PinoyLit: Angela Manalang Gloria

(ca. 1915 - 1996)

Lyric poet, pianist, and editor, had her roots in Guagua, Pampanga, but her ancestors went to Albay and prospered. When she was about eight years old, she became fascinated with books, read avidly, and in consequence her eyesight was seriously impaired. She loved music (played the piano very well), nature and things dainty and beautiful.

She started her early schooling with the Benedictine Sisters in Albay, and in Manila continued under the tutelage of the same religious order. She then transferred to another girls' school, Sta. Scholastica, and graduated salutatorian in 1925. In school she continued pursuing her interest in music in hopes of becoming a great pianist. After graduation from high school she proceeded to UP and started taking pre-law subjects, at the same time going into painting. C. V. Vicker, a member of the UP faculty, noticed her creative work and advised her to change her program of study. She shifted her course to the liberal arts and graduated summa cum laude with an A.B. in philosophy in 1929.

In UP she worked with the Philippine Collegian as a literary editor, with Celedonio P. Gloria as editor-in-chief. Their friendship culminated in marriage. Subsequently, her husband, who finished the LL.B. in UP, went into law practice. She became editor of the Herald Mid-Week Magazine but had to resign six months later because of poor health. WWII came and her husband died. Her creative writing gradually diminished.

From the idealist that she was when younger, she emerged a pragmatist, a practical woman reshaped by the realities of life. She had found that life is not all love, that love is not the only way to one's goal. She realized that this world is "circumferenced with lucre/ within a coin of brass." She plunged into business and traveled and prospered. But Philippine literature lost her.

Poems (1940) was, in 1987, the only partial collection of her notable poems. She is essentially a lyric poet voicing her moods and desires in musical, singing stanzas. She finds standard rime and rhythm adequate to her needs. The music in her sonnets is "sweeter and more tender [and more melodious] than Tarrosa's" (Trinidad Tarrosa-Subido), wrote a commentator, but the two lack the verve and exuberance and vitality of that love in the sonnets of Torribia Maño.

Biographical Reference: Filipino Writers in English by Florentino B. Valeros and Estrellita V. Gruenberg, New Day Publishers, Quezon City, 1987.

Other Sources

Edna Zapanta Manlapaz wrote Angela Manalang Gloria: A Literary Biography (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1993). There's also another volume called The Complete Poems of Angela Manalang Gloria (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1993).

PinoyLit's Favorite

Pinoylit first heard about Angela Manalang Gloria because of a delightful friend who showed him:

Any Woman Speaks
(By A.M. Gloria)

Half of the world's true glamour
   Is held--you know by whom?
Not by the gilt Four Hundred
   Parading in perfume,

Nor by the silvered meteors
   That light the celluloid sky--
But by these eyes that called you,
   Blind fool who passed me by!
Yes, PinoyLit is a romantic fool.

PinoyLit's Attempt: Any Man Speaks

Half of the world's true treasure
   Is kept--do you know where?
Not in the wallets of yuppies
   Whose careers soar through the air,

Nor in the golden pinlights
   That dot the corporate sky--
But in the heart that sings to you,
   Deaf fool who passed me by!

(With apologies to Ms. Gloria)
Thanks for your indulgence...

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