Father-daughter bag prizes at 68th Palanca Awards

A father-daughter duo from Iloilo who won in separate categories at the 68th Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. This is the first time in the history of the Palanca Awards.

Palanca Awards Hall of Famer Leoncio Deriada won third prize in the Short Story-Cebuano category for his work Dili Baya ko Bugoy, while his daughter Dulce Maria Deriada won third prize in the Short Story-Hiligaynon category for Candelaria. Dulce received her father’s award on his behalf, as he found it difficult to attend the ceremony.

“I’m very happy for the recognition but we could’ve been happier if my father were here with me. Before, I used to accompany him as his guest, but now I can say that I’m a winner too,” Dulce said. “It was actually him who told me to join this year.”

With this year’s award, Leoncio now has 18 Palanca awards under his belt. He was inducted into the Palanca Hall of Fame in 2001. Some of his first prize-winning pieces include the full-length play Maragtas: How Kapinangan Tricked Sumakwel Twice (2001), the one-act play Medea of Syquijor (1999), and the short story for children The Man Who Hated Birds (1993).

Dulce, on the other hand, is among this year’s first-time Palanca winners. Taking a day off from her teaching duties, she explains that her winning piece Candelaria is a story showcasing Ilonggo beliefs and culture while also putting into the spotlight the Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria de Jaro, a limestone statue depicting Mary with the Child Jesus carrying candles. Also known as Our Lady of Candles, it is currently enshrined on the balcony of Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo City and is recognized by the Catholic Church as the patroness of Jaro District and the whole of Western Visayas.

“Those who live in Iloilo know well of the image, and it’s believed to be miraculous. The statue is said to be growing bigger and bigger each year,” explained Dulce.

Leoncio, who is now 80 years old, is largely recognized as the Father of Contemporary Literature in Western Visayas. He is now a Professor Emeritus at the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) where he teaches Comparative Literature. He is a multi-lingual writer, having produced works in English, Filipino, Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, and Cebuano.

Dulce also teaches at UPV in the Division of Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences. She also serves as the President of Hubon Manunulat, an organization that promotes the advancement of West Visayan literature.

Despite growing up as the daughter of a literary titan, there was no pressure for Dulce to follow the footsteps of her father. Instead, it just happened naturally.

“I grew up surrounded with books and I got acquainted with other writers at an early age. Growing up, my father didn’t really force me to take up writing, but he was supportive and encouraging whenever I did it. I even remember him storing my writing assignments when I was in Grade 1,” said Dulce.

To aspiring writers who are seeking their first Palanca award, Dulce suggests starting with the basics, which is by reading a lot.

“My father always told me to read and read, and this is what he always tells his students. Because of reading, I became attracted to books at an early age, and this really helped me in putting into words my imagination and improved my vocabulary use. So for those who want to become a successful writer, you have to read,” Dulce said.

Such advice definitely helped Dulce to not only win the country’s most prestigious literary award but get to share it with her father too. This rare recognition accomplished by the Deriadas, which has added to the rich history of the Palanca Awards, shows that while skill in writing can run in the blood, it also needs to be cultivated and nurtured in the right environment to prosper.

Named after businessman and philanthropist Don Carlos Palanca Sr., the Palanca Awards continuously seeks to cultivate Philippine Literature by providing incentives for writers and serving as a treasury of these literary gems. It is considered the gold standard in writing excellence, highly-coveted by Filipino writers, young and old alike. For complete list of winners, visit www.palancaawards.com.ph.

TOFARM Film Fest’s big winner, Tanabata’s Wife also a win for Philippine Literature

Tanabata’s Wife is the biggest winner in the recently concluded 3rd TOFARM Film Festival, bagging nine awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay among others. It is inspired by the classic short story of the same title by Baguio-born author Sinai Hamada, which tells a story about the enduring love of a middle-aged Japanese farmer, an immigrant in La Trinidad Valley, to his wife, a young Bontok woman, despite the challenges of the gap in years between them and the differences of the culture they grew up with.

