THE “Balagtasan” (poetic debate) kicks off in Balagtas town in Bulacan, the birthplace of the Prince of Tagalog Poets Gat. Francisco Balagtas Baltazar whose 229th birth anniversary is celebrated on April 2. Mayor Eladio Gonzales Jr. and Vice Mayor Bobby Carating led the ceremony for the week-long celebration of “Balagtasan Festival 2017” on Monday highlighted by “Balagtasan duels” scheduled in various schools and villages.
“Balagtasan” was widely revered and considered as grand form of courtship aside from harana (serenade).
Balagtas, who used the pen name Baltazar, was born on April 2, 1788 in Panginay, Bigaa town and widely considered one of the greatest Filipino literary laureates for his impact on Filipino literature. The popular Tagalog epic “Florante at Laura” is one of his iconic works.