The early inhabitants of the Philippine archipelago used a local alphabet or syllabary known as baybayin among the Tagalogs, which was an inscription similar to Sanskrit. The baybayin was used to write literary forms such as melodies, riddles and proverbs, lyrics, short poems, and sections of epic poetry. In addition, it was used as a personal name. Today this script is still used by some Filipino poets who don't use Latin or English.
Early literary works include the stories told by the baybayin itself. For example, the first recorded poem in the Philippines is about kaluluwa, the god of rain. It was written in 1375 by Prince Rajah Matanda who ruled the kingdom of Laguna. The poem describes how Kaluluwa came down from the mountains to give life to the earth after a long period of drought.
Other important figures in the history of the Philippines' literature are Lakan Dula, a poet who lived in the 15th century; Maria de Luna, a writer who published the first book printed in the Philippines in 1648; and José Rizal, the national hero who wrote novels, essays, and poems.
Today, the Philippines has its own unique brand of poetry called ipokoloko which means "to cry or weep loudly". This style of writing uses formal rhyme and regular meter but can also be free verse if that's what the writer wants.
The early inhabitants of the Philippine archipelago used a local alphabet or syllabary known as baybayin among Tagalogs. The kumintang is a war song; most of these epics are named after songs or chants, such as the Ifugao hudhud, the Manobo olaging, or the Subanon's guman. Some of them are narrative poems that deal with historical events or myths.
They were also very interested in astronomy and mathematics. For example, the first recorded attempt at solving a problem in calculus was done by an Indian mathematician around 300 AD. Many other Indians followed his lead, but none better known than Ramanujan, who worked in India during the 20th century. His contributions to mathematics are many.
He invented his own notation for calculus, which is now used by all mathematicians. He proved many interesting theorems on series and infinite processes. And he wrote two books on arithmetic that are still read today. One book described how to calculate with whole numbers and the other explained how to do it with fractions.
Unfortunately, not much has been learned about Filipino culture before 1800 because there were no archaeologists or historians until then. But what little we know comes from what people have written or drawn about their ancestors.
For example, ifugan means "first poet" in Ilokano and manilong in Malay.
Baybayin is a pre-Spanish writing system used in the Philippines. It is a part of the Brahmic family and was in use in the 16th century. It was employed until the late nineteenth century during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. In Tagalog, the verb "baybay" literally means "to spell."
The baybayin script has 64 characters, which include 13 vowels and 41 consonants. It is an abugida with each syllable beginning with a consonant. Vowel signs are added before or after the consonant they represent depending on their position in the word. For example, there is a sign for 'i' because it comes before all other consonants so it can be used to indicate that a word begins with a vowel.
The written language used by the early Filipinos was derived from various sources including Arabic, Sanskrit, and Latin. These languages were commonly used by merchants and travelers at the time. The indigenous people of the Philippines had no control over these external influences and instead developed their own unique writing system called Hanumangbayan (the common heritage). This system is based on phonetic principles and includes letters derived from different sources such as alphabets, logographs, and syllabic scripts. Baybayin is one of the many syllabic scripts that have evolved into modern day Filipino alphabetical systems.
With Spanish colonialism came the Latin alphabet, as well as the fall and eventual extinction of baybayin. The earliest instructors on the islands were Spanish missionaries who taught converted Filipinos Catholicism, the Latin alphabet, and the Spanish language. These teachers bequeathed these cultures to their pupils, who then passed them on to their own children.
The first printed book in the Philippines was a Bible in Filipino called "Dios ng Bayan" (God of our nation) published in Madrid in 1615. It was written by an Italian Jesuit priest named Matteo Ricci, who traveled throughout Asia printing bibles and teaching Christianity. When he reached the Philippines, Ricci built several churches and schools and began to teach the natives reading and writing in the local tongue. He also introduced them to astronomy, mathematics, and science in general. The books he printed are now valuable treasures for historians of literature to study.
After the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain (1767), the Philippines remained under Spanish rule but adopted a constitutional monarchy. In 1814, Miguel de La Torre became president of the council of regency while his son Felipe was a child. When Felipe came of age, he ruled with help from his mother, who served as chief minister. In 1840, Queen Isabella II was forced out of Spain and into exile, leaving her husband Prince-Regent Fernando to rule alone.
Spanish Literary Influences in the Philippines European mythology and customs that were brought here were incorporated into our songs, corridos, and moro-moros. Antiquity was gathered and translated into Tagalog and other dialects. Many grammatical books in Tagalog, Ilocano, and Visayan were published. The first Filipino novel, La vida de Lazarillo de Tormes by Garcia de la Vega, was written in Spanish.
The arrival of Spanish explorers in the Philippines led to the introduction of new languages, such as English, French, and Portuguese. These foreigners also influenced Philippine literature through their writing. For example, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, a Spanish writer, is considered the father of modern novel writing because of his work Don Quixote. San Juan de Letrán founded by Saint John D'Alianza is the first university in the Philippines. It started operation in 1565 with only four students. Today, it remains one of the nation's leading universities.
Filipino writers have also had a significant impact on Spanish literature. José Rizal, known as the "Father of Modern Manila," was a prolific writer who published novels, poems, essays, and political tracts during the period of Spanish colonization. His works criticized the government for its treatment of the indigenous people and called for an end to slavery. He was sentenced to death for his ideas but managed to escape to France where he died in 1896.