Fernando Bagonbanta was one of the early native versifiers of the   17th century. He was born in Abucay, Bataan and his parentage is   unknown. In his time he was known as a ladino, the name given to   natives who had mastered the Spanish language. The ladinos were trained or educated in parish or catechetical schools and were used as interpreters and informants. Ladino was also used to designate those literary works which were actually Spanish romances and poems.


Bagonbanta's popularity as a writer of metrical romances in   Tagalog and Spanish can be traced to as far back as 1606. His works  were characterized by restraint and by the religious tone that dominated his compositions. The religious could not be avoided as the friars were dominant during that period. Their influence was strongly  felt in every segment of organized society.


One of Bagonbanta's works was Salamat nang Walang Hanggan or Gracias Se Den Sempitemas.


   The Tagalog original is as follows:



Salamat na walang hangga                  

gracias se den sempitemas                  

na nagpasilang nang tala                     

al que hizo salir la estrella                  

macagpanao ng dilim                      

que destierros la tineblas                  

sa lahat ng bayan natin.                    

de todo nuestro tierra.


                   In English, it is translated thus:


Eternal thanks are offered                    

to the one who made the stars                 

who drive away the darkness                  

from all our land.


In another poem, Bagonbanta wrote a dedication to Fr. P. Blanca San Jose.


Icao ang iquinahahalad                    

tu hacen clara y manifesta

                   nang bait na walang capara                     

de singular destreza

                   Nang Padre may catha nito                     

de su Padre autor de su empresa

                  At ang kasipagan niya                     

y su ran deligencia

                  Sa paghahanap nang limbagan.

                   en el buscar de la imprenta.


   Translated in English, it reads:


                   You are exposed clear and manifest

                   of comparable wisdom

                  of the Father,, Author of your

                   enterprise and your diligence

                  in looking for print.



Fernando Bagonbanta gave invaluable assitance to P. Blanca de San Jose in the editing of the Artes y Regla en la Lengua Tagala and in the writing of the Memorial de Za Vida Cristiana Catolica in 1606. Eventually he became a trusted and close friend of the friars.


No available information about the later years of Fernando Bagonbanta are available.