Rappler | Poet Tita Lacambra Ayala dies


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 https://www.rappler.com/life-and-style/arts-and-culture/220648-poet-tita-lacambra-ayala-dies

Inquirer.net: The Artist Abroad | Playwright Alberto S. Florentino, 1931-2018


NEW YORK—I heard last month, from the fictionist Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, that the writer Alberto Florentino had passed away in late September. The immediate cause of death was pneumonia, complicated by the fact that he had had Alzheimer’s for some time. At the time of his death, Bert had been living with his wife, Eva, in Portland, Oregon, where they had moved from New York about a decade ago, to be closer to their daughter Lisa and her family.

I knew of Bert before I met him in New York. He had made a name for himself by winning a Palanca award for his play The World Is an Apple, when he was all of twenty-three years of age.

Significantly, Bert had also been the publisher of Peso Books, that aimed to make available, especially to students, inexpensive reprints of works by well-known Filipino authors. The first number in that no longer extant series was Poems 55, by Jose Garcia Villa. (I once had a copy and may still have it but have been unable to locate it in the tangled maze that my library has become.)

Ateneo de Manila University Press just launched last October a series of its own, the Ateneo Blue Books, similar to Bert’s Peso Books.

This is from Karina Bolasco, the press director and editor-in-chief:

“In the United States, in the early twentieth century, the Halderman-Julius Publishing Company printed booklets that it called Little Blue Books. Intended for a working-class readership, they were affordable … and portable …. They were called Little Blue Books because their covers were (usually) in blue or grey and because they were meant to educate blue-collar workers. The coverage of the Little Blue Books ranged from the classics to politics and housekeeping. By the time it folded up in 1978, the Halderman-Julius Publishing Company had published about eighteen hundred titles … and had sold millions of them.

“About two decades before the last of the Little Blue Books were published, in the Philippines, the playwright Alberto S. Florentino wanted to bring Philippine literature, particularly literature written in English, to a wider audience. Much of it had remained uncollected in periodicals, but libraries could not be relied on to have their holdings intact—the Second World War had so devastated the country. What was being taught in schools, through the high school textbook series ‘Philippine Prose and Poetry,’ did not necessarily reflect the best work of Filipino authors, the selections having to conform with the reading level and emotional maturity of students.

“It was the poet Jose Garcia Villa who prompted Florentino to venture into publishing something like the Little Blue Books for Filipinos. Villa agreed to have Florentino reprint a selection of his poems if it was to be sold at no more than a peso a copy. In 1962, with the publication of Villa’s Poems 55, the Peso Book was born. Made at a cost of thirty centavos a copy, each Peso Book measured only 4 x 7 inches, but the impact of the series on the shape of the Philippine literary canon was significant. Until the 1990s, writers of textbooks, anthologies, and scholarly articles in Philippine literature relied on the texts that the Peso Books made readily and cheaply available.

“In initiating its own line of booklets, the Ateneo de Manila University Press draws inspiration from these precedents. The Ateneo Blue Books are a compact library of Filipino literature written in English; they are intended for young Filipino readers, whose acquaintance with Philippine literature, given the force of a Westernized globalization, is passing. Each book consists of one work or a selection of works by an important Filipino author and, in the spirit of the chapbook of the Early Modern Period and the penny dreadful of the nineteenth century (both remote predecessors of the Little Blue Books), comes accompanied by illustrations by notable Filipino artists. Taken together, the Ateneo Blue Books are a sampler of an author’s oeuvre or of a literary type and as an act of recovery and rediscovery.

“It is dedicated to Alberto S. Florentino.”

In an e-mail, the poet and novelist Alfred “Krip” Yuson had this to say about Bert:

“I remember Bert most fondly for the years, from the late ’60s up, when I dropped out of UP [University of the Philippines] to join his stable of scriptwriters for Balintatawdirected by Cecile Guidote. Frankie Osorio and I collaborated on a number of one-hour teleplays adapted from Pinoy short stories selected by Bert. That led to my being recruited by Cecile’s PETA [Philippine Educational theater Association] for acting in the first plays staged at Raja Soliman Theater in Fort Santiago, starting with Virgie’sBayaning Huwad, then Larawanwhich Cecile had Frankie and me translate from Nick Joaquin’s Portrait.

