10 Tips to Easily Understand Philippine Literature

Literature basicacally refers to a written works like poetry, drama, and the like that possess artistic value. Its four literary forms are the essay, short story, drama, and poetry.
The Philippine Literature developed through oral tradition, that is, through narration (narrative and poetic). Legends, poems, epic, songs, riddles, and proverbs were passed from generation to generation through a form of incantations in the various dialects or mother tongues and also through oral recitations by ancient Filipinos.
The following are 10 tips to easily understand Philippine Literature that can serve as your guide in reading any forms of literary writings:

1. You should know the cultures of the Filipino people.

2. You must know the origin or the history of the country itself.

3. You must observe the existing religion or beliefs of the ethnic groups or the indigenous groups in the country.

4. You must be familiar with the settings of the stories. You may use road map or political map of the Philippines. You may also try to use Google map to at least know where a particular region is.

5. You should know the various languages, especially the ‘lingua franca’ of the country. You may consult English-Tagalog dictionary so that you may understand better the terminologies that are found in literary works.

6. As a reader, you need to practice how to read between the lines. Reading without understanding is non-sense and futile.

7. You must possess proper etiquette in reading and interpreting literary works. Do not, for instance, give malice to any writing for it will be unfair to the author. Try your best to be ‘faithful’ to the content in interpreting anybody’s work.

8. You must know some background about the author and his biography. (You must know, for example, that Francisco Balagtas is considered, “The Shakespeare of The Philippines, Prince of Tagalog Poets”).

9. You must be a keen observer of the social or political issues happening in the country for this will improve horizon as a reader. This will help you appreciate more various writings, especially the non-fictions.

10. Develop and use your critical thinking in reading literatures. Analyze, interpret properly, and apply to your daily living the lessons and morals taught in the literatures. 

I believe that in following the above-mentioned tips, one will gain knowledge, broaden self-understanding, and sharpen his or her perceptions when reading literatures. Many Philippine literatures are entertaining. This thus corroborates the tourism slogan that, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.”

Rosemarie de Belen Collantes, the contributor, is a Philippine and Asian History teacher in Nagpayong High School, Pasig City, Philippines. She believes that “the purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness.” (Facebook account: rosemarie_collantes@yahoo.com)

Why is Philippine Literature an important subject? Defend your answer. 

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Tags: 10 Tips to Easily Understand Philippine Literature, Philippine Studies, History, Sociology, Social Sciences, Language Studies, English

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