by Stephen Cenon D. Talla
Luis G. Dato (July 4, 1906 – January 29, 1985) was a poet, writer and educator from Sta. Cruz, Baao, Camarines Sur. He was the second child of Eugenio Esplana Dato and Barbara Imperial Guevara. His grandparents were Ludovico Geuvara and Higina Imperial; and Damaso Dato and Nicolasa Esplana.
He was educated (elementary) in Naga Central School (1914-1917), Tabuco Primary School (1917-1918); high school education in Camarines High School (1920-1923), where he won First Prize at the Bikol Meet Composition, and the University of the Philippines (1923-1924) where he won grand prize in several contests in English Oratorical contests. He graduated in Liberal Arts at the University of the Philippines (1924-1928) where he won UP Literary contest in 1926; and took up law at the university.
As a poet, he published several books in English including Manila A Collection of verse (1926), My Book of Verses (1936) and the Land of Mai in 1975. He also wrote several books and text in Bikol such as, Vocabulario Bikol-Ingles-Kastila (1963), Cantahon na Bikol (1969), Morfologia kan Tataramon na Bikol (serialized in Naga Times), Patotodon sa Bikol (Bikol Mail) and Sarabihon sa Bikol.
He was the elected mayor of Baao, Camarines Sur in 1941 to 1945 and appointed by President Roxas as mayor in 1946 to 1947. He wrote for his town mates of Baao, monographs like the “Short Story of Baao” and “Vignettes of Baao History, 1946” which he presented the origin of the town, facts and myths; and “Of Baao, Secular and Idyllic Town of our Birth, 1952” which was a research on the tradition of Dotoc and a paper of Baaenos’ involvement, and the 1898 arrest of local Filipino revolutionaries, against Hispanic rule. Also, he conducted research on ancestries of huge families in Baao, like the Imperials and Palencias.
Luis G. Dato
In July 4, 2012, Burikbutikan Artists Collective Inc., a group of artists from Baao (Paulix B. LRobosa, who sculpted the medallion, Julius B. Bicaldo, Fr. Nunilon Arnold F. Bancaso, Jr., Jofrey I. Botor); Iriga City (Frank Penones Jr., Kristian S. Cordero, Al Oliva), Buhi (Cesar Gumba); and Bula (Pano Carumba) unveiled the Luis G. Dato marker at the Baao Town Plaza, led by Ms. Bernadette delos Santos (Baao), for his influence as a literary artist, scholar and teacher.