BAGUIO, Philippines – “Paalam Nay…10:37” was all musician Joey Ayala wrote on Facebook, and the Filipino literati understood.

Tita Lacambra Ayala, the poet much loved from Ilocos Norte to Davao City, died at 10:37 pm Wednesday, January 9, while combatting pneumonia in Davao City. She just turned 88 last January 2.

She is the mother of Joey Ayala, singer Cynthia Alexander, healer Laura Isabel, and poet Fernando.

Tita founded the Davao Writers Guild and recently edited their Davao Harvest 3. She was also behind the famous Road Map Series, which showcased Mindanao writings for 30 years.

She was born in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, and finished Education at the University of the Philippines Diliman. She settled in Baguio before moving to Davao with husband Jose V. Ayala, a painter.

Tita Lacambra Ayala published Sunflower Poems (Filipino Signatures, Manila, 1960), Ordinary Poems (Erehwon Publishing, Manila, 1969), Adventures of a Professional Amateur (UP Press, 1999), and Friends and Camels in a Time of Olives (UP Press, 1999.)

Among her awards were the Gawad Balagtas for Poetry in English (1991), Manila Critics Circle Special Citation for Road Map Series (1989), Philippine Free Press Awardee for Short Story (1970, 3rd Prize), Focus Philippines Poetry Awardee, and National Fellow for Poetry, UP Creative Writing Center (1994-1995).

In a post on his Facebook page, Joey Ayala thanked the public for their prayers and condolences. He also said that they are planning an unconventional memorial for their mom.
Napakarami niyang na-inspire na creativity dito sa Davao at sa kung saan-saang sulok ng mundo so baka hindi rin gaanong conventional ang mangyayari,” he said.
(She inspired so much creativity here in Davao and in all corners of the world, so what happens may not be that conventional.)
“We will let you know where and when you can visit and say a formal Farewell in the next couple of days. Meanwhile, here’s to Artful Living, an Art-filled Life, and a Life of Artistic Creation. Padayon!”
Originally published by Rappler on Jan. 10, 2019 with url