A few poets in Chabacano left for posterity their footprints. One of them is the talented writer Eliodoro Ballesteros. The sonnetist of the old town of
, located between Cavite Puerto and
Caridad, saw the light of day born on 18 February 1892. His family resided at San Roque Padre José P. Burgos Street.
Our investigative effort has unearthed solely two published works in Chabacano. The first of Ballesteros’ poems has eight stanzas and is titled Piesta (Fiesta).This poem had gained worldwide renown when it saw print in a book published in
in 1965. The lengthy work is an
invitation for everyone to attend the famed fiestas in honor of the Virgen de
la Soledad. Both Caviteño and non-Caviteño
folk take pride in the fact that the canonically crowned Marian image
has been venerated at her shrine right in the heart of the echanting city for
over three hundred years now. Madrid
Ballesteros’ fine verses depict the festive ambiance during the first two weekends of November. The well-known fiestas of
Ballesteros’ second poem El Chavacano Caviteño saw print in the souvenir program of the oath-taking rites of Círculo Chabacano Caviteño officers and members of 1968-1969. The Caviteño board had first recited it himself at the Montano Auditorium in
inauguration of the Círculo on 26 September 1964. The verses depict the
linguistic ancestry and characteristics of the local Caviteño variant.
Ballesteros urged fellow Caviteños to be proud of their “holy, grandious
heritage.” He hoped that every native son of Cavite
would always and everywhere speak Chabacano, offspring of the long-lasting
marriage of “the Tagalog and Spanish languages” which was taught to him by his
dear parents. Speaking the local tongue
is not that bad, it does not signify the repudiation of Tagalog, English or
Spanish. Knowing Chabacano is continuing the tradition of countless generations
of authentic and “legitimate” residents of Cavite City, or as Ballesteros calls
them “caviteños di cara y corazón.” Cavite City
Ballesteros likewise authored exquisite Spanish religious poetry. His cousin José Ballesteros composed solely Spanish verses published in magazines and newspapers of the American period, besides translating several English and Tagalog songs into Spanish.
Three beautiful sonnets to Our Lady of Porta Vaga flowed from Eliodoro’s inspired pen: namely, A la Santísima Virgen de la Soledad (To the Most Holy Virgin of Solitude), Homenaje (Homage) y Ante tu trono (Before Your Throne). The three religious odes reveal the poet’s deep personal devotion to Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga, like a faithful interpreter of the people’s centuries-old profound Marian piety.
Eliodoro Ballesteros passed away on 21 June 1973. He was 81. Existing