The original script for the film adaptation was written by veteran fictionist and writing fellow of Likhaan: UP Institute of Creative Writing (UP-ICW), Charlson Ong. Aside from developing the screenplay with collaborators, Mao Portus, and Juan Carlo Tarobal, Charlson Ong also co-directed the film with fellow screenwriter Choy Pangilinan and Lito Casaje, an alumnus from the latest batch of the UP National Writers Workshop (UPNWW) fellows. Their effort in showcasing one of the beloved classics by a Filipino author, highlights the richness of Philippine Literature, as a repository of materials that can be adapted on film.

The success of Tanabata’s Wife wouldn’t be possible without the collaborative effort of the team behind the lens, whose efforts helped them bag the awards for Best Editor, Best Cinematography, Best Music, and Best Production Design. It is also notable that because of Charlson Ong’s affiliation with UP-ICW, some of its fellows, especially with some UPNWW alumni, lend their expertise to the production team. On the other side of the lens, the lead actors of the film stood out with Japanese actor Miyuki Kamimura winning the Best Actor award, and with newcomer Mai Fanglayan winning the Best actress award.

Tanabata’s Wife is proof that, like what Dr. J. Neil Garcia said in his review, “the loveliest gems of our literary tradition… …can and do eminently lend themselves to filmization”.

Story books popular among Pinoy youth, adults — survey

The results of 2017 Readership Survey, commissioned by the National Book Development Board (NBDB), shows that a majority of Filipino respondents still read printed books. Out of the 1,200 adult respondents with ages 18 and above, there were 921 or 76.75% say they have read a printed book in the last twelve months while there 1,020 or 84.99% of youth respondents, with ages 6 to 17 years old, say they have read printed books in the same time period.

About 11.83% of adults say that they have read e-books in the past 12 months while 3.58% of them have read audiobooks. However, the results in the survey for the youth show a significant number of children and young adults reading these two digital formats. There are 23.98% children and young adults reading e-books and 15.08% who say they read an audiobook in the past 12 months.

Reading behaviors and attitudes of adults

When adult respondents were asked which book format (print, digital, audio) they spend most of their time on per month, they say that they spend 14.03 hours reading e-books, followed by both printed books and audiobooks with 9.39 hours each.

The average age of adults started reading is 8.38 (8 years old). Parents are the main drivers of a child to read with 61.33% while some adults say that their teachers encouraged them to read with 30.67%.

About 43.83% of adults say their main reason for reading is to learn more or new things while in the 2012 Readership Survey 45% said they read for information or knowledge. Other main reason for reading is to keep up with current events with 20.26%.

In the 2012 Readership Survey, Bible tops the list of the most read book genre with 58% followed by Romance and Cooking with 25% and 21%, respectively. In 2017, Bible is still the most popular with 72.25%. Picture books and storybooks for children with 53.00% is the second most popular while there are 52.08% of respondents who say they read short story for children and 48.17% say they read romance.

It is important to note that there are some differences in the book genre choices in the survey questionnaire between the 2012 and 2017 Readership Survey. The genres, picture books and storybooks for children and short story for children, were not included in the 2012 Readership Survey and were only added in 2017.

The survey shows that 82.10% of Filipinos read books by both Filipino and foreign authors are preferred by adults. In 2012, 45% of adults said they read Filipino authors only while 44% said they read books written by both Filipino and foreign authors.

Patterns of purchase of adults

About 72% of Filipinos say they are willing to spend only up to PhP199 for a book. When it comes to willingness to spend for a printed foreign-published brand new book, 34.14% of Filipinos say they are willing to spend PhP99 and below while an almost similar percentage of adults, 34.64%, say they are willing to spend PhP100-199. Roughly 26.30% of adults say they are willing to spend PhP200-599 on a printed foreign-published brand new book.

Meanwhile, 34.13% of adults say they are willing to spend PhP99 and below for a printed Filipino brand new book while 34.64 say they are willing to spend PhP100-199. In addition, 26.30% say they are willing to spend PhP200-599 on a printed Filipino-authored brand new book.

Adults were also asked how much they are willing to spend on e-books and 41.43% say they are willing to spend Php99 and below while 34.27% of respondents say they are willing to spend PhP100-199. About 20.56% say they are willing to spend PhP200-599 on e-books.

Youth’s reading behavior and attitudes

In the second part of the survey, respondents with ages 6 to 17 years old will be called youth or children and young adults. As in the survey for adults, the youth were also asked how long they spend reading per month, per book format. Children and young adults say they spend more time on e-books than on any other format with 14.16 hours per month. This is followed by audiobooks with 12.68 hours while they only spend 8.70 hours on print books per month.

