THE CARLOS Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature this year fell on the second day of the month, rather than the usual Sept. 1, but it did not stop the yearly merrymaking at the Peninsula Manila.
Widely regarded as the most highly prized literature award in the country, the Palanca awards night is, indeed, a celebration of many things. It is a coming together of veteran writers, young bloods and literary enthusiasts who weave together the shared history of our nation through their written opus.
This integration of Filipino authors was proudly highlighted by Criselda “Dang” Cecilio-Palanca in her sponsor’s remarks as a continuum that spans genres and generations.
“By way of this institutionalized award, Filipino writers have been giving voice to the history, memories, aspirations and imagined future of our people,” she said. “It is our country’s wholeness as a continually woven tapestry of voices that are put down on paper.”
Now on its 66th year, she said the Palanca awards has recognized talent from the post-war stalwarts to baby boomers, to generation Xers and to today’s miillennials.
This was reflected by the 52 winning works handpicked by 57 judges from almost a thousand entries in 22 categories. The 51 winners featured 24 first-time Palanca recipients.
While millennials often carry an infamous reputation, this generation has shown promise in numbers in the Palanca awards.
Fourteen winners were aged 31 to 40 years old, while 12 awardees were 21 to 30 years old. Meanwhile, eight winners were 20 and below, meaning two won outside the categories solely intended for the youth.
One of them was Richard Cornelio, who took home the first prize for the Short Story category with his work titled “Zoetrope.” A 19-year-old materials engineering student from the University of the Philippines Diliman, he said: “I think young writers, especially in the Philippines, should not be afraid to choose other paths other than their college courses, for instance. They should not box themselves.”
Two other young writers with writing ties with the Inquirer also emerged as winners in two separate categories both intended for children.
Poetry for children
Patricia Celina Ngo, a Young Blood contributor, won third prize for her work titled “Miniature Masterpieces” for Poetry Written for Children.
“I want to contribute to the local scene, especially for poetry for children,” said the fourth year management engineering from the Ateneo de Manila University who, similar to Cornelio, balances her love for writing and her pursuit of her college degree.
Joemar Furigay, a Grade 10 English teacher at Las Piñas High School, is another Inquirer contributor. He was the sole winner in the Short Story for Children category, earning the third prize for his work “Saranggola.”
“Being here, it feels like swimming in the dessert,” Furigay said.
Previous Palanca winners also graced the event.
Eugene Evasco, a recipient of the Palanca Hall of Fame in 2008, won two awards in different categories: third prize in Maikling Kwentong Pambata for “Ambon ng Liwanag” and second prize in Sanaysay for “Mga Pagsasanay sa Paggalugad ng Siyudad.”
He was delighted to know that the first prize winner for Maikling Kwentong Pambata category, Annalyn Leyesa-Go for “Ang Nakabibilib na si Lola Ising,” was his former student in UP Diliman. “It means that the standards are even going higher,” Evasco said. “The new writers can explore new things, more fresh ideas than what we have experienced.”
Other returning awardees are Ana Maria “Mookie” Lacuesta, who won first prize in the Poetry category for “Hush Harbor” and Merlinda Bobis, second prize in the same category for “Accidents of Composition.”
Hall of Famer Peter Solis Nery bagged first prize in the One-Act Play category for “Tic-Tac-Toe.” For the Full-Length Play category, Joachim Emilio Antonio won first prize for his Jose Rizal-inspired work, “The Floret Road.” Its excerpts were staged during the night, with direction by Bart Guingona.
Gawad Dangal ng Lahi
Multiawarded actor, director and theater artist and guest of honor Antonio “Tony” Mabesa was conferred the Gawad Dangal ng Lahi for his outstanding career over the past six decades.
This year has been a homecoming of sorts for Mabesa, as the veteran actor’s first involvement in the awards was when he was cast in the staging of the Fidel Sicam’s comedy “Pitong Taon” in the 25th Palanca awards in December 1975.
And this feeling of coming home is not lost to the many writers who came to celebrate the night. Old and new, young and not-so-young, the Palanca awards remain to be a night fit for the literary stars of today and tomorrow. With the remarkable works lauded on that September night, the promise of an illustrious Philippine literature scene burns brighter.
