Jose Garvida Flores

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José Garvida Flores (December 9, 1900 – August 12, 1944) was an Ilocano writer from Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. He was a poet and playwright, compiling several collections of poems, Wayawaya ken Sabsabali a Dandaniw (Liberty and a Collection of Poems), Pitik Ti Puso (Heartbeat), Kaanunto (When Will It Be), Tanda Ti Ayanayat (In Remembrance of Love), and plays such as Dagiti Ayanayat ni Dr. Jose Rizal (The Many Loves of Dr. José Rizal), and Ayat Iti Ili ken Dadduma Pay a Drama (Love of Country and Other Dramas).


José Garvida Flores was born in Bangui to the town's first presidente (top town official then), Rufo Manegdeg Flores and Maria Agullana Garvida at the turn of the 20th century. He was the sixth and only boy in the family of seven children. He met Rosalina Lauyan Apostol† (1909–1955), a teacher from Batac, Ilocos Norte (graduated in 1933 at the Philippine Normal School), when she was assigned a teaching post in Bangui. They married on December 27, 1934 and settled down in his hometown. He was a romantic and dedicated some of his poems to her. They had four children, Dr. Prospero Flores, M.D. (born in 1935), Mrs. Oriente Flores-Arzadon (born in 1937), Fili† (1939–1945), and Capt. Bayani Flores (born in 1941).

His nephew, The Most Rev. Soliman Ganno y Flores†, Obispo Maximo VII[1] was the seventh Supreme Bishop (from 1987–1989) of Iglesia Filipina Independiente.


He was orphaned early in life but supported himself through school by writing for, or serving as staff in newspapers and magazines published in Laoag and Manila. He was the only one among his siblings who graduated in college, attending night classes that led him to finish a degree of Bachelor of Laws at the Philippine Law School in 1932 during the pre-Commonwealth period.


José Garvida Flores went back to Bangui after passing the bar in 1933 to practice law but continued writing whenever it was possible. His clientele, who became lifelong friends, were generally farmers who paid him in kind rather than cash. His articles were not only written in Ilocano (Bannawag* and Ti Bagnos*), but also in English (The Tribune), and in Spanish (La Lucha* and El Norte*), etc. He was also editor-in-chief of Dangadang*, another Ilocano newspaper, which he published together with Santiago S. Fonacier. He ran for congress in the first district of Ilocos Norte, but his meagre financial resources kept him from winning in politics.

*Bannawag (Dawn), Ti Bagnos (The Guide), La Lucha (Struggle), El Norte (The North), Dangadang (Struggle)

Literary works[edit]


  • Filipinas, Nadayag a Filipinas (Philippines, Beloved Philippines)[2]
  • No Awan Siit, Awan Balangat (If There is No Thorn, There is No Crown)[3]
  • Pitik Ti Puso - Napili a Dandaniw a Mairukney iti Daga a Nakayanakan; Dandaniw iti Nalibuos a Filipina Maipapan iti Natanok a Biag (Heartbeat - Selected Poems Dedicated to the Land of Birth; A Poem about a Charming Filipina of Good Moral Values) / 29p, Laoag, I.N. 1928
  • Wayawaya ken Sabsabali a Dandaniw (Liberty and A Collection of Poems) / 24p, Dangadang, Bangui, I.N. 1931
  • Kaanunto (When Will It Be)
  • Tanda Ti Ayanayat (In Remembrance of Love)
  • Lina Rosa

Dramas / Plays / Zarzuela Ilocana[edit]

  • Teriang, a colourful village maiden’s life which hit local theatres because of its natural and well-organized dialogue.
  • Ayat Iti Ili ken Dadduma Pay a Drama (Love of Country and Other Dramas) / with English translation
  • Dagiti Ayanayat ni Dr. Jose Rizal - Maipabuya a Putar ni José Garvida Flores (The Many Loves of Dr. José Rizal - Playwright José Garvida Flores) / 51p, Dangadang, Manila 1940

Short Stories[edit]

  • Maria Karayuman was a favorite among his elder children.


He translated classic literature such as Rudyard Kipling’s If— and José Rizal’s Mi Último Adios both into the Iloco/Ilocano language.

Japanese Occupation[edit]

Bangui was among the many towns in Ilocos Norte that was burned down. Then governor Roque Ablan Sr. was evading capture by the Japanese, therefore designated José Garvida Flores to act as governor. He kept on writing but eventually had to work in the fields to survive the turmoil. Unable to cope with physical labor he wasn't accustomed to, his health slowly deteriorated. Yet even in his ill condition, he remained kind-hearted and showed compassion to Japanese soldiers who were left famished and stranded. He was acting governor until his death from a lingering illness on August 12, 1944.

20th-21st Century[edit]

In the mid 1950s, a University of the Philippines professor sent an emissary to Bangui to collect his original works and promised to return them. To his family's dismay, they were never sent back, thus feared the loss of his writings. Nevertheless, these literary works, Wayawaya Ken Sabsabali a Dandaniw (1931), Pitik ti Puso (1928), Dagiti Ayanayat ni Dr. Rizal, and Ayat Iti Ili ken Dadduma Pay a Drama (Iloko Drama Collection) have been safely kept after all these years at the University of the Philippines' Diliman Main Library and studied at the said prestigious institution. The same works are also listed in Philippine eLib, a collaborative project of the National Library of the Philippines (NLP), University of the Philippines (UP), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

During his term as congressman, the late Rep. Antonio Raquiza passed a bill to rename Sentinella Hill in Bangui as José Garvida Flores Park (its construction was initiated and government-funded but was never completed and recognized as such).

José Garvida Flores' love of the Philippines and the apparent strive for his country's independence were manifested in his literary works. He wrote the poem Filipinas, Nadayag A Filipinas even before he was a lawyer in 1933. Today, this literary piece is sung during Independence Day, and during ceremonies at the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church).

Although short-lived, José Garvida Flores is fondly remembered by the townsfolk as an exceptional man with a genuine heart. He is a treasured poet laureate of Bangui, and his famous work, Wayawaya Ken Sabsabali a Dandaniw, is featured at the Museo Ilocos Norte in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. His name continues to emerge as one of the better known Ilocano writers, playwrights/zarzuela libbretists of the 20th century.


  1. ^ The Most Rev. Soliman Ganno y Flores' fulfilling role as the Supreme Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church was brief due to a heart failure while he was praying at the altar of the National Cathedral of the Holy Child (IFI Central Office) in Manila.
  2. ^ "Filipinas, Nadayag a Filipinas" is sung during Independence Day, and ceremonies of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.
  3. ^ featured in Sangcareppet a Dandaniw (Parnaso Ilocano) [A Collection of Poems (Ilocano Literature)] compiled by Mauro Peña and Antonio Fogata (Manila, 1926) and re-published in Bannawag in 2004.