The 68th Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature feted its winners, most of whom were new voices in the literary scene, as well as honored a staunch member of the “old guard” of literateurs with a lifetime achievement award.
Nick Joaquin Literary Awards judge and Philippine Star columnist Alfred “Krip” Yuson was conferred the Gawad Dangal ng Lahi, the Palanca Awards’ lifetime achievement award for his contributions to the Philippine literary scene—including novels, collections of poetry and short fiction, essays and children’s stories. He was the keynote speaker and guest of honor and he’d gathered 13 Palanca Awards across various categories. He had been elevated to the Palanca Hall of Fame in 2001.
“It’s been exactly half a century since I joined the Palanca family,” Yuson said in his keynote address to the packed Rigodon Ballroom of the Peninsula Manila. “While tonight we celebrate the 68th edition of this traditional rite of passage that Filipino creative writers look forward to, it was in 1968, or 50 years ago, that I happened to be inititated in the rolls of Palanca winners.”
He related the story of his first Palanca win. He’d sent short story to Nick Joaquin, then the literary editor of the Philippines Free Press. Joaquin submitted the story to the Palanca Awards without Yuson’s knowledge. The first win, a third prize, “was quite a surprise for me, too. I still distinctly recall how the telegram, through RCPI, was somehow relayed to me in Cebu, where I was then enjoying a brief vacation.” Yuson also said that “towards the end of the year, the same story won First Prize in the Philippines Free Press’ own contest.”
Joaquin became National Artist for Literature in 1974, and he took the helm of the Philippines Graphic when the magazine reopened in 1990.
GROWING LITERARY FAMILY
This iteration of the iconic Palanca Awards saw the much-anticipated “family reunion” of the country’s literati welcoming 28 first-time Palanca winners.
A total of 54 writers were chosen as this year’s batch of winners. Two authors each bagged prizes in two separate categories. A total of 20 regular categories were opened this year. The winning entries were evaluated and chosen by an elite roster of literary personalities from various fields.
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.
Yuson’s keynote address struck that chord of parental pride that was visible across the Rigodon ballroom as the younger winners stood onstage, with proud family members shooting photos of them.
“The most memorable detail was that unbeknownst to me” Yuson said, “it turned out that my father [Armando Yuson] was there. He never showed himself to me. He must have gate-crashed the proceedings, with his large camera, as he had just become a photography bug, to make sure he would take photos of me in my moment of glory.”
This year’s awards also saw journalists among the ranks of the winner and judges.
The winners for the Kabataan Sanaysay were: Jack Lorenz Acebedo Rivera, 1st Prize, for “Paglaya Mula sa Pagtakas”; Jacob Renz R. Ambrocio, 2nd Prize, for “Sino ang Lumansag sa Lunday ni Lola Basyang?” and; Maria Jamaica S. Columbres, 3rd Prize, for “Gulugod sa Pagsibol ng Binhi.”
The Kabataan Essay winners were: Floriane T. Taruc, 1st Prize, for “Worlds Behind Words”; Jaz Varon Villanueva, 2nd Prize, for “Boundless” and; Jana Gillian Ang, 3rd Prize, for “A Passage to Reading.”
The winners for the Maikling Kuwento were: Eugene C. Soyosa, 1st Prize, for “Gina”; Andrew A. Estacio, 2nd Prize, for “Ang Kanonisasyon ng mga Santa Santino” and; Luna Sicat Cleto, 3rd Prize, for “Tatlong Proposisyon ng Puting Hangin”
The Maikling Kuwento Pambata winners were: Jerwin Eileen G.C. Tarnate, 1st Prize, for “Ang Higad at ang Paru-paro”; Eugene Y. Evasco, 2nd Prize, for “Siyap ng Isang Sisiw” and; Early Sol A. Gadong, 3rd Prize, for “Maraming-Maraming-Marami.”
The Sanaysay winners were: Engr. Gil A. Dulon Jr., 1st Prize, for “Amoral Ang Siyensya Subalit May Boses Din Ang Mga Maso”; Adelma L. Salvador, 2nd Prize, for “Kambak-kambak” and; Iza Maria G. Reyes, 3rd Prize, for “Hindi Ako Dalisay.”
The winners for the Tula were: Paul Alcoseba Castillo, 1st Prizefor “Luna’t Lunas”; Mark Anthony S. Angeles, 2nd Prize, for “Ang Babae sa Balangiga at iba pang Tula” and; Noel Galon, 3rd Prize, for “Ang Bata sa Panahon ng Ligalig: Mga Tulasa loob at labas ng Bayan ng San Diego.”
