Cebuano literature refers to the literary works written in Cebuano, a language widely spoken in the southern Philippines. The term is most often extended to cover the oral literary forms in both indigenous and colonial Philippines. While the majority of Cebuano writers are from the Visayas and Mindanao region, the most recognized Filipino literary outlet for them, including the Bisaya Magasin, is based in Makati city in Manila, while there is also a lively Cebuano community of writers in the language which is based outside the country.
The term Cebuano literature, therefore, encompasses not only those Visayas and Mindanao-based writers writing in Cebuano, but all written output in Cebuano, wherever its source. History Cebuano literature, as much as most literature of the Philippines, started with fables and legends of the early people in the Philippines and colonial period, right down to the Mexican (Viceroyalty of New Spain) and Spanish influences. Although existence of a pre-hispanic writing system in Luzon is attested, there is proof that baybayin was widespread in the Visayas. Most of the literature produced during that period was oral.
They were documented by the Spanish Jesuit Fr. Ignatio Francisco Alzinal. During the Spanish colonial period, the religious theme was predominant. Novenas and gozos, most notably the Bato Balani for the Santo Nino. The first written Cebuano literature is Maming, by Vicente Sotto, The Father of Cebuano Literature. The story was published in the first issue (July 16, 1900) of his Ang Suga. Two years later Sotto wrote, directed, and produced the first Cebuano play, Elena. It was first performed at the Teatro Junquera (in what is now Cebu City) on May 18, 1902.
The play established Sotto’s reputation as a writer. The dedication of the play by the playwright reads, “To My Motherland, that you may have remembrance of the glorious Revolution that redeemed you from enslavement. I dedicate this humble play to you. ” Vicente Sotto attacked the decadent forms of linambay in his newspaper Ang Suga. He was challenged by a friend to write his own play as he was always attacking the linambay form. Sotto wrote the Cebuano “Ang Paghigugma sa Yutang Nataohan” (Love of the Native Land) as a response.
The play was successful; Sotto organized the Compania de Aficionados Filipinos. Within the year, two more plays were written by Sotto: “Elena”, which deals of a girl’s love for an insurrecto; and “Aurora”, which deals with a scandal involving the priests and nuns of the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion. Realism in Cebuano theater was stretched too much however; even Sotto himself was a victim of the movement he started, when prior to his running for mayor in 1907, a play entitled “Ang Taban” (1906, by Teodulfo V.
Ylaya) was released. The play dealt with a kidnap allegation involving Sotto. During the American period, Ang Suga became the medium for publication of Cebuano writers. A community of writers slowly grow, to include the names of Florentino Rallos, Filomeno Veloso, Marcial Velez, Timoteo Castro, Segundo Cinco, Vicente Ranudo, Dionisio Jakosalem, Selestino Rodriguez, Filomeno Roble, Juan Villagonzalo, Leoncio Avila and Filemon Sotto. Most of these people were recognized for their achievements by the generation right after them, as evidenced by the use of their names for major streets in Cebu City, but their role in the furtherance of Cebuano culture is lost to subsequent generations. ) Juan Villagonzalo was the first to write a Cebuano novel. Four typical novels on the love theme written by popular writers during the American period would represent the pre-war writers’ subconscious but collective efforts in creating a common core of meanings and values in the face of new American culture.
These are Felicitas by Uldarico Alviola in 1912, Mahinuklugong Paglubong Kang Alicia (“The Sad Burial of Alicia”) by Vicente Garces in 1924, Apdo sa Kagul-anan (“Bitterness of Sorrow”) by Angel Enemecio in 1928-29, and Ang Tinagoan (“The Secret”) by Vicente Rama in 1933-34. While Felicitas and Paglubong assert the value of marital fidelity and Apdo that of feminine chastity, Tinagoan challenges the emergent value that tolerates divorce.
Such novels were seen as fictionalized renditions of their writers’ stand or traditions and practices which were subjected to debate in the school stage and within the pages of periodicals. The pre-war period in the Philippines is sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of Vernacular Literature, with the 1930s marking a boundary between two kinds of popular writing: the predominantly propagandistic and the more commercialized escapist literature that proliferated since the Commonwealth period. In the year 1930, Bisaya Magasin started publishing in Cebuano.
In 1936 Cebuano writers started publishing anthologies; readers engaged in amateur literary criticism; and complaints of plagiarism livened up the weekly news. Periodicals that featured creative writing mushroomed, although most of these were short-lived. The generally considered first feminist Cebuano novel, Lourdes by Gardeopatra G. Quijano was serialized in the period May 26 to September 23, 1939 in Bag-ong Kusog (literary “New Force”), the most popular pre-war periodical. It has been predicted by no less than the late novelist and Philippine National Artist for Literature N.
V. M. Gonzalez that Philippine literature in English will die, leaving the regional literature (Ilokano, Waray, etc. ). In the case of Cebuano literature, this has been the case. Some of the prominent writers and poets in the Visayas and Mindanao who used to write in English have shifted to Cebuano. Among them are Davao-based Macario Tiu, Don Pag-usara, and Satur Apoyon, and Cebu-based Ernesto Lariosa (a Focus Philippines Poetry Awardee in 1975) and Rene Amper (a two-time Palanca awardee for English poetry.
