Gusto mo bang malaman ang lovelife ni Balagtas?
Most of the time, when people talk about Francisco Baltazar, people think of his most famous work, Florante at Laura. More popularly known by his pen name, Francisco Balagtas, there was a lot more to this orator and poet from Bigga, Bulacan.
Here are 10 cool things about Balagtas and the muse who was his inspiration for his greatest masterpiece -
1. The two people who influenced him the most were Dr. Mariano Pilapil and Jose dela Cruz.
2. He was the youngest of four children.
3. He was often the cover for a local magazine because of his writing talent.
4. Believe it or not, he became his aunt's houseboy for quite sometime.
5. He had numerous degrees including Humanities, Crown Law, and Philosophy.
6. He wrote mainly in Tagalog to show his resistance to the Spanish rule.
7. He also served as a Major Lieutenant.
8. He renounced his life of being a poet, stating that it brought him nothing but sorrow.
9. He went as far as telling his children that it's better for them to cut off their hands than become a poet like him.
10. A plaza, park and many streets were named after him.
The Love of Balagtas' Life
Francisco's family's move to Pandacan, Manila paved the way for him to meet Maria Asuncion Rivera. Although he loved her deeply, he was not able to pursue her further because she was also wooed by someone named Mariano Capule (Nanong Capule), a rich guy who used his money and power to imprison Baltazar in 1835.
It was in his anguish when Baltazar penned Florante at Laura. Bear this in mind the next time you read this metrical romance that it came into existence because of the poet's pain. I'll never read this work the same way again.
An important part of this masterpiece is Cay Celia which I'll share in its original text, in part, below --
Cong pag saulang cong basahin sa isip
ang nan~gacaraang arao n~g pag-ibig,
may mahahaguilap cayang natititic
liban na cay Celiang namugad sa dibdib?
Yaong Celiang laguing pinan~gan~ganiban
baca macalimot sa pag-iibigan;
ang iquinalubog niyaring capalaran
sa lubhang malalim na caralitaan.
Macaligtaang co cayang di basahin
nagdaáng panahón n~g suyuan namin?
caniyang pagsintáng guinugol sa aquin
at pinuhunan cong pagod at hilahil?
Lumipas ang arao na lubhang matamis
at ualáng nátira condi ang pag-ibig,
tapat na pag suyong lalagui sa dibdib
hanggang sa libin~gan bangcay co,i, maidlip.
N~gayong namamanglao sa pan~gon~golila
ang guinagaua cong pag-alio sa dusa
nag daang panaho,i, inaala-ala,
sa iyong laraua,i, ninitang guinhaua.
Sa larauang guhit n~g sa sintang _pincel_
cusang ilinimbag sa puso,t, panimdim,
nag-íisang sanláng naiuan sa aquin
at di mananacao magpahangang libing.
Celia was the name that Francisco used to refer to the love of his life. The verses are a part of his epic poem (still from Florante at Laura) where the male protagonist is analyzed as Francisco in real life. Just as Florante was worried that he was gonna lose Laura to Count Adolfo. Just as pained, Florante pours out his anguish throughout the poem but not without retribution in the end.
That is where their similarities ended because Francisco never ended up marrying Maria.
Then it hit me, that all those who loved created the most beautiful works; whether the love was unrequited or lost. 'Talk of Frida Kahlo (who caught a cheating husband), Claude Monet (who painted the death of his wife) or Michelangelo (who sculpted the Pieta). Love, indeed, can make us do beautiful (and sometimes even crazy) things.
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E.S. Villamor has made a career in writing for a decade now. Her online business - GIML (Gabriela Isabel & Miguel Lucas) Publishing started in 2014. She advocated for women's rights and was once enamored with imparting financial literacy through training and blogs but she is now focused on propagating all things Filipino. This site is also being groomed as a rich homeschooling resource.