Philippine Myths and Legends
How do you explain the creation of the world? Do you quote scientific explanations, or tell a story anchored on your religious beliefs, or do you have your own version? This course looks into the way pre-colonial Filipinos “explained” their “world” (mountains, rivers, seas, rain and storms, plants and animals), narrated their stories, and expressed their beliefs, feelings, and values.
We will be reading Philippine myths, legends, poetry and epics. This includes traditional narrative forms such as the alamat (legends) and the kuwentong-bayan (folktales) and poetic forms such as the ambahan, diona, and tanaga. Among the questions the course explores are: How can we understand the way of life and belief systems of the ethnolinguistic groups of the Philippines through their literatures? How do the dynamics between orality and literacy come into play in these Filipino literary texts? How have traditional forms been revitalized and transformed by writers to articulate contemporary concerns such as poverty, land reform, women’s issues, and human rights?