The First Quarter Storm in 1970 was the beginning of the period of activism in Philippine literature. As thousands of students rallied on the streets to protest the anti-democratic policies of the Marcos administration, Filipino writers utilized their writings to undermine the issues of exploitations and injustice in the country.
The mass protests against the administration at that time led to the declaration of martial law in 1972. Literature and mass communication were silenced, but gradually, a group of Filipino writers took their writing underground and recommitted themselves to writing short stories, poetry and novels that explored the social concerns of the times. Many writers joined the underground activities and produced literary works that are called protest literature. Other writers challenged the regime's limit and continued their protest literature above ground. The period of activism ended when the Marcos regime ended in 1983.