Saturday, August 15, 2009

II. The Middle Period - 1930-1960

In Baguio, in 1958, an important national writers conference was held to discuss the role of the Filipino writer in society. Also in 1958, a chapter of International Pen was inaugurated in the Philippines with Alfredo T. Morales as its first president.

During the years 1930 to 1960 Philippine literature in English rapidly improved, especially in the areas of the essay, the short story, and poetry.
Essays: During the middle period of the Philippine literature in English, the essayists tried to capture Filipino life and culture. In the 1930s Salvador P. Lopez led the school of writers who stressed social consciousness. Others, following the view of Jose Garcia Villa wrote on art and literature. In 1940, Salvador P. Lopez expressed his views Literature and Society.

Under the pseudonym "Mang Kiko," Francisco B. Icasiano wrote, in 1941, Horizons from My Nipa Hut. This book included humorous essays which revealed a deep sympathy for the common tao. During the war years the essays improved in literary style but their content was severely limited by the Japanese censors. After 1945 the essayists again turned to themes of nationalism, politics, and literary criticism. For the next ten years or so these themes were treated with an ever growing proficiency. Among the important essayists of the Middle Period might be included: F. M. Africa, Francisco Arcellana, Solomon V. Arnaldo, Jorge Bocobo, Marcelo de Gracia Concepcion, Pura Santillan-Castrence, E. Aguilar Cruz, A. T. Daguio, Amando G. Dayrit, Eugenio Ealdama, Antonio Estrada, Ariston Estrada, Josefa Gonzalez-Estrada, Antonio S. Gabila, Alfredo Q. Gonzalez, Leon Ma. Guerrero, Jr. , J. M. Hernandez, V. M. Hilario, F. B. Icasinao, Maria Kalaw-Katigbak, J. A. Lansang, Jose P. Laurel, A. E. Litiatco, T. M. Locsin, Salvador P. Lopez, Maria Luna-Lopez, A. J. Malay, I. V. Mallari, Federico Mangahas, Ignacio Manlapaz, Camilo Osias, Vicente Albano Pacis, Carlos Quirino, Godofredo Rivera, Eulogio B. Rodriguez, Carlos P. Romulo, A. B. Rotor, Leon O. Ty, Jose Garcia Villa, Manuel A. Viray, and Leopoldo Y. Yabes.

Short Stories: The form of Philippine literature which showed the most rapid development seemed to be the short story. The early didactic stories and romantic tales quickly gave way to stories about farm life and city life, the problems of society, and human hardships. Local color was well used. Jose Garcia Villa was among the first Filipino writers to receive international recognition. In 1932 Villa's "Untitled Story" was selected by Edward J. O'Brien in New York for inclusion in the Best Short Stories of 1932. In 1933, Scribner's published Villa's Footnote to Youth and Other Tales. "The Fence," also by Villa, was included in O'Brien's Best Short Stories of 1933.

After Villa came several significant writers. Manuel E. Arguilla wrote excellent stories about the people of Nagrebcan in How My Brother Leon Brought a Wife and Other Stories. Delfin Fresnosa vividly depicted the hardships of the poor. In his short stories Nick Joaquin included allegories of cultural and moral situations in Philippine history. He frequently recreated the past to show its relevance and value for the present. Joaquin's book Prose and Poems (1952) was voted by a panel of critics led by Leonard Casper as the most distinguished book in fifty years of Philippine Literature in English.

In the 1950s another important writer was Nestor Vidali Mendoza Gonzalez. In Children of the Ash-Covered Loam and Other Stories (1954) and A Season of Grace (1956), Gonzalez dealt with such basic themes as loneliness, self-discovery, and hope amidst suffering.