“We kept up with email correspondence when he and Eva were already in NY, and I recall meeting up with him and Ninotchka in 1995 when I was part of FVR’s media troupe for the UN’s 50th birthday. After that he came home once, and I recall taking pics of him and you together at some literary event.”

Brainard has her own recollections, which she details in the online magazine Positively Filipino:


Here in New York Bert was part of the Filipino-American Writers of North America, or FAWNA, that some of us had formed in the 1980s. Aside from myself and Bert, its members included fictionist Ninotchka Rosca, playwright Linda Faigao-Hall, poet Luis Cabalquinto, critic and essayist Antonio Manuud (+), fictionist Angel Grey Domingo (+), and political activist Ramon Hodel (+).  I am sure there were a few others whose names escape me now.

FAWNA was short-lived. As someone once quipped, organizing writers is like herding cats. But we did a few readings, the biggest one being at the St Mark’s Poetry Project, held at the landmark St Mark’s Church in the East Village.

Bert’s daughter Leila was then an aspiring singer and actress, and eventually landed the lead role on Miss Saigon, on Broadway. She acted in a short film I made, Flip’s Adventures in Wonderland.

I knew of Bert, from Peso Books and the Balintatawtelevision series, before meeting him and Eva. He was one of the most congenial writers I had ever met. He had no airs, was always in good humor, and forever bubbling with ideas for literary projects. Age had as yet to dim his infectious enthusiasm. We had some fun times together back when, it now seems, the temper of the times was, while certainly not innocent, not as bitterly partisan as it is now.

Adios, Kasamang Bert!

Copyright L.H. Francia 2018

Originally published on November 21, 2018 with this url https://usa.inquirer.net/16905/playwright-alberto-s-florentino-1931-2018#ixzz5YMJJ1Uth

The Manila Times: Three wordsmiths and their winning works

By Alvin Dacanay
Originally published by The Manila Times with the url https://www.manilatimes.net/three-wordsmiths-and-their-winning-works/454637/?fbclid=IwAR0w1jWkG3uzHKrHdwT8Oe-1ZsXJJfTT3jfta4FqAPx76nAMYvBLpGNGwF0

Fifty-four writers won in the 68th Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature earlier this month. Of that number, nearly half—26—have won before, clear proof that they continue to fulfill the potential that they showed when they first scored a Palanca, or even long before that. The Literary Life is delighted that, among this year’s previous awardees, three are recent contributors to this page.

One of them is playwright Allan B. Lopez, whose 2014 Palanca award-winning essay about his mother, “Return Flight,” saw print here in late May. This year, he placed third in the one-act play in Filipino category for “River Lethe,” which has two cancer patients having an affair and dealing with their mortality in between bouts of sex—the ultimate life-creating act—in a motel room.

Named after a mythical underworld river that causes forgetfulness, “River Lethe” won positive reviews when it was staged in the 14th Virgin Labfest at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) earlier this year. It is Lopez’s 11th creative work recognized at the Palancas. His other winning plays include “Higit Pa Dito” in 2010, “Masaganang Ekonomiya” in 2008 and “Anatomiya ng Pag-ibig” in 2004.

The dramatist describes “River Lethe” to Literary Life in an email as a “spiritual play” that ruminates on “mortality, passion, regret at dahas ng panahon.”

According to Lopez, he first thought of writing the play to the sound of a bell pealing while having coffee in a public plaza one afternoon in Luxembourg. He was told that the bell tolled every 3 p.m. for a minute, and noted that as it did people seemed to be following its rhythm as if it was the natural thing to do.

After it stopped tolling, while the world continued on its normal course of business, it seemed that something was cut in the scene that those who did not listen failed to notice, Lopez said in Filipino.

That was when my two characters—drowning in a “very private turmoil”—were born, he added.

It took the playwright more than a year to plan the play’s structure, and wrote it in one night after figuring out exactly what to do. The pattern was repeated after he had the play critiqued during a reading session of the Manila-based playwrights’ group Writer’s Bloc Inc., of which he is a longtime member.