The complete list of winners:
1st Prize Mikaela Lu Apollo “Hulagway sa Rabaw ng Tubig”
2nd Prize Harvey D. Lor Minsan “Nag-Selfie ang Isang Propagandista”
3rd Prize Jason Renz D. Barrios “Ang Pinakamagandang Pamato sa Larong Piko”
1st Prize Jill Esther V. Parreño “To Thine Own Self Be True”
2nd Prize Dawn Gabriela Emmanuele G. Dela Rosa “Then The Abstract Was Misunderstood”
3rd Prize Alpheus Matthew D. Llantero “iThink, Therefore iAm”
1st Prize Orlando A. Oliveros “Ang Daga”
2nd Prize Emmanuel T. Barrameda “Bangkera”
3rd Prize Paolo Miguel G. Tiausas “Cutter”
MAIKLING KUWENTONG PAMBATA
1st Prize Annalyn Leyesa-Go “Ang Nakabibilib na si Lola Ising”
2nd Prize Manuelita Contreras-Cabrera “May Pula”
3rd Prize Eugene Y. Evasco “Ambon ng Liwanag”
1st Prize Christopher S. Rosales “Pugonna De-Gulong”
2nd Prize Eugene Y. Evasco “Mga Pagsasanay sa Paggalugad ng Siyudad”
3rd Prize Segundo Matias “#PaperDolls”
1st Prize Mark Anthony S. Angeles “‘Di Lang Lalang”
2nd Prize Louie Jon Agustin Sanchez “Tempus Per Annum at Iba pang Tula”
3rd Prize Allan John Andres “#Pagsisiyasat Sa Sugat”
TULA PARA SA MGA BATA
1st Prize German Villanueva Gervacio “Ang Totoo, Raya, Ang buwan ay Itlog ng Butiki”
2nd Prize John Patrick F. Solano “Tiniklop-tiklop na Bugtong”
3rd Prize Vijae Orquia Alquisola “Awit ng Bakwit”
DULANG MAY ISANG YUGTO
1st Prize Real Name: Miguel Antonio Alfredo V. Luarca “Bait”
Literary Name: Guelan Varela-Luarca
2nd Prize Mark Adrian Crisostomo Ho “Billboard”
3rd Prize Ma. Cecilia C. De La Rosa “Ang Mga Bisita ni Jean”
DULANG GANAP ANG HABA
1st Prize walang nagwagi
2nd Prize walang nagwagi
3rd Prize Full name: Carlito P. Casaje “Chiaroscuro”
Literary Name: LitoCasaje
1st Prize Jimmy F. Flores “Kulay Lila ang Gabi na Binudburan pa ng mga Bituin”
2nd Prize Real Full Name: Ericdante Cabahug “Deadma Walking”
Literary Name: Eric Cabahug
3rd Prize Real Full Name: Ymmanwel Rico Provinio “Alay ng Lupasa Daing ng Dagat”
Literary Name: RaffaellOrotyerro
SHORT STORY – CEBUANO
1st Prize CD Borden “Tigpamaba sa Magay”
2nd Prize Gumer M. Rafanan “Lumba”
3rd Prize Manuel M. Avenido, Jr. “Estatwa”
SHORT STORY – HILIGAYNON
1st Prize Ritchie D. Pagunsan “Ang Panaad”
2nd Prize Early Sol A. Gadong “Nagakaangay nga Panapton”
3rd Prize Alain Russ G. Dimzon “Bahal Nga Tuba”
SHORT STORY – ILOKANO
1st Prize no winner
2nd Prize no winner
3rd Prize Roy V. Aragon “Pamulinawen”
1st Prize Richard C. Cornelio “Zoetrope”
2nd Prize Larissa Mae R. Suarez “Sundays at the Cardozas’”
3rd Prize Michelle Abigail Tiu Tan “Things that Matter”
SHORT STORY FOR CHILDREN
1st Prize no winner
2nd Prize no winner
3rd Prize Joemar L. Furigay “Saranggola”
1st Prize Joel Vega “A View From Masada”
2nd Prize Hammed Q. Bolotaolo “Circle”
3rd Prize Maria Roselle G. Umlas “Lip Reading”
1st Prize Ana Maria K. Lacuesta “Hush Harbor”
2nd Prize Dr. Merlinda Bobis “Accidents of Composition”