Read below for an overview of what is known about Francisco Baltazar's life.
Life of Francisco Baltazar
Here is what is known about Francisco Baltazar's personal life and career:
- Francisco Baltazar was born on April 2, 1788. He was born in Bigga, Bulacan an area in the Philippines.
- He had three siblings and was the youngest of four children.
- When he was young, Baltazar revealed an extraordinary interest in writing poetry.
- As Baltazar grew up his family moved to Manila where he became a houseboy for his aunt who also lived in Manila.
- His family supported him through school where he studied numerous subjects such as philosophy and humanities at a university.
- When he completed college, he graduated with at least three degrees. These degrees were in Crown Law, Humanities, and Philosophy. He had earned other degrees as well.
Baltazar the Poet
A great deal of what is known about Francisco Baltazar has to do with his writing:
- Even at a young age, Baltazar won awards for his poetry.
- One of the poems that he penned that he also won an award for was titled “Ama ng Balagtasan.”
- Baltazar was featured on the front cover a local magazine in Manila as well in recognition of his outstanding writing talent.
- He graduated as valedictorian of his class at his school in Madrid before launching a career as an extremely successful and well-known poet.
- Francisco Baltazar honed in on his writing skills by seeking the aid of two people that he came to know well and who influenced his writing. These two people that influenced his career as a poet were Dr. Mariano Pilapil and Jose’ de la Cruz.
- Jose’ de la Cruz taught Baltazar the importance of quality in his work. Dr. Mariano Pilapil helped Baltazar to adopt a specific style of writing his pieces.
- In an effort to continue improving on his writing, Baltazar would submit his pieces to multiple venues in order to gain approval or see how he could produce work of higher quality. By doing this, Baltazar became highly recognized as a poet and a debater.
- In 1835, Baltazar moved to Pandacan where he met the muse that inspired what some would call his best work. While here he met the love of his life, a woman by the name of Maria Asuncion Rivera.
- Maria was also being pursued by another man who ultimately won her hand by persuading her with his power and money. This other male suitor also had Baltazar thrown in prison.
- Baltazar was in prison from 1835 to 1838 and while there he wrote the poem inspired by Maria, which was entitled “Florante at Laura.” The subject of the poem was his love for Maria and the betrayal he felt on behalf of this other male suitor that had ultimately won Maria over.
- The poem remained unpublished until 1838 when he was released from prison.
On his deathbed, after having become one of the most famous Filipino poets, Baltazar urged for his children not to follow in his footsteps. He even went to the extent to say that they should have their hands severed so that they would pursue other ventures. Despite his disregard for his writing career, his poetry remains popular today and he has had numerous public locations named after him such as parks and plazas.