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Volume 2, Number 44 December 8 - 14, 2002 Quezon City, Philippines
Pick ‘10 Most Nationalist Poems’
National Hero, Andres Bonifacio, whose birth anniversary was marked Nov. 30, is the literary critics’ choice for nationalist poet. Bonifacio was a worker and was never known among many Filipinos as a poet. He led the armed revolution against Spanish colonialism in 1898 – Asia’s first.
“Ten Most Nationalist Poems” in the Philippines, all written at the height
of struggles for national freedom, have been selected by some of the country’s
prominent literary critics.
Gising Kabataan!, a network of patriotic and freedom-loving youth formed
recently, collected the choices of Bienvenido Lumbera, Elmer Ordonez, Roland
Tolentino and Bonifacio Ilagan.
sa Tinubuang Lupa by Andres
Bonifacio was hailed as the best of these poems. Bonifacio was the founder of
Katipunan and the leader of the revolution of 1896 against Spanish colonialism.
Hernandez’s Kung Tuyo na Ang Luha Mo, Aking
Bayan, one of the poems
often read during anti-imperialist rallies, was another unanimous pick.
Hernandez was a poet and labor organizer. He served as an intelligence officer
of the Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon (Hukbalahap), an armed group against
Japanese invasion during World War II. During
the US’s direct colonial rule, Hernandez was detained for rebellion. His Isang
Dipang Langit, which was written in prison, also made it to the list.
classic poem written in 1896, Mi Ultimo Adios by Jose Rizal, was an
inevitable choice. The original
poem has been translated to Filipino and foreign languages by various poets.
Corazon de Jesus’s Ang Bayan Ko is a popular song in almost every
struggle, from the anti-U.S. protests of the 1920s and ‘30s, to the resistance
movement against the Japanese invasion in the ‘40s, the First Quarter Storm of
the ‘70s and the 1986 People Power. De Jesus, also known as Huseng Batute, is
popular for his traditional forms of poetry.
Teodoro Agoncillo was included in the list.
Agoncillo, a foremost Filipino historian, wrote books on Philippine
history from the point of view of the Filipinos. Some of his famous works are The
Revolt of the Masses; The Story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan; Malolos,
The Crisis of the Republic; Philippine History; and the History of
the Filipino People.
Loob at Labas ng Bayan Kong Sawi
is part of Francisco
Baltazar’s masterpiece Florante at Laura.
It depicts the sufferings of the Filipino people during the Spanish
Maria Sison’s A Guerilla Is Like a Poet was also selected.
He wrote the poem in 1968. Sison
is the founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines and one of
the founders of Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth).
During the martial law years, he was arrested, tortured and held in
solitary confinement for almost 10 years.
author of America Is in the Heart, worked in the sugar plantations of
America in the ‘50s.
was former editor of The Guidon, the student publication of the Ateneo de
Manila University. He wrote the
three parts of the poem in 1975 and 1976 from the hills of Mindanao.
He died an NPA fighter.
critics who made the selection are some of Philippine literature’s most
respected. Lumbera is a poet, teacher and critic. A recipient of the Ramon
Magsaysay Award for Literature and professor emeritus of the University of the
Philippines, he now teaches at De La Salle University.
has edited many anthologies of Philippine literature. He used to teach also at the University of the Philippines.
is a well-known fiction writer. On leave from the University of the Philippines,
he is a visiting
professor at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies in Osaka University,
Ilagan is a writer and director. A member of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines, he has written articles on Philippine alternative cinema. Bulatlat.com