José de la Cruz
José de la Cruz
|Born||December 21, 1746|
Tondo, Manila, Captaincy General of the Philippines
|Died||March 12, 1829 (aged 82)|
Manila, Captaincy General of the Philippines
|Notable works||Clarito, Adela at Florante, Flora at Clavela, Rodrigo de Vivar, La Guerra Civil de Granad, Ibong Adarna|
José de la Cruz (21 December 1746 – 12 March 1829) more popularly known as Huseng Sisiw, was one of the great Filipino writers during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. He is given the honor of Hari ng makatang tagalog (King of Filipino Poetry) in the Philippines.
De la Cruz was born in Tondo, Manila on December 21, 1746.
His family was illfated and he could not afford to study. However, by his own efforts, he was able to learn "Katon at Cartilla" (Spanish primers), Doctrina Christiana (Christian doctrines), Philosophy, Canon law and Theology.
One day when he was taking a bath on a river near their house, two Jesuits passed by and asked him for the right way. Because of de la Cruz' fondness of reading, he was able to understand their language (they were Spaniards) and was able to communicate with them. The Spaniards were amazed by his intelligence and his politeness that they were not able to go to their destination, but instead they just talked with him more to get to know him better. De la Cruz was eight years old then.
When he was a teenager, he started to have a better understanding in the Tagalog language, think bigger ideas, and possess writing skills that awaken the heart and soul of the people partly (or mostly) due to his constant reading of the Bible.
Besides Spanish and Tagalog language, he also learned Latin and Greek. He could also manage to write plays in just a span of time. During a town feast in the province of Batangas one time, he was invited to stage one of his plays. The priest of the event told him to stage a play based on a historical event instead. He was forced to write a story and teach the actors in one night, but the play was still a success. He could also simultaneously dictate poems into five different verses, all at the same time.
He was known for his ability to write poems well that many are asking him to teach them how to rhyme words. He was given the name "Huseng Sisiw" (José of the Chicks) because if ever someone asks him to write a poem about love, he wants live chicks ("sisiw" in Tagalog) to be given to him as a payment. In addition, his dietary preferences involved eating younger livestock, those that have not yet reached adulthood, even in vegetables and roasted pig.
...my works have their own minds. I thought that I do not need a book that is expensive, but a book that has substance and meaning. — José de la Cruz to arrogant experts and were able to finish their studies
De la Cruz was one of the three poets whose names are prominent for the use of "Corrido", a type/style of poem, in the history of Literature. The other two are Francisco Balagtas, his student, and Ananias Zorilla. Some of his writings with corrido style are Clarito, Adela at Florante, Flora at Clavela, Doce Pares de Francia, Rodrigo de Villas, and the famous Historia Famoso de Bernardo Carpio.
He is also given the honor of Hari ng mga Makata (King of the poets) in the Philippines.
According to the elders, de la Cruz was very careful with his writings and he was never contented with the works that were considered good to others. Therefore, only a few of his pieces were known. Some of his works were shown in Tondo Theatre, owned by Domingo Celis.
Songs and Ballads
- Adela at Florante
- Teodoro at Clavela
- Rodrigo de Villas
- Historia Famosa ni Bernardo Carpio
- La Guerra Civil de Granada (The Civil War of Granada)
- Hernandez at Galisandra
- Rodrigo de Vivar
- Reina Encantada ó Casamiento de Fuerza (Enchanted Queen or Marriage of Force)
- Los Dos Virreyes ó la Copa de Oro
- Principe Baldovino
- Conde Rodrigo de Villas
- El Amor y la Envidia (Love and Envy)
- Don Gonzalo de Cordoba
- Jason at Medea
- (in Tagalog) Mga Dakilang Pilipino, ni Jose N. Sevilla sa Project Gutenberg
- (in Tagalog) Jose de la Cruz (Huseng Sisiw).
- Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography, Volume 1. Quezon City: Filipiniana Publications, 1955.