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April 12, 2010 | History

Alberto Segismundo Cruz

November 11, 1901 - 1989

Born in Tondo, Manila, Philippines. Was a poet, short story writer and novelist. He wrote for Bulaklak, Liwayway, Silahis, Kislap, Tagumpay - the country's leading weekly magazines during his time. Was poet laureate of the Republic of the Philippines in 1945. Won the Commonwealth literary awards in the 1940s and the Rizal Centennial Literary Awards in 1961 . His contemporaries were Amado V. Hernandez, Fausto Galauran, Nemesio Caravana and Liwayway Arceo. He was one of the best 50 writers of the Philippines.

He was born in Sta. Cruz, Manila on November 21, 1901 to Bartolome Cruz of Kaingin, Barasoain, Malolos, Bulacan and Eriberta Segismundo of Tondo, Manila. His father was the manager of a hat establishment in Binondo, Manila. He was married to Patrocinio Lopez Cruz of Tondo and Naic, Cavite, a hometown beauty queen when they met.

Education -
He began his early education at a kindergarten school ran by Maestra Enchang on Folgueras St., Tondo and Colegio La Juventud ran by Prof. Perfecto del Rosario. He also went to the Tondo Primary School and the Meisic Elementaryu School.

He finished high school at the Manila North High School, now Arellano High School, in Sta, Cruz,Manila. He was in the same class (1922) as Lorenzo Sumulong, revered Philippine senator. He went to the University of the Philippines and National University, where he obtained his A.A. degree from the latter. He finished his law studies at the Philippine Law School and became a member of the Philippine Bar in 1939.

As a student he was given these various honors:
Sobresaliente, Lectura Castella, Colegio La Juventud
Honor Student, Tondo Primary School
Model Student, Meisic Primary School
Distinguished Student and Declaimer, Tondo Interrmediate School
Class Poet, Manila North High School
Orator, Philipojne Law Scool (PLS)
Senator, PLS Junior Philippine Senate
Editor, The National, student organ of the National University

His literary and journalism career -
As a newsman and writer, he was a member of the pre-war TVT Publication (Taliba-La Vanguardia-Triubune). He covered Malacanang, the Senate and Congress. He contributed countless articles, features, short stories to the newspapers and magazines of his time. He was one of the few who was a prolific writer in both English and Filipino.

Literary honors:
Holder of the Literary Award Record in short story and poetry in the pre-war Taliba and Liwayway

Winner, Commonwealth Literary Contest (1940)

Novelist of the Republic for his novel "Muling Pagsilang" (1942 ), adjudged by a juror headed by Claro M. recto

Poet Laureate of the Republic (1947), with Simeon Mercado

Winner, book-essay, Rizal National Centennial Commission (1961), with Leopoldo Yabes

Winner, poetry, Rizal National Centennial Commission (1961)

Public and government service -
As a lawyer, he was associated with Atty. M. V. Roxas and F. Soc Rodrigo.

He was a first grade civil service eligible and writer-translator, an attorney under Republic Act No. 1080, and attorney-claim investigator under the Judge Advocate General Office (1947).

He was in the Press Relations Division and also the Legal Division of the Office of the President of the Commonwealth from February 10, 1939 till December 31, 1941.

He was corrector of style and professor in Filipino and translation technique at the National Assembly (1942). He was Inspector General of the National Land Settlement Administration from March 24, 1948 to December 31, 1949.

From February 5, 1949 to December 31, 1950 he was an assistant at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

He was appointed Justice of the Peace for Indang-Inopacan Leyte on August 16, 1951, but did serve due to his commitments in the country's capital, Manila.

He was special attorney and legislative researcher at the Phillpine Senate from March 1, 1951 until he retired from government service in 1961.

