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CUSTOMS OF TAGALOG:Juan De Plasencia
SUMMARY OF THE EVENTThe author, Juan de Placencia was, not a native Tagalog but a Spanish friar whofirst arrived in the Philippines in 1577 and given a tasked by the king of spain to record and document the customs and traditions of the people in the Philippines based on, his own observation and judgments and wrote the custom of tagalog to put an end to some injustices being committed against the native by certain government officials. Custom of Tagalog was one of his writings that tackles about everyday living of the ancient Filipinos, their social status, customs, traditions and beliefs of the tagalog. It also provided the first form of Civil Code used by local governors to administer justice.In the text, to avoid discussing the conflicting reports of the natives through a knowledgeable monitoring to attain truthfulness. This topic is important for determining how the Spaniards will govern the Filipinos during the Spanish era. Although it has lesser value in the modern world right now, it is still important for us to trace the roots of who we are in the past.HISTORICAL CRITICISMThere are at least three major discursive issues that can be extracted from the document, Customs of the Tagalogs written by Juan de Plasencia in 1589, if we are to put socio-political context into the text – first, the issue of authorship; second, the discourse of power in colonial writing; and third, the logic of binarism or the Occident-Other dichotomy. These are interrelated threads that probably constitute major segments of colonial historical writing in the Philippines.
The authorial voice or authorship plays a pivotal role in putting meaning(s) to this colonial text.It is a common fact that during this era, the Spanish colonizers, spearheaded by missionaries, drew a wide variety of texts ranging from travel narratives and accounts of the colony to even sermons.In this particular text, de Plasencia tried to avoid discussing the “conflicting reports of the Indians” through an “informed observation” to obtain the “simple truth.” This “truth,” however, is debatable, and the manner of how he actually arrived to his reports is even more problematic. The text foregrounds two important figures: the observer (de Plasencia) himself, with his own background, subjectivites and biases; and the observer’s subject (Tagalogs), seen as the “Other,” a metonymic amalgam of communal characteristics, local customs and traditions, etc. In colonial situations, the relationship of these figures – the colonizer and the colonized – flows in both but unequal directions; the former being the dominant, while the latter is the inferior one, or as Edward Said put it,