FAVORITE SON. The newly enhanced Norberto Romualdez Sr. Park in Burauen, Leyte. The local government unit launched on Friday (June 14, 2024) a park to honor President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s grand uncle who played a major role in enriching the local literature. (Photo courtesy of Burauen LGU)

BURAUEN, Leyte – The local government unit here launched on Friday a park to honor President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s grand uncle, Norberto Romualdez Sr., a native of this town who played a major role in enriching the local literature.

Mayor Juanito Renomeron led the soft launch of the newly restored park that has been enhanced by the local government with the assistance of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines starting in 2022.

“This launch symbolizes the strong commitment of our local government unit, along with the municipal tourism office, to preserving and promoting our own cultural heritage. While we give platforms to our local artists today, it is imperative that we continue to value and acknowledge distinguished people of Burauen from the past,” Renomeron told local officials and residents here.

Burauen tourism officer Carmela Corazon Crebillo said the 177-square meter park adjacent to the town’s Roman Catholic church was built in 1975 by the municipal government to celebrate Romualdez’s 100th birthday.

It is located along the corner of Sta. Ana and Ave Maria Streets, the same spot where he built his house.

She said the PHP500,000 locally funded restoration works involved refurbishing of the original monument and construction of pavilion, concrete bench and path walk.
“There are still some improvement works lined up. We will have a grand launching of the park next year,” Crebillo added.

Born in Burauen town on June 6, 1875, Norberto was the eldest son of Daniel Romualdez and Trinidad Lopez.

His younger brother was Vicente Orestes Lopez Romualdez, the father of the Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, the President’s mother.

He finished his Bachelor of Arts with honors at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila in 1895 and became a high school teacher at the University of Santo Tomas before the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution, according to an article published by the Kahimyang Project.

He studied law during the American Occupation and passed the Bar in 1903.

The local tourism office records described Romualdez as an educator, jurist, writer, and statesman, earning the distinction “favorite son of Leyte.”

In 1908, he wrote a Visayan grammar book for American soldiers stationed in Leyte who wanted to learn the local language.

The following year, he founded the Sanghiran san Binisaya ha Samar ug Leyte (Academy of the Visayan Language of Samar and Leyte) to promote and intellectualize Waray-Waray.
Romualdez was also fluent in other languages like Spanish and English, as well as Cebuano.
He was a well-known writer, educator, lawyer and painter, and was a delegate to the 1934-1935 Constitutional Convention.

He was one of the “Seven Wise Men” who drafted the 1935 Constitution for the Philippine Commonwealth and also a Philippine Supreme Court associate justice during the American Period.

He died of pneumonia in Palapag, Northern Samar on Nov. 4, 1941 at the age of 66.
On March 24, the local government approved a resolution declaring every June 6 every year as Norberto Romualdez Sr. Day. The resolution also named him a local hero.