HomeIDEYA: Journal of Humanitiesvol. 2 no. 1 (2000)

Root and Tongue: Philippine Writing in the New Millennium

Merlie M. Alunan

Discipline: Literature



In discussing the trends and gaps in Philippine Writing, I find it necessary first to point out where I am coming from. Born in the '40s, I grew up in a period when there seemed no other language worthy for the uses of expression except English. A teacher's curriculum which privileged English and American literature shaped my views on literature. It was when I was teaching children's literature in the mid-'60s that I began questioning the literary materials I was passing on to future teachers of Children's Literature. All, if not most of them, were of European provenance - Mother Goose rhymes, Grimm's Fairy· Tales and Andersen's Book of Children's stories. These were the same kinder pieces I broke my own teeth on in literature. When I was five years old and barely able to read, my father bought me a paperback collection of Mother Goose Rhymes. That, if history were to play any bearing, was just a mere four years after Philippine Independence, the country had been receiving lots of surplus books from the United States, and we might conclude that the American publishing industry had made a beachhead on the public consciousness.