The Last requirement for our Finals in Philippine Literature. Mr. A Bawang was our instructor.

(Pines City Colleges BSN 2-9 , 2nd Semester of Academic Year 2004 – "05)

Literature. The body of oral and written works. Texts. Books. Prose. Poetry… These are the several things that concern this subject. Of course, this isn't an unfamiliar subject to us. We have been exposed to Literature ever since we were young. Reading. Writing. That's what we do. But is this really the essence of Literature?

The time I realized that I was going to take up Literature of the Philippines this semester, I was rather a bit curious about what would be in store for me…for the whole class…I never thought we would be in a roller coaster ride.

Phase 1: The Instructor

First day of classes…3:00 in the afternoon… chit-chatting with seatmates… looking at the class schedule… Philippine Literature was up next… I wondered about this subject's contents. And another thing… Who would be our instructor? Thinking, I stared at the half-open door, waiting for the inevitable… After a few minutes, he entered the room… "Wait a minute! I recognize him… pero saan ko na ba siya nakita?" After a moment of torturous recalling, I heard one of my seatmates whisper "Si Sir Bawang yan, di ba?". Then suddenly, gushing memories came forth… Oh, now I know…

Anyways, our Literature instructor, Mr. Garlicus, as he is fondly called, was somewhat intimidating at first glance. Why? I don't know… I guess this was just my first impression. But as days passed by, I realized that he was okay. One thing I noticed was that our instructor is very enthusiastic in teaching us. Never came a time that I felt sleepy or bored during Literature. His lively voice, his funny gestures and the witty use of words were the things I looked forward to every time he came in.

Phase 2: The Subject

At first, I expected that that the subject content and the teaching method was just a repetition of what has been taught to us during high school. But I was wrong. The different genres of literature, the different literary devices for either prose or poetry, and the ever famous figures of speech were the ones being taught to us just for introductions. After that, the journey into Philippine Literature started.

Phase 3. The Trip

After the important introductions, we proceeded to discuss the different eras of Philippine Literature. Our first stop was Ancient Literature. In this part of the subject content, I got to remember these works by our forefathers. The epics of Biag ni Lam-ang of the Ilocanos, the Hudhud of the Ifugaos, the story of Pilandok and Maria Makiling and the Legend of Mayon Volcano were the ones we talked about. We even got to present these stories by dramatization and interpretative dancing.

After the prelims, we then proceeded to Spanish Period of our literature. It gave me an idea about the different types of literary works during this era. What we learned during the introductory part of the subject was also applied in this part. But just as I expected, there was a requirement. We were asked to present an original Balagtasan piece. It was very difficult to write and perform such a piece but all of us succeeded in presenting it.

Next stop is the Period of Nationalism in which I recalled those Philippine History lessons. Then in this part I learned about the difference of patriotism and nationalism. And I thought they had the same meaning. The lyrics of "Lupang Hinirang" were also explained to us in a different way. The explanation was quite the opposite of what was written, the true situation of the country today. That approach served as an eye opener for me. The next stop is the Contemporary Period in which we discussed about the literature existing from the 1900s up to the present. We even discussed deconstruction, a concept that was new to me. I didn't know that this principle applied to Literature.

In the final weeks of the semester, I got to read different pieces of literature. These works are: "A Footnote to Youth", "How my Brother Leon Brought Home A Wife", "3 Generations", "A Letter to Pedro, US Citizen", "Liham ni Pinay", and "Wedding Dance". I never thought that these works had meanings and that they depict different aspects of life. I understood them quite well because it was well explained by our instructor. And we got to do an activity called the "The Theater of the Frog". And I never thought that we must do a stage play for our final requirement. I really had fun despite the worries and nervousness we experienced during the preparations for the play and during the play itself. It was truly self gratifying for me to have a chance to work with these wonderful classmates of mine. I believe that we all did our best.

Phase 4: "The End"?

Wow… Time flies by too fast. It seems like the moments we spent our time having fun and at the same time learning new things will come to a close. I'll never forget those times our class had to do something that very day, those activities that helped us in understanding the concepts more. I'll never forget the nervousness I felt when we performed the play or the balagtasan piece. I'll never forget those works that had given me new ideas and values. And I'll always remember those times when the instructor had these activities for us that squeezed the creative juice out of me.

After all the experiences and new knowledge imparted to me, I realized that Literature is not only about just reading the stories, the poems. It's understanding them deeply. And I thank Mr. Bawang for imparting this knowledge to me and the whole class, for making this journey bearable and a truly enjoyable one. And I really enjoyed working together with my classmates in presenting these activities. It was beyond doubt an accomplishment for us. And so, even if I finish the subject Philippine Literature, the things I learned, the memories and experiences will truly stay with me no matter what.

March 14, 2005