Spanish name: Francisco Baltazar y Dela Cruz
|Born||Francisco Baltazar y de la Cruz
April 22, 1788
Bigaa, Bulacan, Captaincy General of the Philippines
|Died||February 20, 1862
Udyong, Bataan, Captaincy General of the Philippines
|Citizenship||Spanish (1812 Spanish Constitution granted Filipino natives Spanish citizenship)|
|Alma mater||Colegio de San Jose (now San Jose Seminary)|
|Notable works||Florante at Laura|
Francisco Balagtas (born Francisco Baltazar y de la Cruz; April 2, 1788 – February 20, 1862), also known as Francisco Balagtas. He was 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. His trainer is Jose Dela Cruz, also called Joseng Sisiw.
Francisco Balagtas 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 (Panday) and Juana de la Cruz. He was baptized on April 30 that 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.
Baltazar learned to write poetry from José de la Cruz (Joseng Sisiw), one of the most famous poets of Tondo, in return of chicks. It was De la Cruz himself who personally challenged Balagtas to improve his writing. Balagtas swore he would overcome Huseng Sisiw as he would not ask anything in return as a poet.
In 1835, Balagtas moved to Pandacan, Manila, where he met María Asunción Rivera, who would effectively serve as the muse for his future works. She is referenced in Florante at Laura as 'Selya' and 'MAR'.
Balagtas' affections for MAR were challenged by the influential Mariano Capule. Capule won the battle for MAR when he used his wealth to get Balagtas imprisoned. It was here that he wrote Florante at Laura—in fact, the events of this poem were meant to parallel his own situation.
He wrote his poems in Tagalog language, during an age when Filipino writing was predominantly written in Spanish.
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