A famous writer in Tagalog, graft-buster, and nationalist, Rosauro Almario was born in Tondo, Manila on August 30, 1886. He was the third among nine children of Estanislao Almario and Rosalia Cagne. His father, a cabeza de barangay, served as a clerk in a Spanish military company. His mother earned a living as a seamstress. He was only about 10 years old when his father died.
Almario obtained his early education from Maestro Sevilla and from Eugenio de Lara, a lawyer and supervisor of a Tondo school, who taught him elementary Latin. Then, at the Liceo deManila, he studied Spanish and attended evening classes in English. He also worked in the Bazar Siglo XX, owned by Luis R. Yangco.
On August 10, 1904, he was employed as a clerk in the Bureau of Education after passing the second-grade civil service examination. He was transferred to the Bureau of Prisons on July 6, 1909 and, on January 18, 1911, to the Bureau of Posts. On August 1, 1918, he received his appointment as a chief in the Manila mayor’s office. A year later, he was assistant secretary to Mayor Justo Lukban. Then on July 6, 1920, he obtained his promotion as secretary to both Mayor Lukban and Mayor Ramon Fernandez. He was also assigned to supervise the city reformatories, asylums, and playground departments. At the same time, he took up units in law, but he never completed a degree in this field.
On December 14, 1923, along with Mayor Fernandez, he resigned from the city government to protest the reinstatement by Governor General Wood of a certain Conley in his former position in Manila’s secret service. During the general elections of 1925, he ran for a seat in the city council and handily won.
A fearless graft buster, he denounced anomalies committed by some city officials. Later, he was convicted for libel and began to serve his term of exile at Lolomboy in February 1927. This case, however, made him popular among the masses. He was elected to the city council during the general elections of 1928. In 1930, he was elected council president.
During his term as a council president, he authored the so-called “Blue Sunday”ordinance effecting the opening of business and commercial establishments on Sundays, and the ordinance changing the name of Barrio Obrero, located on Rizal Avenue extension, to “Nayong Manggagawa-Plaridel”, in memory of Marcelo H. del Pilar.
Almario’s literary works include an essay entitled, “Ano ang Ligaya sa Ibabaw ng Lupa?” (1907) and a Spanish composition, “Que Es Pueblo” (1907), which was awarded a prize in a contest held in honor of Jose Palma. He was a regular contributor to Ang Panahon, Muling Pagsilang, Taliba, and Ang Mithi. His published works are “Pinatatawad Kita” (1910); “Ang Mananayaw” (1910), “Mga Anak Bukid” (1911), “Mga Dahong Luksa” (1912) and “Nang Si Eba ay Likhain” (1913).
His works evinced nationalistic and revolutionary ideas and love for native customs and tradition. He supported and practice the unstudied, spontaneous kind of writing. As editor of Pagkakaisa a daily founded by Mayor Fernandez, he fearlessly attacked American colonial rule in the Philippines. He was behind the idea of establishing La Opinion, of which he served as general manager up to the time of his demise. He produced bold editorials that tried to expose the graft and corruption which prevailed in the government.. Among his pseudonyms were:, “R.O. Noel,” Batang Simoun,” “Matanglawin,” “Ric A. Clarin,” “Raxa Soliman,” “Petronio,” and “El Satirin.” He was serious in his effort in encouraging the development of native vernacular writing and enriching the Tagalog language and literature.
Almario was at the peak of his writing career when he died on March 11, 1933 at only 47 years old. He had five children by his wife, Leonor de Ocampo, namely, Generoso (a lawyer), Amalia (a twin to Generoso), Bonifacio, Liwayway, and Simoun (a radio executive).