The university experience isn’t the same. We’ve found ways to cope with the new learning mode, but we know that it’s still a mixed bag of joy and hardship. In this time, we want to hear what the students think and feel. We want to know about your narratives. Hence, the Likhaan: UP Institute of Creative Writing, with support from the UP System, is holding the monthly literary contest, Life UPdates. 

Life UPdates is a UP system-wide literary contest that will be held over six months. All students from all UP campuses are qualified. Through this project, we want to give UP students an avenue to pour their creative energies into, and to connect the student bodies through the sharing of narratives. Financial assistance will also be granted to winners in the form of a cash prize. 

We are opening the contest for six categories:

  1. Maikling Kuwento
  2. Short Story
  3. Poetry
  4. Tula
  5. Essay
  6. Sanaysay

Six judges will be selected as the panel for the contest. 

The contest period is from March 2022 to September 2022. For every month, two (2) champions will be selected for each genre for a total of twelve monthly champions. 1st and 2nd runners-up will also be given recognition and prizes. In special cases, one honorable mention may be awarded in any genre in that month if the work earns enough merit from the judges. Prizes for the monthly winners are as follows:

  • Champion – P10,000
  • 1st and 2nd runners-up – P5,000
  • Honorable mention, if any – P5,000

At the end of the contest in September, a grand winner and two runners-up will be selected by the judges for each language category across all genres. Three winners will each be chosen for Filipino and English, granting prizes to a total of six winners. The prizes are as follows:

  • Grand champion – P20,000
  • 1st runner-up – P15,000
  • 2nd runner-up – P10,000

The deadline for submissions is every 15th of the month, with the winners being announced at the last day of the month.

Winning entries will be posted monthly on the dedicated section of, as well as Likhaan’s social media channels and through partners in the UP system. 

Here are the qualifications and guidelines for submission:

  1. All UP students in the undergraduate level or higher may participate in the contest. 
  2. The works submitted must be 2-3 pages, double-spaced. This rule applies to all genres. For poetry, the works may be one long poem or a suite of 2-3 poems. 
  3. Students must include a photo or artwork that will accompany their work. It will be used as a display image. 
  4. Works written in other native Philippine languages may be accepted provided that they are accompanied by a translation in English or Filipino. 
  5. The author’s name must not be present anywhere in the manuscript. The file name must be the title of the work.
  6. Students must send proof of their enrolment (Form 5 or another proof that they have not yet finished their studies like LOA)
  7. In their email submission, students must also provide their student number, current degree program, and the UP campus they are enrolled in.
  8. Send your entries to [email protected] with the following subject line:
    Life UPdates_[GENRE]_[MONTH]_[Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial]

PLEASE NOTE that from the third round onwards (April 16 – present), victors are no longer allowed to submit another entry in the category they already won in. We want to give fairer chances for all students.

Winners may also be featured on the UP ICW’s online series, PAN: Panayam sa Panitikan sa Panahon ng Pandemya, and GANAP: Literatura at Musika sa Gitna ng Pandemya. 

At the end of the day, we want to encourage students to write primarily for the sake of writing. We want this to be your space for creativity, connection, and catharsis. 

We look forward to your updates. Stay safe and sane always.