Google honored the Philippines’ very own poet Francisco Baltazar or more popularly known as Francisco Balagtas to mark his 230th birth anniversary. “Kikong Balagtas” was born on April 2, 1788 in Balagtas, Bulacan.
Google, through its Doodles platform, featured on its homepage colorful illustrations of Balagtas’ most famous work, ‘Florante at Laura’. The epic love story was published in 1838 and is considered as one of the greatest masterpieces in Philippine literature.
Google’s Doodles are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists.
Google featured illustrations of Balagtas’ literary masterpiece, ‘Florante at Laura’, which was published in 1838.
Here’s the full text on Google Doodles’ clickable tribute feature on Francisco Balagtas’ 230th Birthday:
When Francisco Balagtas was born outside of Manila in 1788, one of four children and the son of a blacksmith, few might have guessed he would grow up to be one of the most revered writers in the Philippines. But in fact, Balagtas showed promise early on, and even studied under José de la Cruz, one of the most prominent Filipino poets.
Balagtas’ most famous work, depicted in today’s Doodle, is Florante at Laura, an epic poem that symbolizes his own life journey. In the first panel, we see Balagtas working on Florante at Laura. The story begins with a view on the main character, Duke Florante of Albania, who has just been exiled and tied to a tree. The third panel depicts his love, Princess Laura, being held captive. Next we meet Prince Aladdin of Persia, himself exiled from his own country. In the fifth panel, Aladdin’s fiancée Flerida searches for him in the forest before rescuing Laura. Finally, Laura and Florante are reunited and rule peacefully over Albania.
In addition to being a highly-skilled poet, Balagtas earned acclaim for writing in Tagalog (most writings at the time were in Spanish) and including Filipino themes, even though the characters were not from the Philippines. Students around the country still learn of the adventures of Florante and Laura today, as well as the rhythm and meter of the poem.
Today we celebrate the author’s legacy on what would be his 230th birthday.
Did you read Florante at Laura in school? Share your thoughts below!