Today in Philippine History, February 20, 1862, Francisco Baltazar died at the age 73

Sunday February 19, 2012 ()

On February 20, 1862, Francisco Baltazar, so-called "Prince of Tagalog Poets" for his impact on Filipino Literature, equivalent of William Shakespeare, died at the age 73.

   Francisco Baltazar
   Commemorative stamp of March 27, 1953 to mark National Language Week bearing the bust of Francisco Baltazar (Photo credit: Philippine Republic Stamps).

Born on April 2, 1788, in Bigaa, Bulacan, Baltazar, widely known through his nom-de-plume Francisco Balagtas, wrote Florante at Laura, considered as one of the masterpieces of Philippine literature.

His mentor in writing literature was Jose de la Cruz (Huseng Sisiw), one of the most famous poets of Tondo. His literary achievements secured his place at the top of the pantheon of Tagalog poets.

Other great Tagalog writers like Julian Cruz Balmaceda and Hermenegildo Cruz called him “Hari ng Makatang Tagalog”.

Notably, Balagtas is so greatly revered in the Philippines that the term for Filipino debate in extemporaneous verse is named for him: "Balagtasan".

Reference: Philippine News Agency archives


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