HomeDLSU Dialogue: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Cultural Studiesvol. 19 no. 2 (1984)

The Beginnings of Philippine Literature: The Epic Tradition

Isagani R. Cruz

Discipline: Cultural Studies



Twenty-two thousand years ago, man came to the Philippines from mainland Asia through land bridges which had formed when the sea level fell during the Ice Age. The first Filipinos were soon followed by wave after wave of migration. Even when the sea level rose again fifteen thousand years later, the migrations did not cease. Coming by boat, Malays came to the islands, bringing with them not only culture in the sociological sense, but culture in the aesthetic sense. Soon, the islands were peopled by communities isolated from each other but advanced enough to trade with China, Cambodia, Thailand, and old Malaysia (Agoncillo. 1969). Long before the coming of Spanish imperialists in the sixteenth century, the Philippines was a thriving country, though not yet with a sense of nationhood.