Claro Caluya

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Claro Caluya
22 June 1868 – 14 December 1914
Place of birth: Piddig, Ilocos Norte
Place of death:
Parents: Rafael Caluya and Norberta Pasion
Spouse: Sabina Aquino

Claro Caluya (1868 – 1914) was an Ilocano poet and dramatist who was known during his time as the “Prince of Iloko Poets”. He wrote many poems in Ilocano, including a translation of Jose Rizal’s “Ultimo Adios.”


Early Life and Education

Caluya was born on 22 June 1868 in Piddig, Ilocos Norte. His father, Rafael Caluya, served as second lieutenant and tobacco inspector representing the mayor during the Spanish regime. His mother, Norberta Pasion, was a teacherg in Piddig. He studied in the town’s school for his primary education. Later on, he attended a private grammar school in Laoag.


In 1884, Caluya worked for the Spanish government as a scribe in the municipal court. He was named cabeza de barangay in 1890 and gobernadorcillo in 1893.

During the 1896 Revolution, he was assigned by the Spanish government to join the volunteer corps against the revolutionaries. However, he soon joined the revolutionary forces and servedfrom 1896 to 1897. He was held in the provincial jailafter being captured during the Filipino – American War, and was later on transferred to Manila where he was incarcerated until 1902.

He returned to Piddig after his release and was appointed municipal president from 1902 – 1905. During his term of office, barrio schools were opened, civic and cultural groups were organized, local industries and harp-making were introduced, and the first public market in town was built. He also became the special enumerator of the Census office.

Literary Works

Caluya wrote many poems and plays but most of his best works were unpublished. His lyric poems were commonly addressed to the objects of his affection. He was called the “prince of Iloko poets” and the young poets of his time were often heard reciting his poems. His works include the following:

Love Poems

  • “Ken Barang”
  • “Ken Pasing”
  • “Ken Eugenia Barrera”
  • “Panagpinnakada”
  • “Luluac ti di Agsarday”
  • “Dinaccad Dil-dilawen”
  • “Uggot a Dipay Nagocrad”
  • “Barocongcot Marupsan Agayat Laeng”


  • Aldeana
  • La Aventurera


  • Pateg ti Umma a Cari
  • Napatpateg ti Ayat ti Ili

He is the composer of the Ilocano song, “Bannatiran”, a song about a bird which he described as perfectly beautiful.

Personal Life

In May 1886, Caluya married Sabina Aquino, but they had no children. He died on 14 December 1914.

Recognition in Recent Times

The townsfolk of Piddig, Ilocos Norte, honor the contributions of Caluya to their town. In recognition of his efforts, a monument was built in front of the municipal hall. The spot where the monument stands is called the “Don Claro Caluya Green Garden”.

The official logo of St. Anne Academy in Piddig includes a harp that symbolizes the cultural riches of the town and that is meant to remind the students of the talents of Caluya.

External Links




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