The quality and depth of short story writing developed rapidly during the Middle Period. Among the writers who contributed to this growth are: T. D. Agcaoili, Manuel F. Arguilla, Estrella D. Alfon, Francisco Arcellana, Amante E. Bigornia, Consorcio Borje, Carlos Bulosan, Casiano T. Calalang, Fidel de Castro, Augusto C. Catanjal, Mario P. Chanco, Amador T. Daguio, Amando G. Dayrit, Morli Dharam, Delfin Fresnosa, Ligaya Victorio-Fruto, Antonio S. Gabila, Claro C. Gloria, N. V. M. Gonzalez, Sinai C. Hamada, Jose M. Hernandez, Francisco B. Icasiano, Nick Joaquin, F. Sonil Jose, Jose A. Lansang, Paz Latorena, A. E. Litiatco, Alvaro L. Martinez, A. G. Ner, Jose Villa Panganiban, Benjamin M. Pascual, Mariano C. Pascual, C. V. Pedroche, Isidro L. Retizos, Narciso G. Reyes, Vicente Rivera, Jr., Alejandro R. Roces, Arturo B. Rotor, Clemente M. Roxas, Bienvenido N. Santos, G. D. Sicam, Loreto Paras-Sulit, Silvestre L. Tagarao, Edilberto K. Tiempo, Edith L. Tiempo, Arturo M. Tolentino, J. Capiendo Tuvera, Kerima Polotan Tuvera, Nita H. Umali, Jose Garcia Villa, and Manuel Viray.

Poems: The poetry of the Middle Period developed slowly. In the 1930s most poetry was still romantic in character. Under the influence of Salvador P. Lopez, some poets like R. Zulueta da Costa became more conscious of their environment and dealt with themes of injustice and oppression. Jose Garcia Villa continued to lead the way for all poets with his creative innovations. In the late 1930s Angela Manalang Gloria emerged as a promising poet. She published her works in Poems just before World War II.

From 1942 to 1945, few poems were written because of the war conditions and censorship. However, a few poets living in the mountains managed to write verses. These poems were later published in 1946 by Juan L. Raso in Guerilla Flower.

The experiences of war seemed to add wider vision and greater depth to Filipino poetry in English. Several new poets published their works. In 1951 Jose Del Castillo's Antiphonal Earth: Coins of Song was published in London. Dominidor I. Ilio published in 1955. Ricaredo Demetillo published Diplomat and Other PoemsNo Certain Weather in 1956 and La Via in 1959. Among the poets who contributed to the Middle Period of Philippine Literature in English are: T. D. Agcaoili, Aurelio Alvero, Carlos A. Angeles, R. Vinzons Asis, Jorge Bocobo, G. Burce Bunao, Reuben R. Canoy, Guillermo Castillo, Jose del Castillo, Fidel de Castro, Rafael Zulueta da Costa, Amador T. Daguio, Luis Dato, Ricaredo Demetillo, Ramon Echevarria, Gregorio Estonanto, Cornelio C. Faigao, Rodrigo T. Feria, Virgilio Floresca, Vicente L. del Fiero, Angela Manalang-Gloria, N. V. M. Gonzalez, J. M. Hernandez, Alejandrino G. Hufana, Dominador I. Ilio, Nick Joaquin, A. E. Litiatco, Toribia Mano, Felizardo Martelino, Hernando R. Ocampo, Conrado V. Pedroche, Maximo D. Ramos, N. G. Reyes, Conrado B. Rigor, Alfonso P. Santos, Bienvenido N. Santos, Guillermo V. Sison, Abelardo Subido, Trinidad L. Tarrosa, Edith L. Tiempo, Francisco G. Tonogbanua, Amado L. Unite, Celestino M. Vega, H. C. Veloso, Jose Garcia Villa, Manuel L Viray, Amado Yuson, and Oscar de Zuniga.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Defying Limits Through Passion

(An interview with Dr. Lourdes S. Anonas)

It was an apparent glistening of the eyes as the daughter spoke about a man close to her heart. The words came out as excited as possible, as vivid as her story's content. That encounter with Dr. Lourdes S. Anonas, Executive Vice President of the University of Nueva Caceres, introduced us to the life of a prominent writer, a loyal family man, a deserving person - Bienvenido Nuqui Santos, her father.

The life of this man entailed responsibility and discipline at the same time. A poor boy should reach out more to achieve his dreams, and that is what this man had done in his life, except that he chose the path where he could apply his passion and God-given gift.

Nobody should be hindered by poverty in learning. Nobody should practice procrastination when it comes to making dreams come true. Bienvenido "Bening" Santos' childhood proved that even a 4th grader could make a way to ensure his future through knowledge he gained from indulging himself to reading in a public library. These efforts were witnessed by his teacher who herself was impressed by the unfathomable eagerness of her student to learn despite poverty which deprived him from purchasing books.

