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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Art and Politics in the Balagtasan


The BALAGTASAN is a curious literary form. Born about the second quarter of the 20th century, during the time when electronic media was just being introduced to the Philippines, the BALAGTASAN is probably the last poetic form which was thoroughly enjoyed by the Filipino people. As a literary form, the BALAGTASAN is essentially traditional and can almost be said to be merely a new label for an old bottle of wine. Yet, it contains elements which explain why the traditional remains contemporary and popular.

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