The Depiction of Indigenous Filipinos in the Novels: Po-on and Samboangan



The development of the Philippine novel parallels the evolution of the Philippine nation. This shared perspective by literary historians Resil Mojares, Benedict Anderson, and Caroline Hau asserts that the novel had reflected patterns of indigenous Filipinos’ ways at different periods in Philippine history.  

These literary and historico-political realities also reveal the marginalization of certain groups within the “imagined community” of the Philippines. As shown in key studies on Philippine novels, the indigenous Filipinos’ social milieu was inscribed in the geopolitical mainstream of the country’s body politic.

This research, therefore, explores how indigenous Filipinos were shown in two historical novels set during the Spanish era; particularly the “Bagos” of the Cordilleras in Po-on by F. Sionil Jose, and the “Subanons” of the Zamboanga Peninsula in Samboangan by Antonio Enriquez. However, this exploration is limited only to unearthing the depictions and will not compare the literary merits of the two novels. Furthermore, this study seeks to illustrate how these depictions within the novels’ respective historical contexts contribute to a more in-depth understanding of indigenous Filipinos’ reaction to Spanish rule.

Keywords: Bagos, Subanons, Po-on, Samboangan, Cordillera, Zamboanga, Philippine novel

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