Reintroducing the musings of Luis G. Dato
We are so privileged to present some of the works of one of the early, maybe the right choice of word is pioneering, Bicolano poet and writer as personified by the consumate and dedicated muse-inspired Mr. Luis G. Dato himself. We consider him the uncrowned prince in his chosen discipline.
While other Bicolano writers departed for some foreign land to hone, practice, earn, get published, teach and share their talent, skill and knowledge, Mr. Dato confined himself in his native soil. It was not a futile choice for in the course of his musings, he was able to write a body of work, literary creations which would be difficult to emulate or attain.
His literary works include Manila, A Collection of Verses (published 1926), My Book of Verses (1926), The Instant Lyre (Manuscript), Vocabulario Bikol-Ingles-Kastila (1963), Kantahon na Bikol (1969), Morfologia kan Tataramon na Bikol (serialized in the Naga Times), Patotodon sa Bikol (Bikol Mail), Sarabihon sa Bikol.
Some of his works he cherished and considered important are Life of Christ (poems) Handiong (Bicol epic novel), Sonnets to the Brown Goddess, translations of the major poems of Rizal and other Filipino poets in Spanish, Sonnets of the Liberation.He also wrote poems on Coronation, Proclamation, Love Lyrics, Alma Mater, Christmas and religious. He had a collection of translation of Spanish, French, Mexican and Nicaraguan poets.
It is interesting that Mr. Dato enriched himself in good education. He had an Associate in Arts from U.P., 1926, finished BSE in (defunct) Southern Luzon College in 1949, Bachelor of Laws from the University of Nueva Cacees in 1951 although he started his law studies in UP College of Law, and earned masteral units from the UNC and St. Anthony College (now, University of Saint Anthony).
His curriculum vitae include working as a school teacher in Iriga Elementary School (1926), Baao Elementary School (1937-1939), faculty in Naga College (now Naga College Foundation) 1953-1954, University of Nueva Caceres, 1955-1967, St. Anthony College, 1947-1951, 1967. He entered local politics and became mayor of Baao from 1941-1947, then as Press Relation Officer at the Camarines Sur provincial governor’s office in 1951-1959.
He was an active member of the Sanghiran nin Bikol (1929-1931), Akademiang Bikol (1956), Naga City Press and Radio Club (1965-) and Los Viejos Alegres (1967-). Mr Dato was also the first editor of the Bicol Star (1933-1934), editor of Tingog nin Banwaan (1939-1940), staff of Bicolandia, Juan de la Cruz, Bicol Examiner, Naga Times and member of board of editors of the Bicol Mail.
Among his notable recognition include first prizes winnings in Bikol Meet Composition Contest (1922), UP high school oratorical contest (1924), UP Liberal Arts oratory (1926), UP literary writing (1926). He was also named “Outstanding Catholic Poet by the United Posts Laureate International (1965).
Dato was born on July 4, 1906 in Baao from the marriage of Eugenio Esplana Dato and Barbara Imperial Guevarra. His siblings include Rodolfo, Francisca Dato Flores, Soledad Hidalgo and Pablo Dato.
For a good helping of the woven words of the poet which will get posted on the Bicol House Journal, we are indebted to his grandson, Stephen Cenon Dato Talla, for the permission to republish some of the writings. The poems will grace the pages of The Bicol House Journal in future issue. It is an honor bestowed to us to share, read the inner thoughts and feel the words of LGD.