Saturday, August 30, 2008

Banaag at Sikat

Banaag at Sikat or From Early Dawn to Full Light is one of the first literary novels written by Filipino author Lope K. Santos in the Tagalog language in 1906. As a book that was considered as the "Bible of working class Filipinos", the pages of the novel revolves around the life of Delfin, his love for a daughter of a rich landlord, while Lope K. Santos also discusses the social issues such as socialism, capitalism, and the works of the united associations of laborers.

Although a work that discusses politics in the Philippines, Banaag at Sikat is the only novel included by the Filipino critic Teodoro Agoncillo to a list of important books about Tagalog literature in 1949, because according to Agoncillo the book has a weakness but it started the system of writing a Tagalog novel. Thus, this book of Lope K. Santos paved the way on how to write other Tagalog-language novels which has a combined themes about love, livelihood, and the truthful and moving status of society. Furthermore, despite of being one of the first long narrative in the Philippines that provoked the mood of society, it also motivated the cause of the Hukbalahap (Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon, literally the “people’s army against the Japanese occupiers” during World War II).

However, this is not the first Tagalog novel, because Lope K. Santos’ novel was published after Nena at Neneng - Nena and Neneng - (1905), which is considered as the first Tagalog novel published as a book and written by Valeriano Hernandez Peña. Still, there was another Tagalog novel, Cababalaghan ni P. Brava (literally, P. Brava’s Mistery) by Gabriel Beato Francisco, which appeared in installment on the pages of the magazine Kapatid ng Bayan (literally, Comrades of the Nation) in 1899.

The title Banaag at Sikat is translated by critics and reviewers into From Early Dawn to Full Light of the sun, a translation derived from the reviews done by Patricio N. Abinales and Donna J. Amoroso.