61st Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards

By BEA CUPIN – The novel is alive and well in the Philippines, just going by the record number of entries that vied for The Carlos Palanca Memorial Award Grand Prize for the Novel.

An Ateneo faculty member won in the Filipino division, while a San Diego-based writer got the award in English, the Palanca awards organizers announced Thursday.

The Palanca Memorial Awards are considered the nation’s most prestigious prizes for writing and are given annually in a broad range of categories.

But the awards for the novel are given only every three years. From a pool of 57 manuscripts, 84 percent more than the number of novels submitted in 2008, emerged the two winners:

Ateneo de Manila University faculty member Allan Alberto N. Derain won The Carlos Palanca Memorial Award Grand Prize for the Novel in Filipino for his “Ang Banal na Aklat ng Kumag.”

San Diego-based writer and former University of the Philippines (Diliman) faculty member Maria Victoria “Marivi” Soliven Blanco won for her entry “In the Service of Secrets.”

Blanco now has three Palancas while Derain has four, although the ones they won Thursday night were the biggest of all.

Blanco’s first two were in 1992, second prize in the short story for children (English) for Chun, and 1993, second prize in the same category for The Pillow Cat.

Derain’s first was in 2006 when he won third prize for Ang Regalo ng Taong Ibon in the Short Story for Children category. The following year he won the first prize for Maikling Kuwento for his short story Paputian ng Laba.

Winners in other categories

According to the Palanca Foundation, records were also set for the Kabataan Essay division, for which authors submitted 65 entries —109 percent more than last year’s entries. The Kabataan Essay division is open to young writers 18 and below.

This year’s Kabataan Essay theme for the English category was “What is the most valuable lesson I learned from the Internet?” and “Ano ang pinakamahalagang aral ang aking natutunan mula sa Internet?” for the Filipino category.

The various categories in the Filipino Division and the respective winners are:

Dulaang Pampelikula
1st- Lemuel E. Garcellano for “Tru Lab”
2nd- T-Jay K. Medina for “Huling Isang Taon”
3rd- Helen V. Lasquite for “Emmanuel”

Dulaang Ganap ang Haba
1st- Rodolfo Vera for “Paalam Señor Soledad”
2nd- Liza Magtoto for “Tamala”
3rd- Joshua L. Lim So for “Panahon ng Sampung Libong Libo”

Dulaang May Isang Yugto
1st- Remi Karen M. Velasco for “Ondoy: Ang Buhay ng Bubong”
2nd- Layeta P. Bucoy for “El Galeon De Simeon”
3rd- Bernardo O. Aguay, Jr. for “Posporo”

Kabataan Sanaysay
1st- Mary Amie Gelina E. Dumatol for “Ang Makulit, ang Mapagtanong, at ang Mundo ng Kasagutan”
2nd- Abegail Joy Y. Lee for “Nang Maging Mendiola ko ang Internet Dahil Kay Mama”
3rd- Ma. Bettina Clare N. Camacho for “Isang Pindot ng Kamalayan”

1st- Enrique S. Villasis for “Agua”
2nd- Rosmon M. Tuazon for “Mga Nakaw na Linya”
3rd- Christopher B. Nuyles for “Ilang Taga Hinngil sa Daangbakal at iba pang tula”

Tulang Pambata
1st- Marcel I. Milliam for “Ako ang Bida”
2nd- Eugene Y. Evasco for “Isang Mabalahibong Bugtong”
3rd- John Enrico C. Torralba for “Manghuhuli Ako ng Sinag ng Araw”

Maikling Kwento
1st- No Winner
2nd- No Winner
3rd- Michael S. Bernaldez for “Metro Gwapo”

Maikling Kwentong Pambata
1st- Segundo Matias for “Alamat ng Duhat”
2nd- Joachim Emilio B. Antonio for “Sa tapa ng Tindahan ni Mang Teban”
3rd- Christian Torcedicillas for “Si Inda, Ang Manok at ang mga Lamang-Lupa”

