Pilipinas – Tanaga

The Tanaga is a Filipino poem. It consists of four lines with seven syllables each; the rhyme scheme is AABB.

Traditional tanagas don’t have titles and are composed in the Tagalog language. Most have been handed down through oral history and contain proverbs and moral lessons. (Similar to the tanaga is the ambahan, which has an indefinite length.)

Modern Tanaga

The tanaga has been in danger of becoming a dying art form. The Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Commission of the Arts have been trying to revive it. Several groups have been promoting the form in English.

The form is beginning to change slightly – not only are tanagas appearing in more frequently in English, they are picking up titles and varying their rhyme forms (for example, AABB, ABBB, ABAB, ABBA, AAAB, BAAA, ABCD, etc).

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Pilipinas kong Mahal
Kahit malayo ako
Puso ko’y nasa iyo
Mabuhay tayong lahat!

Philippines my Philippines
We may be far apart
But my heart belongs to you
Cheers to every one of us!

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