History and Culture

Make Balagtas Day Your Wander Wednesday

Metro Manila, Bataan, Bulacan

Phillip Kimpo Jr.
Phillip Kimpo Jr. | Mar 05, 2014

This 2014, join artists, writers, supporters of culture, and government officials in a daylong pilgrimage to honor the Philippines’ equivalent of Shakespeare (as some critics would assert).


A lover of Philippine culture cleaning the bust of Balagtas in Pandacan, Manila, during the Balagtas Day ceremonies in 2010.

April 2 is the birthday of Balagtas, and it’s a great excuse to visit three places crucial to his life and works—Pandacan in Manila, Balagtas (formerly Bigaa) in Bulacan, and Orion in Bataan.


These three sites are the stopovers for the Lakbay Panitik (“literary journey”) being organized by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino. Titled Bayan, Bayani, at si Balagtas (“Nation, Hero, and Balagtas”), the pilgrimage will have three parts:

  • Pandacan, Manila: wreath-laying (7-8 AM)

  • Balagtas, Bulacan: awarding of the Dangal ni Balagtas 2014 prize (9:30-11:30 AM)

  • Orion, Bataan: awarding of the Makata ng Taon 2014 prize (2:30-3:30 PM)

Pandacan in Manila has long been a cradle of the arts, and it's home to a park and monument dedicated to Balagtas. Bigaa in Bulacan is the poet's birthplace, while Orion in Bataan was where he died.


The Balagtas Shrine in Pandacan, Manila.

If you only know Balagtas because of three things—his magnum opus Florante at Laura, the literary form and poetic debate known as balagtasan, and his laurel-crowned portrait you got familiar with in textbooks—what’s a day spent traveling to enrich both your troves of experiences and cultural knowledge?


The pilgrimage is open to the public and free of charge, though you'll need to come and enlist early because of limited seats in the buses.

Interested travelers may contact the organizers through Dr. Miriam P. Cabila at 02-708-6972, 02-736-2525 loc. 107, 09298765856, 09266428171, and 09328620176. You may also visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/angkomisyonsawikangfilipino.

The Choose Philippines team will be there, so see you in Manila, Bulacan and Bataan!


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