The average age of children and young adults when they started reading is 6.9 (7) years old. Again, parents are the main drivers of reading with 72% while teachers come second with 24.25%.

Around 40.98% of youth respondents say they read to learn more or new things while 27.37% say their reason for reading is to improve their reading skills.

Among children and young adults, 72.67% say they read picture books and storybooks for children. This is closely followed by short stories for children with 71.17%. Encyclopedia, almanac, dictionary, thesaurus, atlas, and maps ranked third with 59% followed by the Bible with 55.42%.

About 79.18% of youth respondents say they read books authored by both Filipinos and foreigners. Others say they only read Filipino-authored books with 16.21% while 4.61% of respondents say they only read foreign-authored books.

Television and Facebook play big roles in influencing the youth on what to read. Accumulating 43% each, children and young adults say both television and Facebook are their top sources of information on what to read. Roughly 38.17% say word of mouth is their main source of information on what to read.

The most popular gadget used by children and young adults is Android Smartphone with 62.9% followed by desktop computer with 20.1%. While Android tablet is the third most popular gadget with 19.5%.

The survey also finds Google Play Books as the most used e-book app among the youth with 11.21%. Adobe Digital Editions comes second with 8.15% while FBReader is the third most used app with 6.03%.

Patterns of purchase of young readers

Youth respondents were asked about their willingness to spend on a book and the survey finds that their willingness to spend is same with adult respondents’ answers. About 38.86% of children and young adults say they are willing to spend PhP99 and below for a book while 36.39% say they are willing to spend PhP100-199. Around 21.35% of respondents say they are willing to spend PhP200-599 for a book.

Vast majority of adults and youth say reading is enjoyable

Overall, 94% of adults and 96% of youth say they enjoy reading. About 63.14% of adults say interesting topics encourage reading books while 43.29% of youth respondents cite the same reason. Familiar words or easy to understand books encourage reading among adults with 19.60% while only 13.51% of youth say the same. Around 30.28% of youth say illustrations and pictures encourage them to read while a minimal number of 6.59% of adults say the same.

This Readership Survey is the project of the National Book Development Board (NBDB) in partnership with the Philippine Statistical Research and Training Institute (PSRTI). The enumeration was conducted by end of April 2018 and asked the respondent about their reading behavior in the last 12 months, referring to May 2017 to April 2018. This is the fourth in the series; past surveys were conducted in 2003, 2007, and 2012.

The Readership Survey is conducted to determine the reading habits and attitudes of Filipinos. The results of the survey will be used in determining appropriate policies, capacity-building, content development, and book promotion programs to enhance the support of the government to the book publishing industry.

Kian’s story wins the National Children’s Book Award

The story about a young victim of extrajudicial killing received recognition at the National Children’s Book Awards held July 17 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

“Si Kian” is a story about a 17-year-old high school student Kian Loyd Delos Santos who was shot dead by elements of the Caloocan police in its anti-drug operations on August 16, 2017.

Of the nine books selected as Best Reads for Kids for 2016 and 2017, “Si Kian” is the only children’s story with a political theme.

Written by Weng Cahiles and illustrated by Aldy Aguirre, the book was part of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) Story Project. It was translated into English by Ramon C. Sunico and was based on the research of Kimberly dela Cruz.

In an interview, Cahiles said, “Natutuwa ako sa pagkapanalo ng libro although nakakalungkot na mayroong libro na ganito in the first place.”

The story can be read here.

Other awardees include:

  • Habulan (Anvil Publishing), Written by Kora Dandan-Albano, Illustrated by Beth Parrocha
  • Janus Silang (Adarna House), Written by Edgar Calabia Samar, Illustrated by Borg Sinaban
  • A Long Long Time Ago (Tahanan Books), Written by Michelline Suarez, Joonee Garcia, Divine Reyes, Illustrated by Benjor Catindig
  • Takbo (Tahanan Books) Written and Illustrated by Auri Asuncion Yambao
  • Hari ng Komyut (Adarna House, Anino Comics) Written and Illustrated by Lizette Daluz
  • Lost (Adarna House, Anino Comics) Written and Illustrated by Rob Cham
  • May Gulong na Bahay (Chikiting Books) Written by Genaro Gojo Cruz, Illustrated by Paul Imbiong
  • Melag (Adarna House, Anino Comics) Written and Illustrated by Bong Redila


