Fransisco Baltasar (Balagtas) 1788-1862

Baltasar's tale of the lovers Florante at Laura, is probably the most famous poem written in the Filipino language. Francisco Baltasar, known popularly as Balagtas, was born in Bulacan, a province just north of Manila, on April 2, 1788.

It was in Manila in 1835 that he met his muse, "Celia". It was in pursuing Celia (Maria Asuncion Rivera) that a rival suitor had caused him to be sent to jail. It is believed that he wrote Florante at Laura during his time in prison.

After his release, Balagtas went on to marry a different woman, Juana Tiambeng. They had 11 children. Later, Balagtas became a small-town mayor, and occupied himself by writing poems and numerous moro-moros -- plays about the battle between Christians and "Moors" during the crusades, until his death in 1862.


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