The Philippines is a country that’s been gifted with many talented individuals. Singing, acting, dancing, you name it and there’s probably a Filipino already making his mark in that field. 

With that said, it’s fairly natural for the country to have infrastructures dedicated to showcasing its citizens’ many talents. And one of the more famous of those is the Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas, which is located inside the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). 

Since its inception, it has served as one of the go-to theatres for concerts and musical acts, especially during the 70s to 90s – eras where Original Pinoy Music (OPM) was at its peak. 

If that got you curious, then read through the facts we’ve listed below about Tanghalang Balagtas!

  • It was named after famed Filipino Poet Francisco ‘Balagtas’ Baltazar.

Tanghalang Balagtas was originally named Folk Arts Theater, however, its name was changed to honor one of the Philippines’ most-famed poets Francisco ‘Balagtas’ Baltazar. 

Baltazar is best known for authoring one of the country’s most important pieces of literature, ‘Florante at Laura.’

  • It was commissioned by then First lady Imelda Marcos. 

First Lady Imelda Marcos was the mastermind behind the Tanghalang Balagtas. She especially commissioned the amphitheater to serve as a new venue for one of the world’s most prestigious pageants, which is Miss Universe 1974.

  • It’s the largest single-span structure in the country. 

While people know Tanghalang Balagtas as a venue for the arts, its structure should not be overlooked. After all, it holds the record of being the largest single-span structure in the Philippines – with a 100-by-100-meters roof that rests on eight large columns.

  • It was built in record time. 

Similar to other mega infrastructures built during the Marcos Era, Tanghalang Balagtas was constructed in record time. 

However, what sets it apart is that it only took 77 days to construct. Though that’s the case, the strength of the structure wasn’t compromised and it’s still standing even to this day.

  • It was designed by National Artist Leandro Locsin. 

The task of bringing Tanghalang Balagtas was entrusted to Leandro Locsin, recognized as the Philippines’ National Artist for Architecture. 

Locsin only had a little over three months to actualize the theater. However, he rose to the occasion and accomplished it. 

  • It’s going to be decommissioned soon. 

After almost five decades in service, Tanghalang Balagtas will be retiring soon. The iconic brutalist-inspired building will be decommissioned to give way to a two-story New Performing Arts Theater, which will have a 1,000-seating capacity. 

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Image credit: Norman Aquino via Wikimapia