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October 18, 1922|
La Paz, Iloilo City, Philippine Islands
|Died||March 5, 1989(aged 66)|
Ruben Tagalog (October 18, 1922 - March 5, 1989) was a Filipino actor and musician, famous for his works in the Kundiman style. He was also one of the founders of the singing group Mabuhay Singers. Today,he is now known as the 'Father of Kundiman'. As of May 2016, the only sister he has left that is still alive is Virginia T. De Joya who is currently confined in Veterans Memorial Medical Center. He used to perform in front of the Japanese back when Japan colonized the Philippines.
He first caught the attention of radio listeners in the 1940s when he hosted his own radio program, Harana ni Ruben Tagalog. His baritone voice filled his songs Ramona, "O Ilaw",Sayang, Azucena and Nasaan Ka Ngayon with emotion. He revived danzas and balitaws like Nahan Kaya Ikaw, Bakit Ka Lumuluha, Barong Tagalog, Dalagang Pilipina and Caprichosa. He was the first artist to record Bayan Ko and Ang Pasko ay Sumapit.
In spite of his last name being "Tagalog", he was actually a Visayan from Iloilo and was a speaker of the Visayan language Hiligaynon (aka Ilonggo). He released at least two Cebuano Visayan albums. "Ruben Tagalog sings Visayan Songs" and a duet album with Cebuana singer Nora Hermosa called "Duet In Visayan".
In the early 1950s he became the first to popularize the Tagalog version of the 1933 Visayan Christmas carol "Kasadya Ning Taknaa" as "Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit". The Tagalog lyrics were written by Levi Celerio. He is also famous for performing Panahon 'tang Nagdaan, a Kundiman composed by Ambrosio Del Rosario.
He died in March 5,1989 at the age of 66.