Metahistorical Contexts of Demetillo’s Barter in Panay: An Epic

Leo Andrew B. Biclar


The Philippines, a treasury of oral folk epics, gives us opportunities to research epics in transition, which implies documenting epics and introducing them to a wider audience. The losing of living epic tradition attracts national and international attention, and becomes a concern of the state and the educational system. This study is focused on the metahistorical contexts of the epic Barter in Panay authored by Ricaredo Demetillo (1961) who gathered his materials from the Maragtas, a semi-historical, semi- legendary record of the Bornean settlement in Panay. The study is anchored to E.A. Manuel’s theory of Philippine ethnoepics. It aimed to prove the value of the text as an ethnoepic. Specifically, the study aims to answer: What is the narrative structure of the epic Barter in Panay? How the characterization and narration revealed the metahistorical contexts of the epic? How Barter in Panay is defined through its literary devices? Barter in Panay as an ethnoepic reflects the “sweetness and light” of the Filipino identity that lays me to embrace my unique genetic origin and rich traditions. The voice in the epic sketches the community beyond the spatial and projects itself into the future that will continue his legacy to the young who will listen to the tales. The epic contains historically self-aware characters providing an integral engine to the Filipino identity.


Barter in Panay, Literature, Metahistorical Contexts, Philippine literary epics, Folk Literature, Descriptive Design, Philippines

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