Thursday, February 7, 2013

"SIGLO DE ORO" in Manila's Streets and Plazas

 Lope de Vega (1562-1635)

In Rizal Avenue (Avenida area in Manila)  there is a street called LOPE DE VEGA named after the famous Spanish playwright of the Baroque period, Felix Lope de Vega y Carpio (1562-1635). Because we are separated now from the Spanish language, we hardly read or even know him, instead we read Shakespeare. Some of us gets only that chance to see or hear something about Lope de Vega, say if Instituto Cervantes, Manila would feature something about him. 

Looking at the street names and plazas of Manila you will also find Zurbaran, Cervantes and Calderon de la Barca, it does not only tells of our Spanish heritage but also Spanish history itself. Those names were representative of a period when Spanish arts and literature flourished . The period known in Spanish history as "SIGLO DE ORO" or the golden age.

Francisco de Zurbarán  (1598-1664) Probable self-portrait of Francisco Zurbarán as Saint Luke. Known mainly for his works with religious themes, Zurbarán represents a high point in Spanish Baroque art. If the name Zurbarán sounds familiar to Filipinos particularly in Metro Manila, it is because a street in Santa Cruz, Manila was named after him (now changed to Valeriano Fugoso Street), that's also the place many of us knows as Zurbaran, where a central market is located. Why do we change the names of our old streets?

"Agnus Dei" by celebrated Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbarán 

Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681)  Spanish playwright , another leading figure of the "Siglo de Oro" in Spanish literature. If Lope De Vega defined Spanish Baroque theater that time, De la Barca developed it. A plaza in Binondo used to be called "Plaza Calderon de la Barca", but now it carries the name  San Lorenzo Ruiz.

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616). The greatest Spanish playwright. His opus "Don  Quixote" is  a classic in world literature. He was a soldier in the "Battle of Lepanto", where he was wounded and lost the use of his left arm. Thus he was also knowns as "el manco de Lepanto". A  plaza also in Binondo, Manila  is named after him.

1 comment:

  1. Sadly, so many of our street name are remove without historical consideration. Our Spanish past has been treated rather poorly by our historians. It is not surprising that with this, our Spanish literature, are neglected and forgotten.