He was the greatest Filipino writer of his generation. Over six decades and a half, he produced a body of work unmatched in richness and range by any of his contemporaries. Living a life wholly devoted to the craft of conjuring a world through words, he was the writer’s writer. In the passion with which he embraced his country’s manifold being, he was his people’s writer as well. Nick Joaquin was born in the old district of Paco in Manila, Philippines, on September 15, 1917, the feast day of Saint Nicomedes, a protomartyr of Rome, after whom he took his baptismal name.
He was born to a home deeply Catholic, educated, and prosperous. His father, Leocadio Joaquin, was a person of some prominence. Leocadio was a procurador (attorney) in the Court of First Instance of Laguna, where he met and married his first wife, at the time of the Philippine Revolution. He shortly joined the insurrection, had the rank of colonel, and was wounded in action. When the hostilities ceased and the country came under American rule, he built a successful practice in law. Around 1906, after the death of his first wife, he married Salome Marquez, Nick’s mother.
A friend of General Emilio Aguinaldo, Leocadio was a popular lawyer in Manila and the Southern Tagalog provinces. He was unsuccessful however when he made a bid for a seat in the Philippine Assembly representing Laguna. Nick Joaquin’s mother was a pretty, well-read woman of her time who had studied in a teacher-training institute during the Spanish period. Though still in her teens when the United States took possession of the Philippines, she was among the first to be trained by the Americans in English, a language she taught in a Manila
Maramag was a poet, newspaperman, and editor of the Manila Tribune. He was born in Ilagan, Isabela, on January 21,1893. He was educated at Isabela High School, Philippine Normal School, and the University of the Philippines. Many of his poems were published in various newspaper. Some of his more famous poems were : “A Christ without the Cross,” “The Atheist,” “Jose Rizal,” “Christmas,” and “ ...