Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Feature Article
Pascual Poblete is born

May 17, 2018

ON MAY 17, 1857, Pascual H. Poblete, a Filipino writer and publisher, one of the Tagalog translators of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere, was born in Naic, Cavite to Francisco Hicaro and Maria Poblete. He was named Pascual Hicaro at birth but would later adopt his mother’s maiden name for his surname. Pascual finished his Bachelor in Arts degree at the Liceo de Manila.

He had been contributing columns and essays for La Oceanie Española before he and Marcelo H. del Pilar founded in 1882, Diariong Tagalog, the first bilingual newspaper in the Philippines. He edited the Tagalog section and Marcelo H. del Pilar the Spanish section.

Appointed member of the pacification campaign in Nueva Vizcaya by Spanish Governor General Fernando Primo de Rivera, Poblete later incurred the wrath of the Spanish authorities. He was separated from the government as a “dangerous man”, and then finally held “incomunicado”. On October 12, 1896, he was banished to Spain as a political prisoner. However, this did not deter him from putting out the paper El Progreso de Madrid (the Progress of Madrid), which was managed by a Spanish friend. He befriended other influential Spanish liberals, including Ministro de Ultramar Segismundo Moret, who secured his release from prison.

Returning to Manila in 1899, he was arrested, this time, by the American authorities and imprisoned in Fort Santiago. After his release he began contributing articles to several Manila dailies including the Taliba, La Vanguardia, and El Mercantil.

In 1901, Poblete, together with Isabelo delos Reyes, put up a pro-labor newspaper El Grito del Pueblo and would later help delos Reyes to organize the first national labor union in the country, the Union Obrero Democratica (UOD). Poblete helped delos Reyes and Father Gregorio Aglipay in establishing the Iglesia Filipina Independiente or the Aglipayan church in 1902. He also helped organize the Partido Nacionalista (Nationalista Party)

Poblete is also remembered for writing the Tagalog translation of the novel Noli Me Tangere of Dr. Jose Rizal in 1909. A great admirer of Dr. Rizal, he published several articles about the hero. It was an article published in July 1901 that Poblete broached the idea of setting up a Rizal monument on the Luneta. Consequently, the Philippine Commission approved Act No. 243 authorizing a fund campaign for the erection of the monument.

Poblete also wrote dramas and zarzuelas (song and dance skits) in Tagalog. The presentation of his play entitled Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa (Love of Native Land) so irked the American authorities that Poblete and Pedro Reyes, the director of the play, were ordered arrested.

Pascual married Leonicia Rieta of Manila, having died left him five children. Poblete decided to remarry, his second wife, a Spanish lady, Rafaela Alemany, by whom he had seven children.

Pascual H. Poblete dubbed as the “Ama ng Diariong Tagalog” (father of Tagalog Newspaper) died of heart attack in Manila on February 5, 1921.

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