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Indigenizing the Zarzuela: Kapampangan Ethnocentric Adoption of the Foreign Genre

Author(s): Julieta C. Mallari

Journal: Coolabah
ISSN 1988-5946

Volume: 5;
Start page: 161;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: indigenizing | hybridity | zarzuela | Kapampangan

When the Spanish colonizers reached Pampanga, a province in the northernpart of the Philippines, the meeting between the East and the West meant an impact ofthe grafted civilization over the conquered people. Religious and cultural hybridization(Bhaba 1994) inevitably took place in Pampanga. Kapampangan verbal art modestlywelcomed an alien counterpart and a cultural synthesis in a “liminal space” took place.What the Spaniards introduced—religious literature, metrical romances and thezarzuela—to advance their imperialistic cause pressed on the folk and blended naturallywith the Kapampangan sensibility. Kapampangan literature took on a hybrid form thatcame to be an incitement for the movement of the province’s literary history. MarianoProceso Pabalan Byron, a Kapampangan poet, was the first to domesticate the form andcontent of the zarzuela, a Spanish literary genre. He, together with other writers such asCrisostomo Soto, established a zarzuela tradition and produced masterpieces. Theenthusiasm for the zarzuela lasted for decades even after World War II; poets like JoseGallardo easily adopted the favorite literary genre of his predecessors. The genre wasmost welcome because its elements constituted their familiar world. The zarzuelas thatwere produced reveal the constant appropriation of the native values and beliefs in theforeign literary form.
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