Jose Corazon de Jesus

Known as the King of the Balagtasan and as Makata ng Puso, José Corazón de Jesús was born in Manila on November 22, 1896. He wrote Tagalog poetry during the American occupation of the Philippines (1901-1946).

His most famous work is the Tagalog poem Bayan Ko (My Country, 1929), which was used as lyrics for a patriotic song that became popular during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the 1980s. His pen name was Huseng Batute. He died on May 26, 1932, and is buried in Manila’s North Cemetery.

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TULA: Ang Tren

Tagalog poem written by Jose Corazon de Jesus

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Kasabihan: Filipino Sayings

The difference between a saying and a proverb? Not much.

According to definitions in the dictionary:

A saying (kasabihan) is an often repeated and familiar expression. Example of usage in sentence: That’s an old saying we have here in the Philippines.

A proverb (salawikain) is an old and popular saying that illustrates something such as a basic truth or a practical precept. Example of an English proverb: “Slow and steady wins the race.”

Simplified to the extreme, a proverb is a saying that is older and has more history!

Recognize this saying?

Wala nang hihigit pang kadakilaan sa pag-alay ng buhay sa bayan.
There is no greater nobility than offering one’s life to the nation.
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Mga Epiko ng Pilipinas

Ang epiko’y isang may kahabaang salaysay ng kabayanihan na kadalasa’y may uring angat sa kalikasan. Ang himig ay totohanan, ang balangkas ay paikut-ikot, at ang pananalita ay angat sa karaniwan.

The Filipino word for ‘epic’ is epiko from the Spanish. Philippine epics are lengthy narrative poems based on oral tradition. The verses were chanted or sung while being passed from generation to generation before being written on paper. The plots of their stories revolve around supernatural events and heroic deeds.

With the diversity of ethnic groups in the Philippines, Filipino epics are not national in scope the way the Kaleva is in Finland, for example. Instead of glorifying national heroes, Philippine epics are specific to a particular part of the country, and thus they are referred to as ethno-epics or regional epics. In fact, the epic poems of the Philippines are in many different languages, not just the currently dominant Tagalog.
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Salawikain: Tagalog Proverbs

The Tagalog word for “proverb” is salawikain. Here are a few examples of Filipino proverbs with English and/or Spanish translations!

Nagpapakain ma’t masama sa loob, ang pinakakain hindi nabubusog.
Si el que invita esta pesaroso, el invitado no se queda satisfecho. Continue reading “Salawikain: Tagalog Proverbs”


Ang Darangan ay epiko ng Maranaw. Isa ito sa matatawag na matandang epiko ng Pilipinas.

Kahit na sinunog ng mga Kastila ang mga kasulutang Pilipino na kanilang natagpuan sa kanilang pagdating, ang Darangan ay hindi naparamay, manapa’y ito ay natirang katunayan ng pagkakaroon natin ng sariling panitikang hindi hiram. Ang Daragan ay nakalimbag sa matalinong kaisipan ng mga makatang Maranaw.

The Darangan of the Maranao is recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

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Mga Bugtong at Sagot

Mga Bugtong: Tagalog Riddles

Isang balong malalim, punong-puno ng patalim.
A deep well that is full of chisels.


Click here for more Tagalog riddles with English translation!

TULA: Ang Salapi

Arguably the most insightful poem written in any language about the nature of money. Penned in Tagalog by the prolific Filipino poet Jose Corazon de Jesus.

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