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Umpil literary awardees bared; national confab to open Aug. 28

Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (Umpil), or the Writers’ Union of the Philippines, has named this year’s recipients of its Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas for their significant contributions to the development of Philippine literature in any language:

Lamberto G. Ceballos (Tula at Kathang Cebuano); Querubin D. Fernandez Jr. (Tulang Kapampangan); Steven Patrick Fernandez (Dula sa Filipino); Luis Francia (Essay in English); Eulalio R. Guieb III (Kathang Filipino); Nilo P. Pamonag (Tula at Kathang Hiligaynon); José Victor Peñaranda (Poetry in English); and Lorenzo G. Tabin (Tula at Kathang Ilocano).


The Gawad Paz Marquez Benitez for outstanding literature teacher will be bestowed on Regina Garcia Groyon while the Gawad Pedro Bucaneg for outstanding literary organization will be conferred upon Sumakwelan Iloilo.


The awarding ceremonies will be held on Aug. 30, 3 p.m., at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) Auditorium.

The awarding will be the culminating event of the 2014 Umpil Pambansang Kumperensiya, which will be held on Aug. 28-30 at UP CMC.



Ceballos, who hails from Cebu, has received the Don Carlos Palanca Award, Writer of the Year Award and Hall of Fame from the Bathalad, and 2013 Taboan Literary Award given by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Subcommittee on Literary Arts. He has seven novels.


Fernandez is former editor and columnist of local newspapers in Pampanga. He has won prizes for his poetry and fiction from the Don Gonzalo Puyat Memorial Awards for Pampango Literature. His poetry collections include “Bulung Dutung” and “Yamut Dikut.”


Fernandez is executive and artistic director of the Integrated Performing Arts Guild (Ipag) based in Mindanao State University Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT). He is a prize-winning director and playwright whose productions celebrate the colorful history and culture of Mindanao.


Francia lives in New York City. His nonfiction works include the memoir “Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago,” winner of both the 2002 PEN Open Book Award and the 2002 Asian American Writers award, and “Memories of Overdevelopment: Reviews and Essays of Two Decades.”



Guieb is an anthropologist who has won Palanca and Gawad CCP prizes for his teleplays, short stories and creative nonfiction.


Pamonag is a fictionist, poet and judge based in Iloilo. His numerous works published in Hiligaynon and Yuhum have raised the literary quality of Hiligaynon writing.


Peñaranda is a poet, independent writer-researcher, resource person on community development, and trainer on self and social transformation. His poetry collections include “Voyage in Dry Season,” “Pilgrim in Transit,” and “Lucid Lightning.” He has won the Palanca and National Book Awards. He is a board member of the Philippine Center of International PEN.


Tabin hails from Ilocos Sur and lives in Utah, USA. He has published more than 15 novels and 62 short stories, many of which appeared in Bannawag, Rimat, TMI Journal, Asia Philippines Leader, and are included in English anthologies published in USA.


Groyon taught literature at the University of St. La Salle and Maryknoll College. She was awarded professorial chairs in the humanities for her researches and studies on Negrense writers and their writing. She lives in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.


Hiligaynon writers

Sumakwelan Iloilo, Inc. was founded by Hiligaynon writers and journalists in March 1948 to promote and advance writing in Hiligaynon. Ramon Muzones, author of 63 novels, was the first president. This organization sponsors literary contests and literary and language publications.


Theme of the 2014 Umpil national conference is “Ang Rehiyonal na Panitikan Bilang Pambansang Panitikan” (Regional Literature as National Literature). Key speakers include Reynaldo Ileto and Rosario C. Lucero.


Panel topics include the poetics of the region, critical tradition, literature in the time of K+12, and regional cinema.


This conference is supported by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Philippine Soong Ching Ling Foundation, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc., and UP CMC.


Umpil writers and members are enjoined to attend the event. For non-members, registration fee is P3,000, which covers entry to all sessions, workshop kit, lunch and snacks, and certificate. For inquiries, contact Eva Cadiz at 0917-8453721 or e-mail [email protected]