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Philippine Heroes - Francisco Baltazar Balagtas y Dela Cruz (1788-1862)

FRANCISCO BALTAZAR Balagtas y Dela Cruz - Philippine HeroNational hero Francisco Baltazar, the great orator and poet hails from the province of Bulacan.

He was born on April 2, 1788 in Panginay, Bigaa, Bulacan. His parents were Juan Baltazar and Juana dela Cruz.

He worked as a houseboy for a rich family in Tondo, Manila when he was only 11 years old. He went to school during his off hours.

He went on to finish high school. He continued his college education at the Colegio de San Jose and graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Theology.

He became a great a writer and poet. It was Dr. Mariano Pilapil who taught him how to write and Joseng Sisiw was his mentor in poetry.

Joseng Sisiw once refused to edit Francisco's poem because he did not have any chick to pay him. A dejected Francisco edited his own piece and to his surprise many liked it even better than mentor's works. It was to be the road to his greatness, besting even his mentor Joseng Sisiw.

A pretty maiden by the name of Asuncion Rivera captured the heart of Francisco.


Asuncion had many suitors. One of them, Mariano Capule a wealthy and influential man was so obsessed with her that he ordered Franscisco jailed. While Francisco was in jail Capule and Asuncion got married.

While in prison, Francisco wrote his greatest masterpiece, Florante at Laura. This piece was written in Tagalog. The book vividly and artistically illustrated the true state of the country at the hands of its Spanish colonizers.

He was released from prison in 1840 and found himself in Bataan. He met Juana Tiambeng, courted and married her in July 22,1842. They had 11 offspring.

He got involved in another controversy and landed in jail anew. He took his incarceration as an inspiration and produced more literary innuendoes and poems against the Spanish rule in the country.

Francisco Baltazar who was also known as Francisco Balagtas died on February 20, 1862 at the age of 74.

It was from Francisco Baltazar that the name Balagtasan was derived to honor his excellence and greatness in the field of poetry.


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