Growing up in the Sulucan slums in Antonio Rivera, Tondo, Manila, he found how meaningful life could be. The people became his inspiration in writing short stories. In this time, he entered his profound place in the world of writing. Reading...reading...reading... That is the secret of this great man. All you have to do is read when you have time. Transform ideas into words and attach them to papers through your pen. After writing, you may set it aside. However, according to the principle he lived for, real writing is rewriting. For when you rewrite, you improve what you've written. What you have set aside should be reopened and nourished for enhancement, if not for perfection.

Armored with skill, passion and determination, Bienvenido, a college student then, continued what he had started. Philippine Collegian opened its doors to him. The community of the University of the Philippines witnessed how his skill flourished through his writings in the school publication. There he met the apple of his eye, whom had kept all his letters and had cut out clips from their school's publication (a very touching act, isn't it?). Probably, caused by a little spell of the heavens, Bienvenido N. Santos married Beatriz Nidea which resulted to initials BNS both of them shared for the rest of their lives. The unity gave birth to four lovely children of three girls and a boy.

Sent by the Philippines to the United States of America as a pensionado, he had to leave his family behind. World War II broke out and he found himself an exile. Lourdes was still a little child that time thus admitted that she was closer to her mother whom she had most of her childhood with. During the time of war, Bienvenido was not hindered to continue writing. Provided with hope in his heart and love for his family back in the Philippines, he would write letters and birthday cards especially made for his children yearning for their father's return. It was only after the war when those letters were given to them. Then those were kept and preserved by his wife.

Much of his life story has been written in his autobiography Memory's Fiction.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dead Star Poster

This is our version of the Dead Star movie poster starring the three main characters, Alfredo, Esperanza and Julia (image from left to right).

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cantorne, Arlene M.

I 'm not into reading short stories which are actually lengthy. So when we are asked in our literature class to read "Dead Stars" by Paz Marquez Benitez, it takes few days for me to finish reading it. On the first part, it is very confusing. I have to read it for several times. Whew! At last i'd get it. For me, the story is just ordinary and simple. It is easy for anybody to come up with that kind of story. I didn't consider it as one of the best short stories that I read. However, I noted some lines there that stocked up in my mind. It motivates me to continue reading. In the story, what was Alfredo did is really the right thing to do because love goes through the test of time. His feelings for Julia is just a mere infatuation for me because of the long time engagement of his with Esperanza. Well, I don’t have any other comment about the story.

...My Reaction on DEAD STARS...

We are required to read the Paz Marquez Benitez story entitled DEAD STARS. It was her best short story, as they have said. At first, I was so bored to read it, but later on, I found myself having some sort of pleasure. I realized that the story was quite interesting that most of us were able to relate. It was a love story. It was all about Esperanza, Alfredo and Julia who became the victim of love, Esperanza who was engaged for three years with Alfredo, Alfredo who didn’t expect that in some point of his life, he will meet Julia and Julia who enjoyed the company of Alfredo. Their situation can be likened to a teenage story, a love triangle story, where the guy was somewhat committed with the girl, then this guy unexpectedly met another girl, getting to know each other, having mixed signals, having unsaid emotions, having sweet conversations as if they were committed and so on and so forth that both of them will sooner realize that they were both in love with each other. There was something they wanted to do but they don’t have to do, because the guy had something to do. After I read the story, I come to realize that even though you are committed for so many years and you thought that he was the perfect one, there will be a time that fate will play with you. He could change his mind maybe next year, next month, next week or even the next day, we can never tell when. I also realized that though you have a very nice conversation and though there was a spark or magic between the two of you, you don’t have to expect or assume something. I think, you need to have a very wise decision when it comes to love.=)

...[Nica Angela H. Atuan]...

Reaction to DEAD STARS by Paz Benitez

Kristine Jane Barcela

I do like the story intitled DEAD STARS by Paz Marquez Benitez because I really like to read love stories. In this story Julia Salas or having her in the relationship of Alfredo Salazar and Esperanza serves as a challenge. She was used by the author as the instrument in order for the story to be interesting. Even in real life this situations happens, everybody meets a challenge, challenge that shows how strong we are after realizing it in the end and which also developed our self-esteem. We are given a challenge to test how far we are, how ready we are in facing it, and strong we are to recover it.


