Pedro Bucaneg

[Father of Ilokano literature] (March 1592 - 1630 / Bantay, Abra / Philippines)

Biography of Pedro Bucaneg

Pedro Bucaneg poet

Pedro Bukaneg was a foremost Ilocano poet and Christian missionary born in Bantay, Abra.

Early Life

It is presumed that Bukaneg's ancestry is of the Itnegs. Born congenitally blind, he was thrown into a river by his parents. Luckily a laundrywoman picked and brought him to the local Augustinian monk, where he was baptized and given the name Pedro Bukaneg meaning a Christianized Itneg. He studied at the Augustinian convent in Manila where he developed his eloquence in the Spanish and Ilocano languages. He also used his extensive knowledge of the Itneg dialect to teach Spanish missionaries heading north.

"Father of Ilokano literature"

Bukaneg is acknowledged as the author of one of the Philippine' great epics entitled Biag ni Lam-ang (Life of Lam-ang). With his extensive knowledge of the Spanish and Ilocano language, he co-authored the Ilocano-Spanish grammar book and dictionary. In 1621, he took part in the publication of the first Ilocano book. His famous poem entitled "Patay" (Dead) shows his clear and vigorous philosophy on death. Many of his novenas, prayers and religious literature are in Ilocano, and edited by an Augustinian friar.

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