Female experience

In contrast, poet Mark Angeles did the research for and penned his 14-poem collection “Ang Babae sa Balangiga at Iba Pang Tula” for about two months. For his efforts, he snagged second prize in the poetry in Filipino category this year. It is his fourth win, after “Engkantado” in 2010, “Asal-Hayop” in 2013 and “Di Lang Lalang” in 2016.

Angeles—whose poems “Distant Explosion,” “Buwan ng Wika” and “Where We Are” were published here within the last three months—calls his latest collection “an attempt at asserting the possibility of writing the biological and historical female experience in my capacity as a male poet.”

“I heard from somewhere that male writers have no right to write about female concerns, like menstruation and childbirth, simply because they cannot go through the pains and joys of these experiences. I wrote about these encounters in the first person in my poems,” said the 38-year-old, a senior high school teacher at Caloocan City’s Notre Dame of Greater Manila.

The poet quickly pointed out, however, that he “did not intend to antagonize women. Instead, the collection is my solidarity message, a celebration of womanhood, in a sense.”

“I want everyone to read about how women struggle as human—how they discover the functions of their bodies—and as part of society and history,” Angeles said.

Although he is yet to find time to gather his winning poems in a book, Angeles said some of the poems from “Ang Babae sa Balangiga” will appear in the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Creative Writing’s 12th issue of Likhaan: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature and the 40@40 special commemorative anthology. Both will be released later this year.

Constructing the self

If women’s experiences inspired Angeles’ collection, art inspired Rodrigo dela Peña Jr.’s first-placing English poetry collection, “Self-portrait with Plastic Bag,” in which he said he “became interested in exploring how a sense of self is constructed and how it may, in turn, be deconstructed through a poem.”

“I remember being enthralled by Georgette Chen’s Self-Portrait when I first saw it at the National Gallery of Singapore. The painting’s quiet confidence spoke to me and seemed to be telling me something,” dela Peña said.

“But I was also inspired by ordinary things, such as a plastic bag (a nod to the film American Beauty) and a carpenter’s tools. It’s a matter of being open and alert to poetic possibilities that might unfold,” he added.

According to the 36-year-old, who works as a project manager in a Singaporean events company, it took him about a year to finish “Self-portrait” while preoccupied with other writing projects.

“I do prefer to take my time when writing a poem and I’ve never written a complete poem in just one sitting, so one year to complete this suite of poems sounds about right,” he said.

Dela Peña’s latest win came after he nabbed third prize in 2015 for the now-published Aria and Trumpet Flourish and second prize last year for “Blood Compact,” both in the poetry in English category.

It also came three months after his Noli Me Tangere-inspired collection, “Tangere,” was named a finalist in Singapore’s Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prize. Another Singapore-based Filipino poet, Lawrence L. Ypil, won that award in August.

Literary Life published three poems from that collection—“Correspondence,” “Exchanges” and “In the Woods”—in the last three months.

As for the poems in “Self-portrait,” some will see print in the forthcoming Likhaan journal, while a few others were already featured in other publications. The collection’s opening poem, “You Did Not Ask to be Born,” is published here for the first time.

As the winning works of Lopez, Angeles and dela Peña, and those of the rest of this year’s Palanca awardees prove, Philippine literature continues to flourish in ways both expected and unexpected. That they continue to be recognized should encourage other writers, especially aspiring ones, to follow their example and persevere in the literary life. For most, if not all of them, it is a life like no other.

The Manila Times: Visayan National Artists seen to boost regional literature

Originally published by the Manila Times on Oct. 28, 2018 with the url: https://www.manilatimes.net/visayan-national-artists-seen-to-boost-regional-litetature/458240/

Two renowned writers from the Visayas joined five other Filipino arts practitioners in being inducted into the Order of National Artists (ONA) last week, with their inclusion seen as a major encouragement to and recognition of creative writing and literature in the regions.

In a ceremony in Malacañang last Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte conferred the National Artist title on essayist and literary historian Resil B. Mojares of Cebu province and the late novelist Ramon L. Muzones of Iloilo province.

