as a representative of Southeast Asian folklore. This is not a simple categorization, however, for two important reasons. [3]

First, Southeast Asia as a distinct cultural region was not recognized until the political environment after the Second World War.

Second, even as the idea of a Southeast Asia was being conceived, the inclusion of the Philippines in the region was consistently in debate because of its very different cultural makeup.

Setting those two objections aside, Philippine Folk Literature would be considered a subset of the folklore of peninsular Southeast Asia, which includes the folklore of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. This would be distinct from the folk literature of continental Southeast Asia, which includes Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and others. The distinction roots from the geographical influence on the cultures arising from these countries.

Like all of Southeast Asia, however, whether peninsular or continental, Philippine Folk Literature shows strong cultural influences from India.

A major difference however, arises from the colonial influences in the development of Southeast Asian folk literature. The Philippines' 300 years of Spanish rule makes it unique, enough to earn the title of "a piece of Latin America in Southeast Asia."

Continued evolution

While folklore is often associated with ancient times, new pieces of Philippine folk Literature have arisen in modern times. Quite aside from urban legends, modern legends attributing superhuman powers to powerful and charistmatic leaders such as former presidents Ramon Magsaysay and Ferdinand Marcos have been documented and accepted as full-fledged examples of Philippine folk Literature. [4]


  1. ^ Utely, Francis Lee. "A Definition of Folklore," American Folklore, Voice of America Forum Lectures, ed. Tristram Coffin, III 1968, p14.
  2. ^ Eugenio, Damiana (2007). Philippine Folk Literature: An Anthology, 2nd, Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 498. ISBN 978-971-542-536-0.
  3. ^ Osborne, Milton (2004). Southeast Asia: An Introductory History, Ninth Edition, Australia: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-74114-448-5.
  4. ^ Eugenio, Damiana (2002). Philippine Folk Literature: The Legends. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 490. ISBN 971-542-357-4.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.