The Tula Para sa mga Bata winners were: Paterno B. Baloloy Jr., 1st Prize, for “Paumanhin ng Kuting”; Will P. Ortiz, 2nd Prize, “Himbing na Kuting at iba pang Tula sa Ilalim ng Araw” and; Noel P. Tuazon, 3rd Prize, for “Klik Madyik,”
The winners for the Dulang may Isang Yugto winners were: Michelle Josephine G. Rivera, 1st Prize, “Kaharian ng Pinto”; Maynard Gonzales Manansala, 2nd Prize, for “Tao Po” and; Allan B. Lopez, 3rd Prize, for “River Lethe.”
Only the third prize was given for the Dulang Ganap ang Haba to Rolin Cadallo Obina, for “San Nicolas (Ang Sarsuwela).”
The Dulang Pampelikula winners were: James Ladioray, 1st Prize, for “11 Septembers”; Arden Rod B. Condez, 2nd Prize, for “John Denver Trending” and; Andrian M. Legaspi, 3rd Prize, for “Pandanggo sa Hukay.”
The winners for the Short Story in Cebuano were: Januar E. Yap, 1st Prize, for “Baradero”; Dave T. Pregoner, 2nd Prize, “Sunog” and; Leoncio P. Deriada, 3rd Prize, “Dili Baya ko Bugoy.”
The winners for the Short Story in Hiligaynon were: Early Sol A. Gadong, 1st Prize, for “Sa Lum-ok Sang Imo Suso”; Alice Tan Gonzales, 2nd Prize, for “Haya” and; Dulce Maria V. Deriada, 3rd Prize, for “Candelaria.”
The winners for the Short Story in Ilokano were: Ariel Sotelo Tabag, 1st Prize, for “Gasanggasat”; Paul Blanco Zafaralla, 2nd Prize, for “Sarming” and; Jaime M. Agpalo Jr., 3rd Prize, Nakakidem-a-Simumulagat.”
The winners for the Short Story in English were: Joe Bert Lazarte, 1st Prize, for “Describe the Rapture”; Francis Paolo M. Quina, 2nd Prize, for “Pigs” and; Matthew Jacob F. Ramos, 3rd Prize, for “The Final Bullet.”
Only the third prize was given for the Short Story for Children, to Maryrose Jairene Cruz-Eusebio, for “I have Two Mothers.”
The winners for the Essay were: Television journalist Jefry Canoy, 1st Prize, for “Buhay Pa Kami: Dispatches from Marawi”; Ronnie E. Baticulon, 2nd Prize, for “Some Days You Can’t Save Them All” and;
Chuck D. Smith, 3rd Prize, for “Origin Story.”
The winners for Poetry in English were: Rodrigo V. Dela Peña Jr., 1st Prize, for “Self-portrait with Plastic Bag”; Shane Carreon, 2nd Prize, for “The Gods who Dissolved under our Tongues and other Poems” and; Jose Luis B. Pablo, 3rd Prize, for “To Desire in Liturgy.”
The winners for Poetry Written for Children were: Maria Amparo Nolasco Warren, 1st Prize, for “Lola Elina Maria’s Savory-Sweet Cookbook of Poetry”; Sigrid Marianne P. Gayangos, 2nd Prize, for “Of Monsters, Math and Magic” and; Roselle Eloise B. Bunayog, 3rd Prize, for “Brave, Undying Warriors.”
The winners of the One-Act Play were: Katrina M. Bonillo, 1st Prize, for “Burying Mamang in Sugar”; Joe Bert Lazarte, 2nd Prize, for “Senator Pancho Aunor’s Blue Balls of Despair and Disillusionment” and; Luciano Sonny O. Valencia, 3rd Prize, for “Leavings.”
The winners of the Full-length Play were: Beryl Andrea P. Delicana, 1st Prize, for “Mango Tree”; Patrick James M. Valera, 2nd Prize, for “Symphony” and; Dominique La Victoria, 3rd Prize, for “Toward the Fires of Revolution.”
The Philippines Graphic congratulates all the awardees, especially those who have contributed work to our literary pages: Luna Sicat Cleto, Adelma L. Salvador, Mark Anthony S. Angeles, Januar E. Yap, Matthew Jacob F. Ramos, Rodrigo V. Dela Peña Jr., Maria Amparo Nolasco Warren and Sigrid Gayangos.
As Yuson said a the end of his keynote address, “keep saving and adding to your files, young writers, whether they’re digital or in hardcopy, even scribbled on assorted sheets of paper. You’ll never know when you’ll be called upon to become the heroes of memory, and valorous continuity — best of all, in helpful harmony with everyone.” G