He also bestowed the honor on the late illustrator Lauro “Larry” Alcala, composer Ryan Cayabyab, children’s theater pioneer Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio, architect Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa and maverick filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik (real name: Eric de Guia).

The President lauded the newest National Artists for their “passion and dedication to [their] chosen craft,” and urged them to “pass down their knowledge and skills to the younger generation, because it is only by educating and training the youth [that] the legacy and work of our artists can live on.”

Mojares told The Manila Times after the ceremony that he was “honored” to receive the award.

According to him, becoming a writer was not a conscious decision, but something that he grew into.

“I grew up in a provincial town (Dipolog in Zamboanga del Norte) where my parents were public school teachers; our home had a library; my father contributed articles to journals and magazines,” the septuagenarian author said in a brief interview last Friday.

For him, writing is “not a job,” but a “passion and compulsion,” adding that he considers another National Artist for Literature, Nick Joaquin, as “an important influence who I came to know early in my career.”

Holder of postgraduate degrees in literature from the University of San Carlos in Cebu and the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, Mojares was lauded by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) as “one of the leading figures in the promotion of regional literature and history.”

“As founding director of the Cebuano Studies Center—an important research institution which placed Cebu in the research and documentation map—he pioneered Cebuano and national identity formation,” the state-run arts agency said in a statement, referring to the professional role he performed from 1975 to 1996.

“For over 50 years, Mojares has published in diverse forms (fiction, essay, journalism, scholarly articles and books) across a wide range of disciplines (literature, history, biography, cultural studies and others),” it added.

Mojares has published 17 books and edited, co-edited or co-authored 11 others. These include The Origins and Rise of the Filipino Novel: A Generic Study of the Filipino Novel Until 1940 (1979); From Marcos to Aquino: Local Perspectives on Political Transition in the Philippines (1991); House of Memory: Essays (1997) (“My most personal work,” Mojares said); The War Against the Americans: Resistance and Collaboration in Cebu, 1899–1906 (1999); Waiting for Mariang Makiling: Essays in Philippine Cultural History (2002); Brains of the Nation: Pedro Paterno, T.H. Pardo de Tavera, Isabelo de los Reyes and the Production of Modern Knowledge (2006) (“The most substantial and scholarly”); and Isabelo’s Archive (2013), which the author professed to be his “current favorite,” because “it is an exercise in what I would like to do now, blur the boundary between literary and scholarly writing.”

The author won second prize for his short story “Beast in the Fields” in 1971, as well as several National Book Awards. For his contributions to Philippine literature, the Unyon ng mga Manunulat ng Pilipinas (Umpil, or Writers Union of the Philippines) bestowed on him the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas for lifetime achievement in 1997.

Prolific Ilonggo writer

On Muzones, the NCCA described him as a “Hiligaynon poet, essayist, short story writer, critic, grammarian, editor, lexicographer and novelist who authored an unprecedented 61 completed novels.”

Born on March 20, 1913, Muzones finished pre-law at Far Eastern University in Manila and law at Central Philippine University in Iloilo City in 1952, according to the Panitikan: Philippine Literature Portal website.

Some of his novels, a number of which are groundbreakers in Hiligaynon literature, are Ang Bag-ong Maria Clara, Maambong Nga Sapat (1940), Margosatubig (1946), Si Tamblot (1946), Si Tamblot Kandidato Man (1949), Ang Gugma sang Gugma Bayaran (1955), Babae Batuk sa Kalibutan (1959) Malala nga Gutom (1965), Shri-Bishaya (1969), and Dama de Noche (1982–1984).

“Hailed by his peers as the longest-reigning (1938 to 1972) among ‘the three kings of the Hiligaynon novel,’ Muzones brought about its most radical changes while ushering in modernism,” the agency said in the statement.

For his literary contributions, Muzones received the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas in 1988 and the Gawad CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) Para sa Sining in 1989. He died on Aug. 17, 1992.

Author and scholar Ma. Cecilia Locsin-Nava, who represented Muzones in Wednesday’s ceremony and who wrote History and Society in the Novels of Ramon Muzones (2001), told The Times that this recognition for the late author was a long time coming.

According to her, Muzones’ award marked the first time an author writing in a regional language garnered it.

