Today's Google Doodle Pays Tribute to a Filipino Poet

We give you three guesses on what it's about.

( If you attended school in the Philippines, you probably (and hopefully) read Francisco "Balagtas" Baltazar's Florante at Laura in second year high school (or is it Grade 8 now?). A story of love between Duke Florante and Princess Laura of Albania, it is written as a monorhyme with four lines per stanza, 12 syllables per line, and a slight pause (called caesura) on the sixth syllable—a Filipino poetic format called awit. This masterpiece is depicted as a six-panel caricature in today's Google Doodle to celebrate the renowned Tagalog poet's 230th birth anniversary.


The first panel shows Balagtas himself, with laurel leaves and all, hard at work while writing Florante at Laura. The second panel portrays the first sequence where Florante is tied to a tree and delivers the famous opening lines: "Sa loob at labas ng bayan kong sawi / Kaliluha’y siyang nangyayaring hari / Kagalinga’t bait ay nalulugami, / Ininis sa hukay ng dusa’t pighati." The next panels unfold the rest of the story—Princess Laura is held captive by Count Adolfo, Prince Aladin of Persia is exiled from his own country, Flerida (Aladin's fiancée) frees Laura, and Florante and Laura reunites and assumes their thrones as king and queen of Albania.


April was declared as National Literature Month (Buwan ng Panitikang Filipino), as per Proclamation No. 968 in 2015. Aside from having Balagtas Day, the month also marks the birth and death anniversaries of Filipino literary icons like Edith Tiempo (born April 22, 1919), Bienvenido Lumbera (born April 11, 1932), Emilio Jacinto (died April 16, 1899), Paciano Rizal (died April 13, 1930), and Nick Joaquin (died April 29, 2004).



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