Wenceslao Retana’s intellectual passion for the Philippine archipelago led to the foundation of Philippine bibliographical studies as well as the recovery of dozens of little known but highly relevant primary sources of Philippine history. Previous scholars have noted the abrupt sea change in Retana’s portrayal of the Philippines and the Filipino people after 1898. During the period that the archipelago remained a colony of Spain, it was not difficult to find harsh criticism in his texts, but he later made efforts to reconcile with the Spanish-speaking intelligentsia of Manila. In this context, Retana serially published a Recuerdos de Filipinas between 1907 and 1909 in the pages of El Renacimiento (1901–1910), where he reminisced about his early stay in the Philippines from 1884 to 1886. This study examines the circumstances that led to the publication of this memoir whose existence remained unnoticed by previous Retana scholars. Likewise, this paper will explore the discursive strategies and the underlying ideological assumptions implicit in the text. It concludes that the Recuerdos de Filipinas served to restore Retana’s previously damaged public image by presenting a kindly, nostalgic, and slightly naive view of his own youthful experiences in the Philippines.


memoir, autobiography, Wenceslao E. Retana (1862–1924), Philippine studies, El Renacimiento, Spanish literature, travel literature

Please login first to access subscription form of article

Read Full text in PDF

Browse By

Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)