Also called luwa in Ilonggo, a tanaga is a pre-colonial Filipino short poem that traditionally contains philosophical ideas and views about the world, events, people, etc. It consists of four heptasyllabic lines and traditionally follows an AAAA rhyme scheme (that is, the lines should end with the same rhyme). There are several types of tanagas, such as historical, mythical, and moral.
In English, the term "tanagra" comes from the Greek τανάγρι, which means "poem". Thus, a tanagra is a poem that describes some event or person. The word was adopted by William Butler Yeats for one of his poems.
In literature, a tanaga is a poem written by Filipino poets that discusses various topics, such as history, mythology, morals, and philosophy. Although sometimes attributed to Juan de la Cruz, these poems were actually composed between 1511 and 1815 by different writers including Francisco Balagtas, Pedro Chirino, Manuel Buzato, Cristóbal de Mora, José Rizal, and Claro M. Recto.
The writings of these poets were often used as textbooks at the time because they could be understood by most Filipinos who did not study at universities. Thus, they helped spread knowledge about history, philosophy, and even science among common people.
Tanaga is an indigenous style of Filipino poem that is typically written in Tagalog. It is so named because it consists of sequential stanzas of three lines with a total of 14 syllables.
The term "tanaga" is also used to describe any poem in the form of these sequential stanzas. Although most tanagas are about love, they do not necessarily have to be romantic in tone. They can also be political, historical, or even religious in nature.
The classic Filipino poem is the lament for the dead loved one, usually a friend or relative. These poems are often composed within 24 hours of receiving news of the death. They use simple language and short sentences, and often include metaphors and similes to make their meaning clearer for the reader.
In modern times, several new forms of poetry have emerged in the Philippines. One of them is tanawisaya, which is similar to a tanaga but instead uses seven-syllable lines instead of three-syllable ones. Another is hula, which is a series of poems or songs based on traditional music patterns. Lastly, nangyayari tells usabout things that happen by chance ("luck").
Because of its popularity in the twentieth century, the contemporary tanaga is used in a number of Philippine languages as well as English. The literary art employs four lines, each with only seven syllables. A typical tanaga may be about 1500 words long.
The term "tanaga" comes from the word "tangak", which means "to cut". This refers to how the poet cuts up words into syllables to create a vivid picture in his/her mind before writing them down.
In the early years of Spanish colonization, poets wrote about real-life events and people they knew. As time passed by and the Philippines became independent from Spain, new genres of poetry began to appear. Poets started using made-up names for their characters, such as ang mga kapatid ("the brethren"), which is how the English word "brother" was derived from tanaga.
As the Philippines became more familiar to foreign tourists, poets started writing about places they had visited or things they had seen. These poems are called imitasyon ("imitations") because they imitate the language and style of the original poem (or book) they are copying from. For example, an imitation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet would be written by a Filipino poet today.
__NoTOC__ The Tanaga is a sort of Filipino poem with four lines of seven syllables each with the same rhyme at the end of each line—that is, a 7-7-7-7 syllabic verse with an AABB rhyme scheme, as in this example. "Catitibay ca tolos," in Tagalog, utilizing ancient orthography. The term tanaga comes from tagáhan, the Visayan word for "to cut." It was probably first used by the early writers to describe the metrical pattern of the poems they found in manuscripts or oral tradition. Although modern poets have taken up the challenge of writing good tanagas, the genre is still widely regarded as infeasible for modern poets because of the strict rules that govern their use.
Kumakalikalikan sa pagsisigap - Nagtataka't nakatulog - Nakita ko ang kanyang puso - Ang lahat ay may kinalaman kami
Ang kanyang puso ay sumisimbulo - Mayroong ding kamay na kinukuha - At siya'y nasa likod ng gubat - Sa kanya'y buhay ang kanyang dumaan