He is remembered, first, as a novelist, short story writer and poet. His works graced the pages of the prime entertainment sources of his time - the newspapers and weekly magzines, such as, Liwayway, Bulaklak, Silahis, Kislap Graphic and, then later, Tagumpay. His short story "Rosa Malaya" was featured in the high school textbook Diwang Ginto. He was included in the top 100 short story writers of his time in a book edited by Pedrito Reyes, "Isang Daang Kuwentong Ginto". His novels "Ang Bungo", "Lakandula" and "Halimuyak" had been published as college textbook by Ateneo University.

In service to the government and country -
As the first accredited vernacular newsman in Malacanang, he was the first newspaperman welcomed by President Manuel Quezon to write and translate his speeches, addresses and pronouncements into the National Language, making it possible to bring the message of the Chief Executive and make it better understood by the people. To-be-president Diosdado Macapagal was in the same press relations office in Malacanang at that time.

As lawyer of the Tondo Foreshore Residents' Association, he was instrumental in the preparation of a bill that granted the right to thousands of poor bonafide occupants of the Tondo foreshore area to purchase the lots they had occupied since liberation on an installment plan basis. He argued for them in the hearings until the bill became Republic Act 559, benefitting thousands of families in the Tondo foreshore area.

Inspired by the late Claro M. Recto and Jose P. Laurel, Sr., he initiated together with Jose Villa Panganiban, who became Director of the Institute of National Language, the project to translate into Filipino all acts and resolutons of the Congress of the Philippoines in order that the people may understand better their rights and obligations as citizens.

Final years -
Alberto immigrated to the United States in the mid-1960s to be with his children and grandchildren. His last work was "Sariling Parnaso", a collection of poems. He had ten children, who all ended up living in the United States.

He came back to the Philippines and spent the rest of his years at the house he and wife, Patrocinio, built in Project 8, Quezon City.

In a fitting tribute to his wife who had been his lifetime partner, inspiration and caregiver when he became bedridden, he wrote a love poem, part of which is inscribed in his epitaph and goes like this:

"Kung wala nang bango ang mga bulaklak,
Kung wala nang init ang sikat ng araw na pumapalaso sa bunton ng ulap,
Kung wala nang halik sa dalampasigan ang alon sa dagat,
Kung wala nang huni ang ibon na sa punong-kahoy ay palipatlipat,
Saka mo lamang matatap, na ang kudyapi ko'y nagtampo na't sukat,
kasabay ng aking naglahong pangarap."

He passed away in 1987 at the age of 86.

What they wrote about him -
His friend and contemporary National Artist Amado V. Hernandez who also grew up in Tondo had the highest respect for Alberto. "Siya'y isa kong iginagalang na makata at manunulat."

"Sa ilang nobela ni Alberto Segismundo Cruz ay makikita ang pagsasanib ng tradisyonal na tema ng protesta at ilang elemento ng modernismo. Bagama't karaniwang ipinalalagay na kasabay nina Fausto Galauran at Narcisco Asistio, higit na makatwirang ibilang si Cruz sa henerasyon ng mga manunulat na naging kilala matapos ang digmaan.

"Sa kanyang mga nobela ay ipinahayag ni Cruz ang kanyang pagkabahala sa masasamang epekto ng pagpasok ng kaunlaran o sibilisasyon sa Pilipinas. Sa "Halimuyak" at "Lakandula", inilarawan ni Cruz ang isang bayang tahimik at matulain bago ito sinalanta ng sibilisasyon o kaunlaran. Ang ganitong tema ng pagkawasak ng likas na katahimikan at kagandahan ay inilangkap ni Cruz sa kuwento ng pag-ibig." - Soledad Reyes, Ateneo University

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History Created April 1, 2008 · 5 revisions Download catalog record: RDF / JSON

April 12, 2010 Edited by Open Library Bot Added photos to author pages.
September 10, 2009 Edited by Edited without comment.
March 5, 2009 Edited by Percival Edited without comment.
September 4, 2008 Edited by RenameBot fix author name
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user initial import