The Philippines in Contemporary Mexican Poetry: Presence and Omission

Ignacio Ballester Pardo

Published Date: Feb 28, 2022


In 1606, Antonio de Morga published Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, appearing to establish a point of contact, which endures in the still-overlooked but undeniably extant relationship of the Philippines with contemporary Mexican Spanish-language poetry. Although minimal, certain Philippine ties have been observed in recent decades in Mexico, the country with the greatest number of Spanish speakers in the world. Unlike Cuba or Puerto Rico, the Philippines has been forgotten by Hispanic culture in a tradition that continues in the twenty-first century. Despite this uprooting from, which might be observed in a first a preliminary study that other researchers may want to undertake (still underexplored and in fact practically non-existent in the critical panorama), such Mexico- Philippines relationships continue settling in the Mexican poetry insomuch as they mark meeting points that explain globalization and the search for identity that also exists in lyricism. In this work, which traces Mexican literature, the presence of the Philippines in Tomás Calvillo Unna’s 1995 poetry collection Filipinas, textos cercanos (2010) is analyzed using an ecocritical approach to recoveries from pre-Columbian Mexico and colonial New Spain. In addition to investigating which poets have been influenced by the Philippine tradition, this text delves into historical and geographical relationships, especially as the basis of the Manila Galleon trade. The issue of violence, also present in texts examined here, will refer to colonization and to neocolonial practices still rooted in this exchange. This article also discusses issues surrounding the Western canon and the knowledge or ignorance that Hispanophone societies and academia have regarding Philippine Studies.


genealogy, identity construction, displacement, diplomatic relations, autobiography

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
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Ateneo de Manila University

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Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

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Yale University (US)

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Yale NUS College (Singapore)

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University of Washington (US)

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University of the Philippines

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Philippines Studies Center (US)

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Barnard College (US)
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Columbia University (US)

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Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)