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Ninay was written as a response to the accusation that Filipinos possessed no distinct culture and in the tradition of costumbrismo, a movement in Spanish literature in the nineteenth century that celebrated specific features (e.g. flora, fauna, rituals, and rites) of Spain's various regions. The novel's series of overlapping narratives were thus juxtaposed against bucolic scenes and social and religious rites. The major criticism against Pedro Paterno's novel is its use of a non-realistic perspective. But translator Leon Ma. Guerrero has pointed out the numerous similarities between Ninay and José Rizal's novels in terms of characters and plot structure.

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  1. 1609 - A law is issued regulating the services of the "Indios" or native-born Filipinos. Whenever possible, the men needed for public works shall be hired from the Chinese and Japanese enclaves, and the Filipinos shall work voluntarily. They may be forced to work, but only under certain conditions.