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Leona Florentino (April 19, 1849-October 4, 1884) was a Filipino poet in the Spanish and Ilocano languages. She is considered as the "mother of Philippine women's literature" and the "bridge from oral to literary tradition".
Born to a wealthy and prominent family in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Florentino began to write her first verses in Ilocano at a young age. Despite her potential, she was not allowed to receive a university education because of her gender. Florentino was instead tutored by her mother, and then a series of private teachers. An educated Ilocano priest taught her advanced Spanish and encouraged her to develop her voice in poetry.
Due to the feminist nature of her writings, Florentino was shunned by her husband and son, and so was forced to live alone in exile and separately from her family. Florentino married a politician named Elias de los Reyes at the age of 14, and they had five children, including Isabelo de los Reyes, who would later become a Filipino writer and activist. She died at the age of 35.
First poetess of the Philippines. Born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, on April 19, 1849. Her poems were given international recognition at the Exposicion in Madrid in 1887 and in Paris in 1889. Died on October 4, 1884.
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