HomeMALAYvol. 31 no. 1 (2019)

Balagtas and the Imagining of “bayang natimaua” of 1896 Revolution

Kevin P Armingol



This paper aims to assert the connection between 19th century awit/poem Florante at Laura by the Bulacan poet Francisco “Balagtas” Baltazar published in 1834, in relation to the revolt of the masses of 1896, by using textual analysis on the selected documents of the Katipunan and most of the articles published in Kalayaan – the first and last organ of Katipunan – that was believed to have influenced in awakening and mobilizing 30,000 Filipinos on the eve of the revolution. From this, analysis will be primarily focused on the meaning and context of the word “bayan” that was used from the whole awit and its relation to Kalayaan and other related documents. The study wants to prove that the “bayan” referred in selected documents in Katipunan is the “bayan” from the awit Florante at Laura. Hence, the study believes that Florante at Laura carries the collective aspirations and nationalist spirit of the Filipino people that serve as inspiration for Katipuneros in waging the Revolution 1896 against Spanish colonialism. Aside from this work, Florante at Laura, Jim Richardson’s Light of Liberty Documents and Studies on the Katipunan, 1892-1897 (2013) will serve as one of the primary sources of this study. Lastly, the study wants to give more emphasis on the nationalist role of Balagtas and positions him in the political space, not just only as the gem of Tagalog poetry, but as one of the prominent and significant individuals of Philippine history.