Kristine Jane Barcela

insipid - not qualified to interest
sheer - deviate
deluded - to mislead the mind
spurt - a strong brief added effort
recalcitrant - actively
betoken - indicate
derided - laugh at
austere - simple and without decoration
desultory - aimless
indulge - to yield to
strayed - an area, group
sauntered - a slow aimless manner of walking
piquant - interesting

Friday, July 3, 2009

Personal Reaction on "DEAD STARS" by Joanne D. Organis

I agree that Dead Stars is a classic story of love and sacrifice. Well, I admit that I'm no fan of Filipino writers, first because I find their story very ordinary and very common at the same time and, there's nothing really significant about their works. It was always in my impression that foreign writers are much better than Filipino writers. Maybe not, I guess because after reading the story, I'm impressed on how well the writer wrote it because some writers just write stories without knowing how will the story go. She focused on the important details and gave life to the characters involved. The important thing that the writer had done was to be able to convey the idea in such a way that the readers will understand it. Although there are vocabulary words that seem unfamiliar, I still managed to understand the gist of the story and that should have been the purpose of it; to fully understand the story. The story is basically a compilation of the complicated circumstances that every man has to go through in life. I found out that life is full of inequities, although possibly not intentionally, it is forced upon everyone by themselves. The will of the mind is stronger than the invisible judge that is society, therefore if one should wish to be different then it is important that they push through with the change. It is important to free one's self, and claim individuality. Hence, I believe, that this story is a remonstration against the present system that we abide by. It is a clear objection to the dehumanization that most members of society suffer from.


Curry - to use flattery
- to draw up as a sign of about
- restless/serenity
- to mark with; any of numerous usually cloudy and rounded spots or patches of a color or shade different from their background
- passionate/ardent
- uninteresting; dull
- restless; disorderly
Haste - urgency
Delude - mislead
t - echoing
- margin
- actively disobedient
- stubborn; unpredictable
- a burst of activity
- joyously unrestrained and enthusiastic
Derided - imitated; to laugh at contemptuously; to subject to usually bitter or contemptuous ridicule

Immutable - not capable of or susceptible to change
Filigree - ornamental openwork of delicate or intricate design
Lugubrious - exaggeratedly or affectedly mournful
Capitulation -
a set of terms or articles constituting an agreement between governments; the act of surrendering or yielding
Prosaicalness -
dull; uninteresting; commonplace; prosy; as, a prosaic person
Exasperation - the act or an instance of exasperating; the state of being exasperated; frustrated annoyance
Ebbing - a period of decline or diminution; to fall away or back; decline or recede
Desultory - lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful; digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random
Fastidious - scornful; having high and often capricious standards : difficult to please
Prying -
insistently or impertinently curious or inquisitive; eager to investigate and learn or learn more
Poignantly - in a poignant or touching manner; profoundly moving; keenly distressing to the mind or feelings
Lurking - to lie in wait, as in ambush; to exist unobserved or unsuspected; to move furtively; sneak
Errant - roving, especially in search of adventure; straying from the proper course or standards
Averred - to affirm positively; declare
Covert - not openly practiced, avowed, engaged in, accumulated, or shown
Elusive - tending to elude capture, perception, comprehension, or memory; difficult to define or describe

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Personal reaction (Dead star)-frenzy azcarraga

-Frenzy Marie L. Azcarraga-

We are
assigned by our Phil. Lit. 1 professor to read the short story written by the pride of Filipino authors, Paz-Marquez Benitez's--the "Dead Star". It is a beautiful and a typical love story which is about the confusions on the relationship between the three characters--Alfredo, Esperanza and Julia.I found out that even you are engaged to your husband/wife-to-be for a long period,there are times that you must have to face some conflicts/ circumstances in your lives, as what happened to Alfredo,Esperanza. After I read the whole article, I realize that it is not easy to fall in love between two person, 'coz it is not easy also to choose and sacrifice between them.It is difficult also to be inlove to a person who you don't know the background of his/her life :).What I learned is that, when the time comes, you have to be careful to enter in this world of "love"