First Likhaan Foundation Creative Writing Scholarships Awarded


Melissa G. Cabral and Maria Amparo N. Warren were awarded the inaugural Likhaan Foundation Creative Writing Scholarships

Melissa “Mel” Cabral is a freelance writer, editor, illustrator, graphic designer, and content strategist. She has also worked as an art teacher for students of all ages, as an editorial assistant at the Ateneo de Manila University Press, and as a Creative Writing Manager for a presentation design agency.

Mel has a BFA in Visual Communication from the UP Diliman College of Fine Arts and is currently completing a YA novel on cyberbullying for her MA Creative Writing degree at the UP Diliman College of Arts and Letters. She is also an advocate for mental health awareness, fair pay for creative professionals, and self-care.

Mel Cabral and Pipay Warren (center), the first recipients of the Likhaan Foundation Creative Writing Scholarship, pose with ICW fellows and and Likhaan officers and trustees (L-R) Prof. Anna Felicia Sanchez, Dr. Pedro Jun Cruz Reyes, Dr. Gemino Abad, Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera, Erlinda Panlilio, Rhona Lopa-Macasaet, Prof. Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio, Dr. Roland Tolentino, Dr. Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, Dr. J. Neil Garcia, Dr. Romulo P. Baquiran, Charlson Ong, Dr. Eugene Y. Evasco, and Dr. Victor Emmanuel Carmelo Nadera, Jr.

Maria Amparo “Pipay” Warren has worked as a teacher, freelance writer, copyeditor at the University of the Philippines Press, and government worker at agencies such as the Department of the Interior and Local Goverment (DILG). She is assembling a collection of eight short stories, entitled Wayfinder, for her MA Creative Writing degree.

Pipay was a fellow for fiction at the 12th Iyas National Writers’ Workshop and in the 2nd IWP Alumni Writers’ Workshop, and a fellow for playwriting at the 13th Virgin Labfest Writing Fellowship Program. For her works, she has won prizes at UP’s Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio Literary Contest, the Nick Joaquin Literary Awards, and the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards.

“I’m pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t sure that I would get it since I’ve struggled so much with [writing my thesis],” Mel said. “This is both validation and encouragement.”

Mel Cabral (center) is awarded a Likhaan Foundation Creative Writing Scholarship. The award was presented by (L-R) ICW fellows Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera, Dr. Gemino Abad, Dr. Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, Prof. Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio, ICW director Dr. Roland Tolentino, and Likhaan officers and trustees Rhona Lopa-Macasaet and Erlinda Panlilio, while ICW deputy director Francis M. Quina and fellow Likhaan Foundation Creative Writing Scholarship awardee Pipay Warren look on.

Pipay has also stuggled to write her thesis, so the scholarship will allow her to go forward with “parts of the project that are hard to finish, like the poetics essay.”

Both Pipay and Mel are working while studying for their Masters in Creative Writing at UP Diliman.

The Likhaan Foundation Creative Writing Scholarship is offered by the UP Institute of Creative Writing through the generous support of the Likhaan Foundation. It grants Php100,000 worth of tuition and combined allowances to successful applicants, covering two full years of schooling.

Pipay Warren (center) is awarded a Likhaan Foundation Creative Writing Scholarship. The award was presented by (L-R) ICW fellows Dr. Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo and Dr. Gemino Abad, ICW director Dr. Roland Tolentino, and Likhaan officers and trustees Rhona Lopa-Macasaet and Erlinda Panlilio, while ICW deputy director Francis M. Quina and fellow Likhaan Foundation Creative Writing Scholarship awardee Mel Cabral look on.

The scholarship is meant to sustain the student until the completion of their studies. It is open to all students of MA Creative Writing who are in good academic standing. The applicant must be at least in their second year of studies. Applicants submitted a referral letter from one of their former professors verifying their abilities in the field, and, most of all, their determination to finish the degree.


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