“In the years since the ONA was instituted, those who win are always writers in Filipino or English. For the first time this year, somebody from the region won. So this is really history-making,” Locsin-Nava said.

She expressed hope that the honor conferred on Muzones and Mojares would serve as the dawn of a new era for regional writers.

“[T]he one thing they have in common is that [they] are pioneers in their field. They’re trailblazers, they start new things, and Resil’s talent is…entirely different from Muzones’, so I’m happy the judges [recognized this],” Locsin-Nava said.

She also said it was only fair to have authors writing in different Philippine languages also win the title, since “70 percent” of Filipinos “live in the provinces.”

“[P]eople from the regions should be recognized. It’s high time that they should get their place in the sun, because for 45 years they were ignored,” she added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE AND RALPH EDWIN U. VILLANUEVA / The Manila Times

Math professor returns to Palanca stage, bags two more wins

It’s rare to find someone who excels in polar disciplines like Math and literature. But for Early Sol A. Gadong, the ability to do both requires the discipline to do what needs to be done at the right moment and the will to pursue one’s passion even when things get tough and complicated.

Gadong, a high school professor at the University of the Philippines Visayas, recently earned distinctions at the 68th Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. Her work Sa Lum-ok Sang Imong Suso won first prize in the Hiligaynon Short Story category while Maraming-Maraming-Marami received the third prize in the Maikling Kuwentong Pambata category. She is one of only two writers who bagged prizes in two separate categories this year.

When asked how she’s able to write creative pieces despite her busy schedule, Gadong admitted, “You just have to take the little pockets of time to write.” True enough, she writes while having breakfast or waiting for her class to start.

Writing, for Gadong, is an enjoyable activity that allows her to relax, as well as pour out her thoughts and feelings. “It’s a cathartic process. Whether I’m extremely happy or sad, writing has been one of the best ways for me to cope with the surge of emotions,” she explained.

Sa Lum-ok Sang Imong Suso tells the story of two former girlfriends who struggle to get back together, juxtaposed with the changes happening in Iloilo brought about by a well of political actions. On the other hand, Maraming-Maraming-Marami narrates the tale of a child who tries to learn math concepts, motivated to do so by an older brother who works in the mines.

Gadong said that she found the inspiration to write the said children’s story through a seminar/workshop on child labor she attended. Being an educator who loves math and literature at the same time, she also shared that she can’t help but allude to math concepts when writing stories for kids. In the same way, she uses literature to teach math to her students. “These disciplines really influence each other in the way I teach,” Gadong remarked.

Her grades back in school may have showed her knack for numbers, but she knew that writing will always be part of her being. While pursuing a math course in college, Gadong would still seize opportunities to write for the school paper or join literary contests. Aside from fiction, she also writes non-fiction pieces in English, Filipino, and Hiligaynon.

Even as a professional, she would participate in writing workshops to hone her skills. She attended the San Agustin Writers Workshop in Iloilo City, the Iyas National Writers Workshop in Bacolod City, and the Ateneo National Writers Workshop in Quezon City.

A mother language writer

Gadong advocates writing in one’s mother tongue. It’s something that she was inspired to uphold after exposure with writing mentors such as Palanca Hall of Fame awardee Leoncio P. Deriada, who is a fictionist/playwright/poet, as well as other West Visayan writers whom she spends most of her time with.

One of her writing influences is John Iremil Teodoro, a published author in Kinaráy-a, which is an old Visayan language. “I learned the sensibilities of West Visayan setting, cultures, and traditions from him,” Gadong explained.

In 2015, Gadong and other West Visayan writers gathered to create Hubon Manunulat, an organization that provides an avenue for young Visayan writers to write in their mother tongue. The group regularly holds zine festivals, book summits, and writing conferences for aspiring writers and literary enthusiasts.

In 2016, she won her first Palanca award — second prize for her Hiligaynon short story Nagakaangay nga Panapton.

While her accomplishments both in math and literature seem astounding, Gadong asserted that solving equations and weaving stories are not just inherent skills. Rather, these are practices that keep the mind healthy and the psyche in check.

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.