1st-Bernadette V. Neri for “Ang Pag-uwi ng Alibughang Anak ng Lupa”
2nd- Rosario Torres-Yu for “Nagbibihis na ang Nanay”
3rd- Nancy Kimuell-Gabriel for “Kubeta”
In the English Division, the categories and the respective winners are:
Full-length Play
1st- Joshua L. Lim So for “A Return Home”
2nd- Peter Solis Neri for “If The Shoe Fits”
3rd- Jonathan R. Guillermo for “Freshmen”

One-act Play
1st- Floy C. Quintos for “Evening at the Opera”
2nd- No Winner
3rd- No Winner

Short Story
1st- Asterio Enrico N. Gutierrez for “The Big Man”
2nd- Alexis A.L. Abola for “Disappearance”
3rd- Johannes L. Chua for “Prodigal”

Short Story for Children
1st- Georgina Veronica (Nikki) Alfar for “Tom Yum”
2nd- Georgianna R. de Vera for “Tatay, Through Wind and Waves”
3rd- Benjamin Pimentel for “Gagamba, the Spider from the Islands”

Pimentel is a blogger with GMA News Online and a columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

1st- Eliza A. Victoria for “Maps”
2nd- Lourdes Marie S. La Viña for “Stones and Other Poems”
3rd- Simeon P. Dumdum, Jr. for “Maguindanao”

Poetry for Children
1st- Cynthia Baculi-Condez for “The Universe and Other Poems”
2nd- Peter Solis Nery for “The Shape of Happiness”
3rd- Kris Lanot Lacaba for “The Shaggy Brown Chicken and Other Poems for Children (and for chickens of all ages)”

1st- Jennifer Rebecca L. Ortuoste for “The Turn sa Punoan ng Nangka sa Hinablayan”
2nd- Jeena Rani Marquez-Manaois for “The River of Gold”
3rd- Rosario Cruz-Lucero for “The Stain and Blackberries”

Kabataan Essay
1st- Mariah Cristelle F. Reodica for “The Golden Mean”
2nd- Scott Lee Chua for “Of Pixels and Power”
3rd- Leo Francis F. Abot for “Gods of the Internet”
In the Regional Division, categories and the respective winners are:
Short Story (Cebuano)
1st- Richel G. Dorotan for “Ang Tawo sa Punoan ng Nangka sa Hinablayan”
2nd- Errol A. Merquita for “Isla Verde”
3rd- Macario D. Tiu for “Black Pearl”

Short Story (Iluko)
1st- Ariel S. Tabag for “Saddam”
2nd- Juan A. Asuncion for “Ayuno”
3rd- Norberto D. Bumanglag, Jr. for “Ti Agdamdamli”

Short Story (Hiligaynon)
1st- Peter Solis Nery for “Donato Bugtot”
2nd- Alice Tan Gonzales for “Kahapunanon sa Laguerta ni Alberto”
3rd- Kizza Grace F. Gardoce for “Pabalon”


Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature


Don Carlos Palanca Sr. was a man who by the sheer dint of hard work, self-study, and integrity rose to become a successful businessman. He was a patron of educational institutions and instilled in his children the value of education. His heirs decided it fitting that his memory be commemorated in an endeavor that would help enrich the country’s cultural heritage. Thus, the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature was established in 1950.

The aims of the awards have been:

1. to help develop Philippine Literature by providing incentives for writers to craft their most
outstanding literary works.
2. to be a treasury of the Philippine’s literary gems from our gifted writers and to assist in its
eventual dissemination to our people, particularly the students.

The awards started with the Short Story category in English and Filipino.

