The Plaza Francisco Balagtas or the Liwasang Balagtas in Pandacan, Manila, is an open park with a monument dedicated to Filipino playwright Francisco Balagtas, also known Francisco Baltazar.
He is regarded as one of the most important poets in the country, known for his famous epic Florante at Laura, a piece that is required reading among elementary and hight school students across the Philippine islands.
The plaza features a water fountain in front of an white obelisk, with a bust of the famous writer as the centerpiece.The image of his head is adorned with a crown of laurel leaves, signifying his contributions in enriching Philippine literature.
Balagtas lived in Pandacan as a young adult, where important events that contributed to his career as a highly regarded playwright began to unfold.
It was there when he met and fell in love with Maria Asuncion Rivera and tried to win her hand in marriage. However Balagtas’ plans were foiled by another influential suitor named Marian Capule, who had the poet falsely accused and jailed.
Heartbroken and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, Balagtas poured his frustrations into his poetry, creating the literary masterpiece Florante at Laura. It is said that the story mirrored his own, and that the main characters reflected those he met in real life, especially Maria Asuncion Rivera, his literary muse.
Sadly original manuscripts in his handwriting did not survive to the present day.