The Prince of Philippine Poetry

On this day, April 2, 2018 marks the 230th birthday of Francisco Balagtas, a prominent Filipino poet, and is widely considered one of the greatest Filipino literary laureates for his impact on Filipino literature.

The famous epic, Florante at Laura is regarded as his defining work. The name “Baltazar”, sometimes misconstrued as a pen name, was a legal surname Balagtas adopted after the 1849 edict of Governor-General Narciso Claveria y Zaldua, which mandated that the native population adopt standard Spanish surnames instead of native ones.

He was born on April 2, 1788 in Barrio Panginay, Balagtas, Bulacan formerly “Bigaa” as the youngest of the four children of Juan Baltazar, a blacksmith and Juana de la Cruz. He was baptized on April 30, on the same year. He studied Canon Law, Philosophy, Latin, and the Classics in Colegio San Juan de Letran and Colegio de San Jose.

He finished school in 1812.

An elementary school was erected in honor of Balagtas, the Francisco Balagtas Elementary School (FBES), located along Alvarez Street in Santa Cruz, Manila. There is also a plaza and park (Plaza Balagtas) erected in Pandacan, Manila while most of the streets were named after various Florante at Laura characters in honor of Francisco Balagtas. His birthplace, Bigaa, Bulacan, was renamed to Balagtas, Bulacan in his memory. A museum, historical marker, monument and elementary school has been placed in his birthplace at Panginay, Balagtas, Bulacan. The former Folk Arts Theater in Manila was renamed to Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas to honor Balagtas.

A crater on the planet Mercury with a diameter of 98 kilometers was also named after him. Its name was adopted by the International Astronomical Union in 1976

There is also a barangay in Orion, Bataan (formerly Udyong) named after his surname (Balagtas).


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