The late Rogelio G. Mangahas is a multi-awarded poet in Tagalog/Filipino. He is also a short story writer, playwright, translator, essayist, editor. He graduated from the University of the East (UE) with an A.B. degree, major in Pilipino, and President’s Achievement Award for being one of the Ten Most Outstanding Students in 1965. He took up academic units for M.A. in Panitikan at the University of the Philippines (UP)—Diliman and De La Salle University (DLSU).
Mangahas (RGM) was born in Palasinan, Cabiao, Nueva Ecija on May 9, 1939 to peasant parents Matias Ignacio Mangahas and Alejandra Perez Galicia. He graduated from Cabiao Elementary School in 1952 and from Jose Abad Santos School, Binondo, Manila in 1957. He managed to become a self-supporting student by working as a security guard at the People’s Homesite and Housing Corporation (PHHC) and through scholarship by being the Pilipino section editor of the Dawn(UE’s student newspaper. He also became the editor-in-chief of Ang Diwa, publication of the Pilipino department and students taking Pilipino subjects.
In the 1960s, RGM formed a close friendship and literary, intellectual partnership with poet Rio Alma (pen name in poetry of Virgilio S. Almario) in the search for and utilization of alternative poetic modes which include free verse, rhyme scheme, use of foreign and local symbols, etc. Later joined by another poet, Lamberto E. Antonio, they successively held the editorship of the Pilipino section of the weekly Dawn,as well as the presidency of KADIPAN (Kapisanang Aklat, Diwa at Panitik), an inter-university organizations of student writers, in the later years of the 1960s, and established their influence as the Tungkong Bato or Triumvirate of modernist Pilipino poetry. In 1967, Mangahas edited and published Manlilikha: Mga Piling Tula, an anthology of modernist poems, signaling the movement.
In the said decade, RGM garnered some major awards from literary contests: first prize in poetry, “Ang Pigtal na Dahon,” KADIPAN, 1963; first prize in poetry, “Ang Lilim na Iyan,” KADIPAN, 1964; first prize in feature writing, KADIPAN, 1965; third prize in poetry, “Tinig Mula sa Kung Saan,” Palanca, 1967; first prize and the title, Makata ng Taon, Surian ng Wikang Pambansa, 1969. Then in 1971, his activist poem, “Mga Duguang Plakard,” written a few days after the bloody demonstration in Mendiola on Jan. 30-31, 1970, won first prize in Palanca Literary Contests in 1971. (Ironically, this poem became one of the basis for his arrest and detention in Camp Aguinaldo and Fort Bonifacio under P.D. 1081.) Also, his critical essay, “Si Edgardo M. Reyes: Kanyang Akda at Panahon” won first prize also in Palanca in 1986.
Some of RGM’s awards and recognition from different institutions and organizations include: Gawad Dangal ni Balagtas, from Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), 2015; Gawad Taboan, National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), 2012; Gawad Patnubay ng Kalinangan sa Literatura, Pamahalaang Lungsod ng Maynila, 2007; Most Outstanding Novo Ecijano Award, Nueva Ecija Provincial Government, 1989; Most Outstanding UE Alumni Award, UE 60thFounding Anniversary, 2006; Best in Poetry, “Gagagamba sa Uhay,” Manila Critics Circle, 2006; Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas, UMPIL, 1997; Writing Fellow, Silliman Writers Workshop, 1972; National Writing Fellow, Institute of Creative Writing, UP Diliman, 1987-1988.
RGM worked in several institutions and organizations: as instructor in Pilipino language, creative writing, history of Pilipino literature, UE; lecturer, DLSU, UP Manila, St. Scholastica’s College; editor-in-chief, Phoenix Publishing House, Inc.; Textbook Writing Specialist/Developmental Editor, Sibs Publishing House, Inc.; country editor, Tenggara, literary journal published in Malaysia; consultant for literature, Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP); editorial consultant, C & E Publishing House, Inc.
RGM’s published works:
Manlilikha: Mga Piling Tula. Editor, koawtor, Manila: Pioneer Printing Press, 1967.
Mga Duguang Plakard, Mga Piling Tula. Lungsod Quezon: Manlapaz Publishing House, 1971.
Mga Kuwentong-Bayan Mula sa Asya. (2 vols.) salin. Manila: Solidaridad Publishing House, 1989.
Ang Istorya ng 47 Ronin(nobela ni John Alyn). salin. Manila: Solidaridad Publishing House, 1990.
Isang Personal na Bagay(nobela ni Kenzaburo Oue, Nobel Prize Winner). salin. Manila: Solidaridad Publishing House, 1990.
“Ang Romantikong Realismo sa mga Nobela ni Lazaro Francisco,” panunuring sanaysay, nasa Bantayog, Alfonso O. Santiago, patnugot. Lungsod Quezon: Publishing House, Inc., 1995.
“Si Edgardo M. Reyes at ang Kanyang Akda at Panahon,” panunuring sanaysay, nasa Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag, nobela ni Edgardo M. Reyes, Manila: De La Salle University Press, 1986.
“Ilang Silahis ng Banaag at Sikat,” panunuring sanaysay, Philippine Studies,
Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1970.
Gagamba sa Uhay: Kalipunan ng mga Haiku. Lungsod Quezon: C & E Publishing House, 2006.
“Si Balagtas at ang Makabagong Panulaang Filipino,” Panayam Balagtas, Maynila: KWF, Abril 2, 2013.
“Pagbabahagi ng Gunita sa mga Gradwadong Milenyal,” Panayam sa 69thUE Commencement Rites, SMX Convention Center, Abril 23, 2017.
“Pagtakas sa Halimaw ng Dilim,” isang yugtong monologo, unpublished. Quezon City, 2017.
Pinagyamang PLUMA: Malikhaing Pagsulat, textbook sa Baitang 11, koawtor. Quezon City: Phoenix Publishing House, 2017.
Tatlong Diona. Nasa Pinagyamang PLUMA, 2017.
“Pahaging sa Bagong Hari,” tula. Binigkas sa People Power Monument, Nobyembre 30, 2017.
“Soneto sa Pinag-isang Dibdib,” Binigkas sa kasal ni Pepe Bigornia. Quezon, 2017.