Jose de Jesus was a poet who used Tagalog poetry to express the Filipinos' desire
for independence during the American occupation of the Philippines.
JOSE DE JESUS
He is best known for being the lyricist of the Filipino song Bayan Ko.
de Jesus wrote a column in verse for the Tagalog newspaper Taliba. The column was
called Buhay Maynila (Manila Life) which he wrote under the pseudonym Huseng Batute.
Through his column, de Jesus satirized society under the American colonizers and
espoused independence. de Jesus published some 4,000 poems in his Buhay Maynila column.
In March 1924, de Jesus and other leading writers in Tagalog met to discuss how to
celebrate the birth anniversary of Tagalog poet Francisco Balagtas. They decided
to hold a traditional duplo, or a dramatic debate in verse that was in its waning
days. They changed the format of the duplo and renamed it balagtasan in honor of
Balagtas. The audience were most impressed by de Jesus and another Filipino poet,
Florentino Collantes. The balagtasan was an instant hit and it later became a common
feature in Manila's biggest and most expensive theatres until the 1950s.
de Jesus is best known for being the lyricist of the Filipino song Bayan Ko.