ORION, Bataan – The municipal government here announced on Sunday the unveiling today, Monday, of the Hardin ni Balagtas in memory of the great Filipino poet and orator, Francisco Balagtas Baltazar.
Orion Mayor Antonio Raymundo said the opening of the cultural park in Barangay Wawa coincides with the 227th birthday of the poet on April 2. “May research na ginawa ang Komisyon sa Wikang Pilipino (KWP) na nagsasabing tuwing gagawa ng sulatin si Balagtas, pumupunta siya sa tabi ng dagat,” the mayor answered when asked why the monument was built near the sea.
Balagtas, author of many literary masterpieces, one of them Florante at Laura, lived in Barangay Lati, a barangay before Wawa-Pag-asa. Born in Bigaa, Bulacan on April 2, 1788, he stayed in Orion, then known as Udyong from 1840 to February 20, 1962 when he died at age 74. He married Juana Tiambeng, a local beauty, in 1842 and had 11 children. “Mas pinili ni Balagtas sa Orion manirahan at dito nakapag-asawa. May tatlo siyang apo na ang dalawa ay naging mayor ng Orion at ang isa ay pari,” Raymundo said. Fr. Primitivo Baltazar became a parish priest of Orion while Luis and Jose Baltazar were the first and 13th mayors of the town, respectively.
Raymundo said Senator Bam Aquino and KWP chairman Virgilio Almario will grace the unveiling. An encampment of a big number of youth in Central Luzon and from Zamboanga City, sponsored by Senator Aquino, follows the next day at the Orion Elementary School, he added.
Isagani de Leon, Human Resource Management Officer of Orion, said a building at the side of the “Hardin ni Balagtas” will be known as Balagtas Library and Museum that will serve as repository of various memorabilia and literary works of the great poet. The project was in accordance with specifications of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
De Leon said that historical records showed that Balagtas worked as “escribano” or the equivalent of a secretary at the Catholic church in Orion and as clerk of court in Balanga.
The poet was born with the surname Balagtas but changed it to Baltazar after a Spanish governor-general ordered Filipinos to adopt Hispanic names from a master list, history records