Balagtas Day (April 2), special non-working day in Bulacan

The Provincial Government of Bulacan extended its holiday vacation as they celebrate today (April 2) the 230th birth anniversary of the Bulakenyo poet and orator Francisco “Balagtas” Baltazar after the Office of the President declared it as a special non-working day in this province.

In accordance with Proclamation No. 454 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea dated March 20, 2018, “it is but fitting and proper that the people of the Province of Bulacan be given full opportunity to celebrate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.”

His pen name “Balagtas” and nickname “Kiko”, Baltazar was born on April 2, 1788, in Barrio Panginay, Balagtas, Bulacan formerly “Bigaa” town. He is the youngest of the four children of Juan Baltazar, a blacksmith (Panday) and Juana de la Cruz.

He studied Canon Law, Philosophy, Latin, and the Classics in Colegio San Juan de Letran and Colegio de San Jose and finished school in 1812.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado believes that the youth should never forget the great legacy Balagtas has left us, his poetry.

“Sa panahon ngayon na tila nakakalimutan na ng ating mga kabataan ang pagtula at balagtasan at unti-unti na itong napapalitan ng mga makabagong uri ng sining, mahalaga na kanilang mabatid na ang uri ng sining na ibinabaon na sa limot ay isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit naging dakila ang ating mahal na lalawigan,” Alvarado said.

Moreover, Mayor Eladio Gonazales Jr. of the municipality of Balagtas will lead with the other local officials here the mass on Tuesday to be followed by a wreath laying activity at the monument of Baltazar in front of their municipal hall to give honor to the great poet whom they named their town after.

Francisco Baltazar has been named as “Prinsipe ng Manunulang Tagalog” and considered as the ‘William Shakespeare of the Philippines’. One of his renowned works “Florante at Laura” served as one of the foundations of Philippine literature. –ELOISA SILVERIO

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