These giants of Cebuano literature are now regularly contributing to Bisaya Magasin; their shift to Cebuano writing has influenced young Cebu and Mindanao-based writers in English to follow suit (among them are Michael Obenieta, Gerard Pareja, Adonis Durado, Januar Yap, Jeneen Garcia, Marvi Gil, Delora Sales, Cora Almerino and Raul Moldez). In 1991, Cebuano poet Ernesto Lariosa received a grant from the Cultural Center of the Philippines. He used the grant to introduce the 4-s in Cebuano poetry: social sense, sound and story. The language he used was slack, devoid of strong metaphors.
He used the language of the home and of the streets. Writer-scholar Dr. Erlinda Alburo, director of the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos noted in a forum sponsored by the university’s theater guild in 2003 that the young writers (those given above) have given a new voice to Cebuano fiction. They have introduced modern writing styles, experimented with the Cebuano language and explored themes which have never been elaborated before by their predecessors. There are now emerging number of publications featuring fiction and poetry in Cebuano.
The ownership of the de-facto literary journal, Bisaya Magasin, was transferred from the Chinese-owned Liwayway Publishing, Inc. to Napoleon Rama’s Manila Bulletin Publishing in 2003, ushering a change in layout, acceptance policies and an increase in contributors’ fees. Aside from the reinvigoration of Bisaya Magasin, Cebu-based publishing houses have also started tabloids in the language (Banat News of Freeman Publications and SunStar SuperBalita of SunStar Publications). These tabloids have bigger circulation than their English counterparts. The U. P.
National Writers Workshop every October and the Iligan National Writers Workshop every summer have reserved slots for Cebuano writers. In every edition of these workshops, there are Cebuano works that are being dissected or discussed by the panelists. In 1998, the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature opened the Cebuano literature category. The Visayas is one of the three principal geographical divisions of the Philippines, along with Mindanao and Luzon. It consists of several islands, primarily surrounding the Visayan Sea. Its population are referred to as the Visayans.
The major islands of the Visayas are Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, and Samar.  The region may also include the islands of Romblon and Masbate, whose population identify as Visayan. History The early people in the Visayas region were Austronesians and Negritos who migrated to the islands about 6,000 to 30,000 years ago. These early settlers were animist tribal groups. In the 12th century, settlers from the collapsing empires of Srivijaya, Majapahit and Brunei, led by the chieftain Datu Puti and his tribes, settled in the island of Panay and its surrounding islands.
By the 14th century, Arab traders and their followers, venturing into the Malay Archipelago, converted some of these tribal groups into Muslims. These tribes practiced a mixture of Islam and Animism beliefs. There is also some evidence of trade among other Asian people. The Visayans were thought to have kept close diplomatic relations with Malaysia and Indonesian kingdoms since the tribal groups of Cebu were able to converse with Enrique of Malacca using the Malay language when the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in 1521.
After the Magellan expedition, King Philip II of Spain sent Ruy Lopez de Villalobos and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1543 and 1565 and claimed the islands for Spain. The Visayas region and many tribes began converting to Christianity and adopting western culture. By the 18th and 19th centuries, the effects of colonization on various ethnic groups soon turned sour and revolutions such as those of Francisco Dagohoy began to emerge. During the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine–American War between 1896 to 1913, the island of Negros and other neighboring islands initiated their revolution.
After gaining Philippine independence from colonial rule following World War II in 1946, the Visayas region established its community and re-formed its government, producing several notable presidents coming from the Visayas region. In 2005, Palawan Island was transferred to Region VI (Western Visayas) by Executive Order 429.  However this planned reorganization was held in abeyance.  Hence, Palawan currently remains (as of May 2007) part of Region IV-B. Culture Legends
Historical documents written in 1907 by Visayan historian Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro in his book Maragtas tell the story of the ten chiefs (Datus) who escaped from the tyranny of Datu Makatunaw from Borneo and came to the islands of Panay. The chiefs and followers were said to be the ancestors of the Visayan people. The documents were accepted by Filipino historians and found their way into the history of the Philippines. As a result, the arrival of Bornean tribal groups in the Visayas is celebrated in the festivals of the Ati-Atihan in Kalibo, Aklan and Binirayan in San Jose, Antique.
Foreign historians such as William Scott conclusively proved the book to be a Visayan folk tradition.  Panay boasts of the Hinilawod as its oldest and longest epic. Hypotheses A contemporary theory based on a study of genetic markers in present-day populations that Austronesian people from Taiwan populated the region of Luzon and headed south to the Visayas, Borneo, Indonesia, then to Pacific islands and to the east of the Indian Ocean.  The study, though, may not explain inter-island migrations, which are also possible, such as the Tagalog migration to Luzon.
According to Visayan folk traditions, the Visayas were populated by Malays migrating from Borneo to Mindanao and to the Visayas, while other Malays crossed to Palawan through Sabah. Other Malays were suggested to have crossed from Samar island to the Bicol region in Luzon. The theory suggests that those ancient tribal groups who passed through Palawan may have migrated to what is now the island of Luzon. A supplementary theory was that at that period, the Malay people were moving north from Mindanao to the Visayas and to Luzon. Various groups of Europeans and Chinese also integrated with the native population during that period.