Rappler: Duterte names 7 National Artists

Original story from Rappler with this link: https://www.rappler.com/nation/214953-list-national-artists-philippines-for-2018

MANILA, Philippines – Seven giants in Philippine art and culture will be named National Artists on Wednesday, October 24, in a ceremony in Malacañang.

They are cartoonist Larry Alcala, playwright Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio, composer Ryan Cayabyab, architect Francisco Mañosa, historian and literary critic Resil Mojares, fictionist Ramon Muzones, and filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik.

In a move sure to frustrate Noranians, actress Nora Aunor is again not on the list of awardees this year. (READ: Nora Aunor: A National Artist we deserve)

Malacañang sent the list to reporters late Tuesday afternoon, October 23, although a source involved in the selection process said the awardees were “proclaimed” Monday night, October 22. A few artists and literary writers had posted their versions of the list on social media earlier in the week.

The Order of National Artists is the highest recognition given by the government to Filipinos who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts. The Philippine president names them based on the recommendations of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

The country’s 7 new National Artists are:

Larry Alcala, National Artist for Visual Arts

Editorial cartoonist and illustrator Alcala’s pen brought to life the cartoon series Slice of Life in the Weekend Magazine, Mang Ambo in the Weekly Graphic, and Kalabog en Bosyo, the first comic strip where characters spoke in Taglish. His many works portrayed the idiosyncracies of the Filipino, especially our ability to laugh at ourselves in the face of great adversity, as personified in the character of Mang Ambo. The two detectives in Kalabog en Bosyo were brought to the big screen and played by comedians Dolphy and Panchito in a film by Sampaguita Pictures. Alcala died in 2002 at the age of 75.

Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio, National Artist for Theater

For her work in writing plays, promoting children’s theater, and puppetry, Bonifacio has been called the “Grande Dame of Southeast Asian Children’s Theater.” She has penned 40 plays, 20 books, and 30 stories, according to panitikan.ph, and was chairperson of the University of the Philippines’ Creative Writing Program. She founded Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas, a children’s theater and puppetry troupe based in UP.

Ryan Cayabyab, National Artist for Music

“Mr C” is perhaps the most famous Filipino composer in recent history. He has composed musical scores for award-winning films, 10 full-length Filipino musicals, full-length ballets, a major opera, and a plethora of songs, including beloved classics like “Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka” and “Da Coconut Nut.” A force for original Pilipino music, he has spearheaded the Philippine Popular Music Festival and served as judge in talent shows, like Philippine Idol and Philippine Dream Academy. He leads the 7-member Ryan Cayabyab Singers.

Francisco ‘Bobby’ Mañosa, National Artist for Architecture

If Mañosa is a name unknown to you, the same likely cannot be said of his iconic works. The architect known for his modern interpretation of Philippine architectural design and use of indigenous materials is behind the Coconut Palace, world-famous Amanpulo Resort in Palawan, Pearl Farm in Samal Island, Shangri-La Hotel in Mactan, and the San Miguel building in Mandaluyong, among others. For his pioneering vision and promotion of indigenous Filipino architecture, Mañosa has garnered many accolades, both locally and internationally.

Resil Mojares, National Artist for Literature

Mojares is a multi-awarded writer, historian, and literary critic. His works include Origins and Rise of the Filipino Novel, The War Against the Americans, and books about eminent Filipinos, such as Vicente Sotto, Pedro Paterno, Isabelo delos Reyes, and Trinidad Pardo de Tavera. He has won several National Book Awards from the Manila Critics Circle and founded the Cebuano Studies Center, a library and research center dedicated to Cebuano culture and history.

Ramon Muzones, National Artist for Literature

Muzones is the preeminent name in West Visayan fiction. He is best known for his Hiligaynon novel Margosatubig: The Story of Salagunting, about a fictional Muslim state in Mindanao and the struggles of its hero, Salagunting, to wrest it from the clutches of usurpers. A tale that combines intrigue, romance, pre-colonial lore, fantasy, and adventure, it unfolded as a series in the Hiligaynon magazine Yuhum. In 1989, he received the Gawad CCP para sa Sining, an award given every 3 years to artists whose works have enriched their art form. His proclamation as National Artist is posthumous as Muzones died in 1992.

