Tanaga, the Filipino Haiku

The Filipino equivalent of a Japanese haiku is tanaga

In Philippine literature, a tanaga is a poem consisting of four lines with each line equally having between seven and nine syllables. To compare, the Japanese haiku has 17 phonetic units divided into three phrases of 5, 7 and 5 units respectively.

These short poems do not have any titles, although the apparent theme is used to refer to it. Most are written in Tagalog, the basis of the Filipino national language.

Halimbawa ng waluhang pantig na mga tanaga
(Examples of octosyllabic Filipino haiku poems)

SANGGOL

Pag ang sanggol ay ngumiti
nawawala ang pighati,
pag kalong mo’y sumisidhi
ang pangarap na punyagi.

PAG-IBIG

Wala iyan sa pabalat
at sa puso nakatatak,
nadarama’t nalalasap
ang pag-ibig na matapat.

GALIT

Ang damdami’y sumisikdo
sa balitang di-totoo;
habang sila’y nanunudyo,
poot nag-aalimpuyo.


These tanaga poems were written by Filipina poet Emelita Perez Baes.