Florante at Laura, by Francisco Baltasar
(Balagtas), is the most well-known poem written in the Filipino
language. For this, Baltasar is given the title Ama ng Tulang Tagalog
(Father of the Tagalog Poem).
Florante at Laura is written in metric verse, a popular poetic form at that time, and combines with it the storytelling of a comedia. On its face, it is a love story between Florante and his lady love, Laura, set in Albania and Athens, Greece.
May people, however, believe that this is an allegory of the suffering of the Filipinos under the Spanish regime. In fact, in the Philippines, this was probably the first time that love of country was extolled in a popular literary work.
Florante at Laura had profound impact on those who would later be the leaders of the Philippine's fight for independence. Its impact on Filipino literature is no worse, or even greater. The poem, when it came out, was immensely popular and widely circulated. Since then, Florante at Laura has been judged as a masterpiece of Tagalog poetry, and Baltasar as the Shakespeare of Filipino literature.