Kidlat Tahimik, National Artist for Cinema

Widely regarded as the father of independent Philippine cinema, Kidlat Tahimik (real name: Eric de Guia) is known for creating films that humorously but evocatively critique neocolonialism. A native of Baguio City, Tahimik has garnered numerous international and local awards for his films. His first, Perfumed Nightmare (1977), won the International Critics Award at the Berlin Film Festival. He has gone on to inspire generations of Filipino filmmakers to forge on with their independent vision, regardless of commercial considerations. In 2009, he received the UP Gawad Plaridel Award, the University of the Philippines’ highest award recognizing achievements in media.


The 3 female weavers given the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan award or named National Living Treasures in 2017 will also formally receive their award on Wednesday.

The 3 National Living Treasures are:

Yabing Masalon Dulo, B’laan ikat weaver

Yabing Dulo, also known as Fu Yabing, is a master of the craft of Mabal Tabih, a craft belonging to the B’laan tribe in Polomolok, South Cotabato. She learned the craft at the age of 10. Tabih is a woven textile made from abaca and natural dyes. Spiritually important to the B’laan, Tabih is used to make blankets, traditional skirts, and long-sleeved blouses. It makes use of designs inspired from nature or dreams.

Ambalang Ausalin, Yakan weaver

Apuh Ambalang, as she is called, is famous in her hometown of Lamitan and beyond for her mastery of even the most intricate of Yakan weaving styles. She is particularly unique for her seputangan creations. Seputangan is a special cloth placed on the shoulders of brides and grooms during weddings and boasts intricate designs. Apuh Ambalang can execute even the smallest designs, from the dawen-dawen (leaf-like) to the dinglu or mata (diamond/eye) patterns.

Estelita Bantilan, B’laan mat weaver

Bantilan, who hails from Sarangani, is recognized for her exemplary execution of B’laan mat or igem weaving techniques. B’laan mats, created using only deft hands, feature brilliantly-colored geometric designs and patterns made from dyed leaf strips.

– Rappler.com

Pundok Katitikan: Conversations about Creative Writing

The UP Cebu Creative Writing Program invites everyone to “Pundok Katitikan: Conversations about Creative Writing” on October 24, 2018, Wednesday, 5-8pm, at the Jose Joya Gallery.

It will feature distinguished Cebuano literary writers Josua S. Cabrera, Erik E. Tuban, Johanna Michelle Lim, and Karla Quimsing-Sinson.

Taipei Times: Detained OFW in Taiwan, 2 other Pinoys win in migrant literature award

Third place was a Filipino migrant worker whose name was not released, as she is serving a prison sentence in Taiwan.In a prerecorded video shown at the ceremony, she said that her work addresses the difficulties she encountered in defending her innocence in court, including being prevented from hiring a lawyer from the Philippines.

Two other Filipinos shared the second place — Melinda Babaran and Louie Jean Decena.

The article titled, “Migrant literature award winners gather in Taipei” was originally published by Taipei Times on Oct. 2, 2018 with the url http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2018/10/02/2003701580

This year’s Taiwan Literature Awards for Migrants on Sunday were presented to winners from Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The candidates’ writing has enriched Taiwan’s literary landscape and promotes cultural understanding, National Museum of Taiwan Literature deputy director Hsiao Shu-chen (蕭淑貞) said.

Now in its fifth year, the competition received 553 submissions in Tagalog, Indonesian, Vietnamese or Thai by immigrants or migrant workers living in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia, making it the largest of its type in the world.

Loso Abdi, from Indonesia, won the top prize and the Teen Choice Award for Tentang Cinta (About Love), which describes the love a migrant caretaker bestows upon a Taiwanese child with special needs whom she looks after.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Taiwan for hosting the competition,” said Loso Abdi, who worked in Taiwan from 2011 to 2015.

Melinda Babaran, a Philippine employee at a Taiwanese semiconductor factory, shared second place with Louie Jean Decena, also from the Philippines and working in Taiwan.

In Latay sa Laman, Babaran expresses her love for her father, whom she misses when she has no one to talk to. In Ang Mahiwagang Kahon ni Itay, Decena describes the longing of migrant workers for their families at home.

