For a mambabalagtas, verbal joust and poetry are so much more than a way to express complex emotions and stories. While it was born as a form of entertainment during the bleak era of American colonialism, Balagtasan – a form of traditional verbal jousting – became a venue to discuss socio-political issues that besieged contemporary society.

Through facts, rhymes, and clever lines, the mambabalagtas would exchange discussions on the pros and cons of a topic relevant to the community. When it first happened on April 6, 1924, Balagtasan became the rage.

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