Chapter 26: - Page 6 of 6

The Eve of the Fiesta

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

The funereal presentiments of old Tasio seemed to have been dissipated forever.  So Ibarra observed to him one day, but the old pessimist answered:

Remember what Baltazar says:

Kung ang isalúbong sa iyong pagdating
Ay masayang maukha’t may pakitang giliw,
Lalong pag-iñgata’t kaaway na lihim [4]
Baltazar was no less a thinker than a poet.

Thus in the gathering shadows before the setting of the sun events were shaping themselves.

[4]If on your return you are met with a smile, beware! for it means that you have a secret enemy.—From the Florante, being the advice given to the hero by his old teacher when he set out to return to his home.

Francisco Baltazar was a Tagalog poet, native of the province of Bulacan, born about 1788, and died in 1862. The greater part of his life was spent in Manila,—in Tondo and in Pandakan, a quaint little village on the south bank of the Pasig, now included in the city, where he appears to have shared the fate largely of poets of other lands, from suffering the pangs of disprized love and persecution by the religious authorities, to seeing himself considered by the people about him as a crack-brained dreamer.  He was educated in the Dominican school of San Juan de Letran, one of his teachers being Fray Mariano Pilapil, about whose services to humanity there may be some difference of opinion on the part of those who have ever resided in Philippine towns, since he was the author of the Passion Song which enlivens the Lenten evenings.  This Passion Song, however, seems to have furnished the model for Baltazar’s Florante, with the pupil surpassing the master, for while it has the subject and characters of a medieval European romance, the spirit and settings are entirely Malay.  It is written in the peculiar Tagalog verse, in the form of a corrido or metrical romance, and has been declared by Fray Toribio Menguella, Rizal himself, and others familiar with Tagalog, to be a work of no mean order, by far the finest and most characteristic composition in that, the richest of the Malay dialects.—TR.

Learn this Filipino word:

lantáng bulaklák