Yuli Riswati’s Luka Itu Masih Ada di Tubuhku and Pratiwi Wulansari’s story, Orang-orang Penampungan, were among the three pieces chosen for third place.

The two Indonesian authors, both working in Hong Kong, address migrant issues in their entries.

Also in third place was a Philippine migrant worker whose name was not released, as she is serving a prison sentence in Taiwan.

In a prerecorded video shown at the ceremony, she said that her work addresses the difficulties she encountered in defending her innocence in court, including being prevented from hiring a lawyer from the Philippines.

She was assigned a Taiwanese lawyer, but she did not know whether he interpreted her words correctly when he addressed the authorities in Mandarin, she said.

The award, initiated in 2014 by Southeast Asian bookstore Brilliant Time, is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Pegatron Electronics Co, among other sponsors.

Sunstar: 10th Taboan Writers Festival in Bohol

Originally published by Sunstar on October 3, 2018 https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1767331

A flagship project of the National Commission of Culture and the Arts, the Taboan Writers Festival is an annual gathering of writers from all over the country. The festival sets up shop in a different region every year where writers, readers, scholars, researchers and lovers of Philippine literature trade diverse ideas about culture, history and the literary arts. It is an exciting venue for writers to interact with one another and with their audience. The festival usually includes a conference, a book fair, the Taboan Awards, and performances by local artists’ groups, all of which are open to the public. Local and national writers’ organizations, along with universities and schools, particularly their students, faculty members, and researchers, will share in this enrichment of Philippine literature.

This year, the 10th Taboan Writers Festival will happen at the 10th largest island of the Philippines: Bohol. The event is supported by the University of San Carlos Cebuano Studies Center, the local government of Bohol, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., and Smart Communications.

The festival will be on Oct. 19 and 20 at the Bohol Cultural Center in Tagbilaran City.

Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu, chair of the National Committee on Literary Arts and this year’s Taboan Festival director, said that the Taboan 2018’s theme is “Sandúgò: Philippine Literature in the Digital Age.” It resonates with Bohol’s cultural identity as well as highlights the writers’ commitment to their art produced during a time when it is often mediated by technology.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Resil B. Mojares, while the plenary speaker will be Dr. Marjorie Evasco, who is also one of this year’s Taboan awardees. The other Boholano awardees are Ulysses Aparece, Edgar Godin and, posthumously, Anthony Incon and Clovis Nazareno.

Hundreds of national and local writers as well as teachers and students of literature are expected to attend the festival activities. Panel discussions in parallel sessions on the following topics will be conducted: diasporic writers, environment/writing catastrophe, emerging experimental writing, fake news, imagi/NATION and threats to nationhood. There will also be panel discussions on the genres of children’s literature, creative nonfiction, graphic literature, performance poetry, speculative fiction and young adult literature.

Delegates in Taboan Festivals consist of the country’s most prolific, as well as promising writers and mixed media artists. Delegates from the National Capital Region are Renante G. Ciar, Edrick S. Carrasco,Will P. Ortiz, Anna Felicia C. Sanchez, Joselito D. Delos Reyes and Dawn Marie Nicole L. Marfil. From Luzon are the following delegates: Monica S. Macansantos, Melvin C. Magsanoc, Roland Erwin P. Rabang, Crispina S. Dela Cruz, Daisy C. Ricardo, Eduardo J. Piano, Roilingel P. Calilung, Honesto M. Pesimo, Jr. and Elbert O. Baeta. Delegates from the Visayas are Early Sol A. Gadong, Hezron G. Pios, Joanalyn P. Gabales, Charles Dominic Sanchez, Alsteine Joi Diapana, Rosalina R. Sarabosing, Rene Ponte, Noel Tuazon, Reynaldo Monreal, Fred Jordan Carnice, Ramon Boloron, Haidee Emmie K. Palapar, Firie Jill T. Ramos and Jenelyn V. Garcia. Mindanao is represented by Jade Mark B. Capiñanes, Errol A. Merquita, Mario L. Cuezon, Alton Melvar M. Dapanas, Floraime O. Pantaleta and Jason R. Kanindot.