He won the most number of Palanca Awards—35—and was elevated to the awards’ Hall of Fame in 2000. Some 15 of his 35 Palanca wins were first prize winning pieces—it only takes five first prize wins to attain Hall of Fame status. Ed’s first Palanca Award was for the short story in Filipino “Ipis sa Guhong Templo” in 1971.
Poet, storyteller, playwright, essayist, translator, teacher, diplomat, activist and all-around gentleman Edgardo Barco Maranan also received honors at the Philippines Graphic’s Nick Joaquin Literary Awards (NJLA) twice: One third prize for the story “Luna’s Island” in 2006 and a first prize win for “Native Land” in 2015.
Ed earned his Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Service in 1967 from UP Diliman, where he wrote for the Philippine Collegian. His work has been published in the Philippines Graphic, and the now-defunct Philippines Free Press.
In the years just prior to the First Quarter Storm, Ed become heavily involved in activism and, when martial law was declared in 1972, he and his wife at the time, Aida Santos, had to go underground. He was arrested in 1976, and spent two years as a political prisoner.
All the harshness of the world unleashed upon Ed did not destroy his cheerful, sunny nature one whit. He was ever the kindly gentleman when at his habitual haunts of the Palanca Awards night in Makati, and the Nick Joaquin Literary Awards.
For all his prolific pen and its formidable output, Ed’s demeanor was never touched with hubris. He was kind and very modest, always inclusive of those in his orbit. For all that his poetry was the perfect distillate of emotion-imbued imagery, Ed sent us at the Graphic more fiction than poetry. When asked why, his answer was unassuming and honest: “Fiction gets paid more.”
He sent this literary editor beautiful poetry and stories, and, when he didn’t, he sent funny quotes and links to inspirational stories to the firstname.lastname@example.org inbox dedicated solely to the magazine’s literary submissions. He is the only contributor to the Graphic literary section to have his own folder in the literary inbox.
A member of the Baguio Writers Group, Ed was a prolific writer—and his quantity of work was quality work, too. It was always a pleasure to read what he sent.
Besides writing, Ed also worked as a professor of political science, and Philippine studies, at the UP and as an information officer in the Philippine Embassy in London.
This son of Bauan, Batangas was born on Nov. 7, 1946, the eldest of eight children of businessman Diego Maranan and homemaker Leonora Barca.
Ed’s family moved to Bagiuo City when he was four years old, and that is where he grew up. He is one of the most respected writers—and one of the most competitive—writers of the country. He died of cirrhosis of the liver on May 8. He was 72.
The nation has lost a kind soul whose words and word-craft captured the culture and changing times of the Philippines, the Filipino and the Filipino’s eye on the world with keen clarity.
We at the Graphic bid him farewell with tears in our eyes. His folder in the literary inbox will remain where it is, our little memorial to him.