Si Nena at si Neneng
Kasaysayan ng Magkaibigang Nena at Neneng, or Si Nena at si Neneng, is a novel authored by Valeriano Hernandez-Peña who is heralded as the "Father of the Tagalog novel." Regarded as Hernandez-Peña's masterpiece, the novel contained themes of friendship, traditional society, moderation, and decorum through the story of two friends, Nena and Neneng. The novel influenced the establishment of didactic novels as founts of moral lessons, as written by succeeding generations of writers. It was first published in the newspaper Muling Pagsilang in 1903, and was collected into book form in 1905, with 51 chapters in all.
Nena and Neneng are two friends of marrying age who go through the tests of life and love together. Nena's heart is broken by Miguel, an ill-mannered young man who has taken the virginity of another woman, Chayong. Chayong is miserable because of what happened, especially since she is in love with Narciso. Bidding goodbye to Chayong and hoping Miguel will do what is right, Narciso soon finds new love with Neneng and the two are married. Nena, on the other hand, meets Deogracias, and the two fall in love. While Nena is settled and happy, Neneng is abandoned by Narciso due to what he thought was sexual indiscretion. When Narciso returns, Neneng has already died of a broken heart.
- Chastity as equal to a woman's dignity
Chayong's unfortunate loss of virginity to Miguel appears as a warning to young women. Nena and Neneng, on the other hand, serve as epitomes of good conduct and consciousness. Narciso's abandonment of Neneng upon suspicion of sexual indiscretion emphasizes the weight given to a woman's chastity.
- Proper decorum and strict morality
Although a novel about love as well, Si Nena at si Neneng deviates from the wild passions of romantic love and dwells on the proper behavior of those in courtship, especially during the novel's time. It guides women on how and why to be on guard with men; it shows men how to be gentlemen.
The novel is also a chronicle of a long friendship between two women and how they sustained the relationship despite separation and the twists and turns in their lives.
- Hernandez-Peña, Valeriano. Si Nena at si Neneng. Maynila: Limbagan ng La Vanguardia at Taliba, 1913. Pp. 1-284.