Through the years, as the awards elicited overwhelming response, new categories were added: One-act Play in 1955, Poetry in 1963, Full-length Play in 1975, Essay in 1979, Novel in 1980, Short Story for Children in 1989, Teleplay in 1990 and Screenplay in 1994. In 1997, three categories were opened. These are the Iluko, Cebuano and Hiligaynon Short Story in the Regional Languages Division. To encourage writing by our youth, the special Kabataan Division made up of the essay category in English and Filipino, was opened in 1998. In 2000 a new category was added – Futuristic Fiction, a separate genre of the short story that involves a looking beyond into the future to transcend the boundaries of the present. In 2009, two new categories were added – Poetry Written for Children in the English Division and Tulang Isinulat Para Sa Mga Bata in the Filipino Division – to encourage both aspiring and veteran Filipino writers to crafting poetry masterpieces that will be understood and appreciated within the grade-school reading level of children ages 6-12.

The harvest of literary work is just as impressive. As of year 2009, it has a collection of 34 Novels, 15 in English and 19 in Filipino; 171 Full-length plays, 75 in English and 96 in Filipino; 336 One-act plays, 152 in English and 184 in Filipino.; 354 Collections of Poems, 189 in English and 165 in Filipino; 116 Regional Short Stories, 39 in Cebuano, 38 in Hiligaynon and 39 in Iluko; 136 Short Stories for Children, 69 in English and 67 in Filipino; 60 Teleplays, 5 in English and 55 in Filipino; 49 Screenplays all in Filipino; 66 Kabataan Essays, 36 in English and 30 in Filipino; and 34 Futuristic Fiction Stories, 18 in English and 16 in Filipino.

The winning works for the first twenty years of the awards were printed in anthology form in 1976, 4 volumes in Filipino, Isang Kalipunan ng mga Nagwagi sa Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, 1950, 1970 and 4 volumes in English, An Anthology of Palanca Memorial Awards Winners, 1950, 1970. The books were distributed to public and private colleges and universities all over the Philippines through the National Library.

These were followed in 1990 by the printing of Antolohiya ng mga Nagwaging Akda, Dekada 80, three separate compilations of Dulang May Isang Yugto, Maikling Kuwento and Tula which were published in cooperation with Anvil Publishing, Inc. In the year 2000, another publication, An Anthology of Winning Works, the 1980’s came out. It was three separate compilations of One-act Play, Short Story and Poetry.

For the benefit of students and researchers outside Metro Manila, especially those in the provinces, book-bound photocopies of the Maikling Kuwento from 1993 to 1997 were donated to universities and colleges nationwide.

The writings are available in the Foundation Library and in schools all over the country. These works stand out in literary form, style and message. Students researching Palanca Award winners as part of their class requirements learn not only the correct forms of writings but also glean form these works the moods and aspirations of our country and our people.

In 1975, eight award-winning plays were produced and presented to the public at the Little Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and culminated with a presentation at the Luneta Grandstand.

The Palanca Hall of Fame was established in 1995 and is presented to a Palanca awardee who has achieved the distinction of winning five first prizes. There are now 22 Hall of Fame awardees.

In 1996, the Palanca Awards began conducting Creative Writing Workshops. Dramatic readings of award-winning works have also been presented in colleges and universities.

The citations and awards conferred to the Palanca Awards are:

– Tanging Parangal in the Gawad CCP para sa Sining in 1992
– Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas by the Unyon ng Manunulat sa Pilipinas in 1993
– The UNESCO, in the celebration of its 50th years in 1995, included the Palanca Family and the Palanca Awards in the UNESCO
– List of Living Human Treasures of Artists, Writers and Artisans
– Plaque of Appreciation from the Philippine Board on Books for Young People for its unstinting support for the promotion and development of children’s literature in the Philippines in 1995
– Anvil Merit Award in 1997
– CCP Centennial Honors for the Arts, in 1999
– Gawad Tanglaw ng Lahi by the Ateneo de Manila University in 2001
– Special Citation for the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards Anthologies by the Manila Critics Circle in 2001
– Appreciation to the Carlos Palanca Foundation for its Scholarship Grant in Creative Writing by the University of the Philippines in 2002.
– Gawad Pagkilala by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino in 2004

Born from a simple dream made 59 years ago to help develop Philippine literature, the foundation holds steadfast to its mission of providing nourishment for the national spirit.

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