José de la Cruz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
José de la Cruz
BornDecember 21, 1746
Tondo, Manila, Captaincy General of the Philippines
DiedMarch 12, 1829(1829-03-12) (aged 82)
Manila, Captaincy General of the Philippines
Notable works"Singsing ng Pag-ibig"
Principe Baldovino

José de la Cruz (December 21, 1746 – March 12, 1829), more popularly known as Huseng Sisiw, was one of the great Tagalog writers during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. He is given the honor of "Hari ng Makatang Tagalog" (King of Tagalog Poetry) in the Philippines.[citation needed]


De la Cruz was born in Tondo, Manila on December 21, 1746.

His family was illfated and he could not afford to study.[1] However, by his own efforts, he was able to learn "Katon at Cartilla" (Spanish primers), Doctrina Christiana (Christian doctrines), Philosophy, Canon law and Theology.[citation needed]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[2]

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 the Chick) 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.[2]

He was also the mentor of Francisco Balagtas, a poet who would later be known as the "Father of Tagalog Literature" in poetry.[citation needed]

None of de la Cruz's works were ever published in his lifetime.[3]

Legacy[edit] 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 who were able to finish their studies[4]

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, Floro at Clavela, Doce Pares de Francia, Rodrigo de Villas, and the famous Historia Famoso de Bernardo Carpio.[citation needed]

He is also given the honor of "Hari ng Mga Makata" (King of the poets) in the Philippines.[citation needed]

Literary works[edit]

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 Dominos Celis.[4]


  • "Singsing ng Pag-ibig" (also known as "Ah...! Sayang Na Sayang")[3]
  • "Awa ng Pag-ibig" (also known as "Oh...! Kaawa-awang Buhay")[3]

Metrical romances[edit]

  • Clarita[5]
  • Adela at Florante[6]
  • Floro at Clavela
  • Doce Pares de Francia[7]
  • Rodrigo de Villas[8]



  1. ^ a b c "Mga Dakilang Pilipino, ni Jose N. Sevilla". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Mga Dakilang Pilipino, ni Jose N. Sevilla". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Lumbera, Bienvenido (1968). "Assimilation and Synthesis (1700-1800): Tagalog Poetry in the Eighteenth Century". Philippine Studies. Ateneo de Manila University Press. 16 (4): 650–660. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Mga, Dakilang Pilipino, ni Jose N. Sevilla". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference Lurtyerterthrthermbera was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference Lusdasdsdassdadasdfgrera was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference Lumberthertera was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ Cite error: The named reference tae bobo pwet was invoked but never defined (see the help page).