Tanaga Revival

If the English have sonnets, Japanese have tankas and haikus, Koreans have sijos, then Filipinos have tanagas.

Tanaga is a short Filipino poem. Just like haiku, tanaga usually does not bear a title as the form should already depict vivid images or speak for itself. Some known works were transferred orally and do have proverbial forms, moral lessons, and snippets of a code of ethics. It is known to be one of the oldest forms of poetry in the Philippines.

Tanaga is structured with four lines with each line containing seven syllables.

Usually, lines should end with same rhyme. The form looks like 7-7-7-7 with an AAAA rhyme scheme, although modern poets do create varying rhyme forms (ABAB, AABB, ABBA) or free verse (AAAB, BAAA, or ABCD).

Ideally, tanaga should be written in Tagalog or other Filipino dialects, but it is now also written in other languages like English.

It is considered as a dying art form but is being revived by several institutions including the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Center for Culture and Arts. Various poetry websites have also highlighted tanaga as a unique and great Filipino poetry form.

I am a fan of Tanaga and use it to express quickly short thoughts, and narrate everyday experiences or an artful way of sending messages to someone.

The form is short enough and suitable to the 160 character limit of SMS messages or in Twitter, Facebook status posts or a small post-it note.

Tanaga can be made to be found anywhere.

I hope you will help me populate the new Tanaga sections here at emanilapoetry. Our posts will surely go a long way in reviving Tanaga!

Here are samples of poems in Tanaga:

Pagbuhay ng Tanaga
que mejor

Sarili nating sining
Na kilanli’y nalibing.
Kaya’t akin nang hiling
Ibig dito’y, magturing!



Tanaga Revival

I point this to our own art
Where repute was took apart
So now this wish, I impart,
May it be fond to your heart!


Team Emanila Notes: The above post is the initial post in starting “Tanaga”, a new section under Tulang Pinoy in emanilapoetry. For those who wish to post to this section, kindly observe the rules.

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avatar About Eladio Abquina

"In medias res, eligo quod melius"

I am Eladio Jose Castro Abquina III, an Economics Graduate from the University of Santo Tomas, and currently pursuing post graduate diploma for Computer Science in De La Salle University. Currently a Technology Consultant for a known IT firm.

Friends call me "EL", and know me as a jack of all trades, a passionate thespian, music enthusiast, a guitar player, an occasional composer, loves cardistry, absolutely carefree, a performer and a quiet poetic.

Since childhood, I have been fascinated by Haiku and modern free verse works. I tried to make my own poems by doodling a lot in my notebooks, not being able to compile my works. Luckily, blogging and the web helped me to continue expressing my rants, raves, joy and love. For the past years, I became in love with "Sonnets", along with her strict rhymes and meter. Last year, I also became attached to "Tanaga", a pinoy version similar to Haiku. Most of my works are out pours of my daily life experiences.

"In the midst of things, I choose to see what is better." I love, love. I believe that staying positive will attract good luck and good people. Confucius said; "Words are the voice of the heart", so I hope these words can help to spread the love.


  1. Thank you Emanilapoetry for giving the chance for Tanaga’s revival!
    I noticed that other contributors also do Tanaga and I hope everyone could continue their support on our very own form in poetry…

    I am excited to see;
    A revival this will be;
    So let me give thanks to thee:


  2. avatar Edemie Mermal Cabuniag says:


  3. thank you so much.

  4. avatar stephpogi says:

    thank you so much emanilapoetry… i can now do my homework… ttnx a lot

  5. if you have a facebook acct. please like us.


  1. […] something dawned on me. Tanaga. Yes, tanaga. (And back to my geeky reference, doesn’t metaphor happen in Tanagra, er, […]

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