BACOLOR -- The monsoon rains did not deter locals here from commemorating the 100th year death anniversary of the late writer and poet Juan Crisostomo "Crissot" Soto.
Officials of the Municipal Government of Bacolor, Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University (DHVTSU) Center for Capampangan Culture and the Arts, poets and cultural workers staged a short honor program in front of the monument dedicated to Soto.
Representatives delivered speeches and poems in honor of Soto. A wreath was also presented in front of the monument.
Juan Crisostomo Caballa Soto was born on January 27, 1867, in Barrio Sta. Ines here. His first literary work "Ing Pamaquiasaua ning Mete" was inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. This was followed by about 50 zarzuelas, and many poems, novels, short stories, comedies and essays.
He took an active part in the 1898 revolution under the command of General Maximino Hizon of Mexico and General Eugenio Blanco of Macabebe, and later under General Tomas Mascardo. During Aguinaldo's retreat to the North as the American forces were advancing, Soto was captured by the Americans and he was sentenced to death by musketry for refusing to divulge Aguinaldo’s whereabouts.
After his release, he engaged himself in journalistic pursuits by writing and serving as editor of newspapers in Pampanga and Manila. He helped found the pioneer newspapers in Pampanga, like "Ing Emangabiran", "Ing Alipatpat" and "Ing Balen".
Soto died of a heart attack on July 12, 1918 in Manila. His remains were immediately brought to Bacolor and were buried at the Bacolor Catholic Cemetery.
On August 2, 1919, the "Aguman 33," a gathering of actors who acted in Soto’s zarzuelas, raised funds and built a monument to his memory. It has become a fixture in the landscape of Bacolor, being among the first landmarks to be unearthed after the town was practically sunk in lahar in 1995.
In 2012, the local government of Villa de Bacolor restored it together with other monuments in the town. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines re-fabricated and re-installed the old NHI historical marker which was also sunk in lahar in 1995, together with its original base.