Fernando M. Maramag: Biography and Poems

Fernando Mamuri Maramag was a Filipino poet, journalist, editor, essayist, and teacher. He was born on January 21, 1893 in Ilagan, Isabela. His father was Rafael Maramag and his mother was Victoria Mamuri, a Spanish mestiza. At the age of 15, Maramag went to study at the Philippine Normal School (now Philippine Normal University). He later transferred to the University of the Philippines where he graduated. In UP, Maramag wrote for the school paper and soon became the editor-in-chief. 

During his stay in UP, he became classmates with Jose Hilario and Pilar Hidalgo Lim. When he was 21, Maramag became the principal at the prestigious Instituto de Manila. He also taught as an English professor at UP and at San Juan de Letran. 

Maramag married Constancia Ablaza. They had six children.

Maramag worked as an editor for various publications including The Manila Tribune, Rising Philippines, The Philippines Herald, and the National Weekly. Maramag also worked for the Philippine government as the chief of the publications division of the Department of Justice. He later served as the technical assistant to Manuel L. Quezon, then President of the Philippine Senate. 

Maramag died on October 23, 1936. On January 21, 1983, a commemorative marker was installed in his hometown in Isabela to honor his contributions to Philippine literature. 

  • The Rural Maid
  • To a Youth
  • Moonlight on Manila Bay
  • My Queen Tagala
  • The Atheist
  • A Christ Without a Cross
  • Jose Rizal
  • The Presentation
Moonlight on Manila bay

A light serene, ethereal glory, rests
Its beams on each cresting wave;
The silver touches of the moonlight lave
The deep's bare bosom that the breeze molests;  
While lingering whispers deepen as the wavy crests
Roll with weird rhythm, now gay, now gently grave;
And floods of lambent light appear the sea to pave - 
All cast as spell that heeds not time's behests.
Not always such the scene: the din of fight
Has swelled the murmur of the peaceful air;
Here East and West have oft displayed their might;
Dark battle clouds have dimmed this scene so fair;
Here bold Olympia, one historical night,
Presaging freedom, claimed a people's care.

"Fernando M. Maramag was born in Iligan, isabela in 1893. He is considered the country's first important poet in English. Records show that his works dominated The College Folio from December 1910 to November 1912, and R. Dato's Filipino Poetry (1924). A poer and essayist, Maramag's translated Ibanag folk songs into English, such as the "Cagayanon labor Song", "A Translation of an Orphan's Song", and "Cagayano Peasant Song". His poems include "To a Youth", "The Aetheist", and "Moonlight on Manila Bay". His essays were anthologized in Leopoldo Yabes's Filipino Essays in English 1910-1954 (1954). He passed away on October 23, 1936." [Source: Philippine Literature: An Introduction to Poetry, Fiction and Drama by Baritugo, Caranguian, Punsalan, Solmerano]