FOLKLORE• Folklore literally means “lore” or knowledge of the “folk” or people.• It referred chiefly to oral knowledge preserved among the illiterate masses elsewhere or the oral literature of all people whether they have written knowledge or not.
Classification of ethnic literature:1. Folk narrative – this includes myths, legends and folktales2. Folk speech3. Folk songs
Folk narratives• Myths – these are prose narratives explaining how the world came to be in their form. Myths are considered to be truthful accounts of what happened in the remote past. They are often associated with theology and rituals. The characters in myths are not usually human beings, but they often have human attributes.
Motifs in myths• Various motifs are employed in myths that explains the origin of plants and animals and their characteristics. One of them is the transformation motif. Former human beings are transformed into animals, usually the transformation as being a punishment for human misconduct.• Another motif in myth centers around the fate of faithful lovers.
• Legends are prose narrative accounts of an extraordinary happening believed to have actually occurred. It may tell of an encounter with marvelous creatures which the folks still believe in – fairies, ghosts, water spirits, the devil, and the like.
• Narrative accounts of the great deluge, a universal theme in world mythology, are also predominant in Philippine myths.• Legends are believed to be about more recent events and, like myths they may also deal with stories which explain the origin of things, places and their names, plants, animals and others. They are also used to teach lessons in life.
• Many supernatural beings are featured in legends, such as the aswang (witch), the engkanto (fairy), and the sirena (mermaid).• One popular form of legend is the typonymic, or that which explains the origin of names of places.• Religious legends narrate the miraculous revelations of God and the Christian faith.
Folktales• Folktales are prose narratives primarily told for amusement and individual entertainment and instructional value, dealing with events set in an indefinite time and space.• Folktales (kwentong-bayan) are classified into animal tales or fables, magic tales or (numskull tales and trickster tales) novelistic tales, religious and didactic tales.
• Fables or animal tales are short tales generally involving animals which convey a message or virtue. The usual form is the comparison between two animals to emphasize the moral.
Humorous tales• Numskull tales (or noodle-head tales) recount the funny, amusing, odd, occasionally heart-rending, clumsy acts of a ridiculous person. In these tales, the crowd is usually moved to sympathy or annoyance or both over the antihero’s misfortunes and follies, which bring disaster upon himself.
• A flat or static character in numskull tales presents the fool who takes things to the letter.• Sometimes a numskull may prove himself to be a smart or shrewd character, or a trickster.
• A trickster tale may narrate the foolishness of a central character who cheats or plays tricks on other people. The trickster may be a human or an animal. To come out victorious in every adventure, he may use sweet talk, subterfuge, substitution, or sleight-of-hand
• Juan Pusong of the Visayan, Pilandok of the Maranao, and Juan Tamad of the Tagalog are some of the well-known tricksters.• Oftentimes, the trickster hero is pictured as a clever character, but acts like a downright fool.
• Novelistic tales – Unlike magic tales or fairy tales, human wit and common sense, rather than magic powers make for the male or female hero.• Religious and didactic tales are called miracle tales. They are mainly told to illustrate the rewards of goodness and the punishment for evil.• A typical didactic tale centers on the theme of inescapable or predestined fate.
• Another didactic tale patterns draws the lesson of children’s love and respect for parents especially in their old age.
Folk epics• Folk epics or ethnoepics are long narrative accounts of heroic exploits or events of a hero under supernatural control. They are less humorous, loftier. Very often these ethnoepics were named after supernatural heroes, except for a few with traditional titles, like Darangen in Maranaw, Allim and Hudhud in Ifugao, Hinilawod in Sulod, Ibalon in Bicol, Ulalim in Kalinga.
• Other important epics are Indarapatra and Sulayman of Maguindanao, Tuwaang of the Manobo, Parang Sabil of the Tausug, Lam-ang of the Ilocos, and Baybayan of Bukidnon.• These stories are called “old time history” or stories of the first time because they embody or validate the beliefs of our ancestors, their customs, ideals, and ways of living.
