Is Filipino Literature Dying?

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Back in the old days, Filipino literature is in a boom. Children read a lot of books about the Ibong Adarna, the different mythical creatures of the Philippine mythology such as the tikbalang, tiktik, and aswang. And a lot of Filipino children and Filipino youth enjoy the tales of Lola Basyang.

But perhaps due to the entry of different foreign titles like the Harry Potter series and Lord of the Rings, Filipino stories are gradually being forgotten. They are now but grudgingly being read at school where the students sometimes even complain why they even have to read them.

But these literary works are at the heart of the Filipino culture. The literary works of Inigo Ed Regalado, Lualhati Bautista, Jose Rizal, among others immortalize Filipino culture in different eras in ink. The tales of Lola Basyang are a source of education about the mores in Filipino society and how young Filipinos are expected to act and behave, as Filipinos.

I have no objection to the inevitable entry of globalization in our country and in fact I am myself a big fan of Harry Potter (since it really is a wonderful story). Globalization lets in excellent goods and culture from different parts of the world. It also teaches us to adapt to the cultures of different peoples so as to avoid too much culture shock. But the Philippines should, in my humble opinion, not just keep on taking from the outside world. It should also export some of its culture to other peoples, not just fellow Filipinos. The Philippines definitely has something to offer to the world. We have produced world-class performers (Lea Salonga), world-class athletes (Manny Paquiao), and world-class songs (Anak by Freddie Aguilar).

This is why it is inconceivable just how colonial mentality still sticks to our heads like a bubblegum in the hair. Filipinos win a lot of awards in different fields. That shows the world–including the Filipinos–that we can do it.

As to our literature and also our mythology, we should keep telling the tales that our ancestors used to tell our forefathers when they were young. By doing so, we will preserve the knowledge of how they think back in those days and by doing so, we will understand more clearly their frames of mind.

Translating the tales in English may also help Filipinos born oversees who would like to look back to the culture of their ancestors.

Here are some Filipino myth articles:

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