Remembering National Artist Cirilo Bautista

WATCH: Interview with Cirilo Bautista, National Artist for Literature (via Rappler)





Cirilo Bautista and his lifelong affair with words

Pagkilala sa Buhay at mga Akda ni Rogelio Mangahas



Modernist vanguard poet Rogelio G. Mangahas; 79

Poet, essayist Rogelio Mangahas dies at 79


2018 ALBWW: Get to know what the publishers are looking for!

Aside from the Craft Lectures by some of its panelists, the 2018 Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio Writers Workshop (ALBWW) will also host lectures from some of the country’s leading publishers. The talks are free and open to the public, which will also be streamed live through our Official Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/upicw/.

2018 ALBWW Craft Lectures: Free and Open to the Public!

The 3rd Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio Writing Workshop (ALBWW) opens its doors to a bigger audience with its series of craft lectures by some of its panelists. These talks are free and open to the public, which will also be streamed live through our Official Facebook Page.

1st Philippine LGBTQ Writers Workshop Fellows Announced

Ten emerging LGBTQ poets have been chosen as fellows of the first national creative writing workshop devoted to Philippine LGBTQ poetry. They are Mariel Alonzo (English), Marvin Aquino (Bikol), King V. Llanza (English), Alfonso Manalastas (English), Michael Thomas Nelmida (Filipino), Jose Luis Pablo (English), Steno Padilla (Filipino), TD Shaw (English), Paolo Sumayao (Bikol), and Macky Torrechilla (Kinaray-a).

The workshop, which will be held on 23-27 July 2018 at the University Hotel in the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), is jointly sponsored by the UP and Goldsmiths University of London. It is a part of the international research and arts consortium called GlobalGRACE: Global Gender and Cultures of Equality. GlobalGRACE is funded by the Research Council UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund.

A panel of established LGBTQ poets, led by workshop director Dr. Romulo P. Baquiran, Jr. of UPD, will facilitate the workshop. Joining him are Dr. Ronald Baytan of De La Salle University (DLSU), who will give keynote address; Prof. Shane Carreon of UP Cebu (via Skype from Binghampton University, New York); Dr. Eugene Evasco of UPD; Prof. Nerisa del Carmen Guevara of the University of Santo Tomas (UST); and Dr. John Iremil Teodoro of DLSU. Prof. J. Neil C. Garcia, the project coordinator of the Philippine component of GlobalGrace, will also be in the panel.

This poetry workshop is the first in an annual series of LGBTQ creative writing workshops. Succeeding workshops will be devoted to the writing of LGBTQ fiction, creative nonfiction, and drama. These workshops are an affiliate activity of the Likhaan: UP Institute of Creative Writing.

Fellows to the 3rd ALBWW Announced

LIKHAAN: The Up Institute of Creative Writing (UP ICW) announces its 12 fellows for the 3rd Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio Writers Workshop (ALBWW), which will be held on July 11-15, 2018 at the University Hotel, UP Diliman. With Charlson Ong at the helm as Workshop Director, the UP ICW has selected five works in Filipino and seven works in English.

The 2018 ALBWW fellows for Filipino are Rommel Bonus, Danilo Ellamil Jr., Boon Kristoffer Lauw, Erik Pingol, and Eric John Villena. The fellows for English are Ernest Jean Angeles, Angeli Dumatol, Jane Kharen Mariano, Katrina Martin, Lukas Miguel Santiago, Pichai Theamtusana, and Angela Velasco.

This year’s ALBWW focuses on Novel and Nobela projects, with prominent writers such as Dr. Genevieve Asenjo, Glenn Diaz, Ramon Guillermo, Jun Cruz Reyes, and Krip Yuson serving as panelists and teaching staff, along with Dr. Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo coming in as a guest panelist.

Aside from craft lectures which will be given by some of the panelists, there will also be lectures coming from publishers who will share some of their insights, on what they are looking for in a manuscript. All of these lectures will be streamed live on UP ICW’s Facebook page.

The ALBWW complements the annual UP National Writers Workshop, which has grown to accommodate writers in mid-career.