‘Heneral Luna’ John Arcilla to pay tribute to ‘King of Balagtasan’

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Veteran actors John Arcilla, Ronnie Lazaro, Lou Veloso; The Philippine Opera Company, rappers Beware and Negatibo; ventriloquist Ony Carcamo, and traditional “mambabalagtas” from Bulacan are among the performers who will pay homage to the so-called original “King of Balagtasan” Jose Corazon De Jesus through free performances at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Huseng Batute on May 26.

The Balagtasan, named after Francisco Balagtas who wrote “Florante at Laura” and “Orosman at Zafira,” is a Filipino literary form of debate where rhymed verses are created in spontaneity under topics that range from Philippine politics to culture.

De Jesus, also known by his pen name Huseng Batute, received much recognition for the Balagtasan. He won the title “Hari ng Balagtasan” in 1926 and again in 1929 where he beat his closest contender, Florentino Collantes.

Batute, born on November 22, 1894 in Sta. Cruz, Manila to Dr. Vicente De Jesus and Susana Pangilinan, wrote his Buhay-Maynila column in verse at the Taliba newspaper for 10 years. His poems were published in six books, namely, “Mga Dahong Ginto,” “Gloria,” “Mga Itinapon ng Kapalaran,” “Sa Dakong Silangan,” “Ilaw sa Kapitbahay,” and “Maruming Basahan.”

He also penned lyrics for songs, most of which are “Kundiman” or the traditional Filipino love songs. He translated the song “Nuestra Patria” to “Bayan Ko” considered as the second (unofficial) national anthem of the country.  — Videos by EC Toledo IV

Related video: Who is Huseng Batute?

Related video: Lou Veloso reads Huseng Batute's poem

Related video: Philippine Opera Company members perform Huseng Batute's songs




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