• Epics are either sung or chanted during communal affairs such as harvests, funerals, weddings, by bards chosen for their wisdom or age.• In different epics, supernatural beings such as diwata (nature spirits), and anito (ancestral spirits) appear, and natural objects like water, trees, rocks, fire animals, and fruits, especially the betel nut acquire magical powers. They often aid the heroes in their exploits.
• Biag ni Lam-ang, the Ilocano epic is the oldest recorded Philippine folk epic and he only complete epic to come down to us from the Christian Filipino groups.
• Tuwaang, the Manuvu epic, consists of two songs: Tuwaang and the Maiden of the Buhong Sky and Tuwaang Attends a Wedding.• In the first song, Tuwaang saves a maiden from her gigantic, jilted suitor, the young man from Pangumanon. With his spittle or salive, Tuwaang revives the persons the giant killed. He brings the maiden to his homeland and there fights another enemy.
Folk speech• They are the shortest form of folk literature.• Folk speech includes proverbs, riddles, and short poems.
• Proverbs, also called salawikain, use metaphors drawn from the surrounding nature and every day life. They embody general truths or observations on human nature, rules of conduct or moral. Proverbs have didactic value.• Generally, in form, Philippine proverbs are brief prose statements. They appear as rhyming couplets from five to twelve syllables.
• Longer Tagalog proverbs employ the quatrain, and less frequently, the three-line and flve-line stanzas.• The proverbs of any people are expressive of their perspective of life.
Riddles (Bugtong)• Riddles are the most amusing form of folk speech. Riddles use one or more images as metaphor to refer to an object to be guessed. They enrich the imagination and sharpen the senses.• Riddles are generally poetic in form and come in one, two, three, or four lines.
• The use of nonsense words or phrases is another style used in Philippine riddles. In Tagalog riddles, these nonsense or obscure words have been invented for purposes of rhyme and meter and onomatopoeic effect.• The nonsense words appear as proper names, fictitious names of animals, also meet the need of rhyme.
• Sometimes, the riddle may be in the form of a direct question.• The themes of riddles are drawn form the surrounding flora and fauna, the human body, dwellings, tools and toys, clothing, food and food processing equipment, and many other known sources.
Short poems (folk poetry)• They are generally quatrains consisting of 5-12 syllables per line and which are used to be chanted. An example is the Tagalog bulong which is an invocation to environmental spirits or animals believed to possess magic powers.• Tanaga – it is a Tagalog folk poetry which is consisted of four lines, full of metaphors, and the consistent use of seven sylllables in every line.
• The Mangyan ambahan is a poem with seven syllables per line, with the end syllables following a rime scheme. It presents a human experience or a situation by means of a metaphor. It employs a language different from that which is ordinarily used in conversations.
• The Mangyan use the ambahan to communicate with others, using plants, animals, and nature symbols allegorically to convey their thoughts and emotions about all aspects of life. They carve or engrave ambahan on bamboo beams of a house, bolo sheats, violin, guitar and all handy items.
Folk songs• Folk songs are songs that have been handed down orally through generations. They embody the faith, joy, the varied hopes and odds of life; they reflect the various aspects of life and activities of the people. They are spontaneous outbursts of the lyric feeling from the soul of the people.
Classification of folk songs• Cycle songs• Work and activity songs• Ritual and religious songs• Songs about nature• Humorous songs
• Songs related to infancy are lullabies, also called oyayi by the Tagalog, songs sung to hush babies to sleep. Most lyrics of lullabies show the nature of family life.• Songs of childhood consists of happy life of the child, of fun and laughter, of games and other activities.
• Work and activity songs describe how people earn their livelihood – farming, fishing, tuba gathering, pottery making, and many other activities. They are sung during work or after a day’s work.• There are songs about family life which expresses the emotions that bind the family together.• The greatest number of folk songs are courtship and love songs.
• Many love songs express praises for the Filipina woman.• Some other folk songs are religious in character and moralistic in tone.
Source• Enriquez, Delia C. (2006). Philippine Literature A Regional Approach. Second Edition.