Writing as revolutionary act: 70 cycles of the Palanca Awards

Winners of the seventieth Palanca Awards with (entrance row, from left) Carlos Palanca IV, Sylvia Palanca-Quirino, Criselda Cecilio-Palanca, Carl Anthony Palanca and Nemie Bermejo —PHOTOS BY GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
A fter two years of pandemic absence, the Carlos Palanca Sr. Memorial Awards for Literature got here again on-line with a powerful crop of winners—with a number of of them returning to the stage to say victory, and plenty of extra who had been younger, their wins new as freshly minted cash, on Nov. 30, 2022.
This annual “household reunion” of the Philippines’ literary neighborhood occurred at an untraditional venue—BGC as a substitute of Makati Metropolis, at Marquis Place as a substitute of on the Peninsula Manila—however the feeling was the identical mix of heat camaraderie and comforting formality that has at all times given the Palancas its character and attraction. The one different time in current historical past that these awards had been celebrated in a venue apart from the ballroom of the Peninsula was in 1994, on the Dusit Thani Lodge, and, even then, the room full of the nation’s literati felt heat and welcoming, with a formality that supplied braveness fairly than intimidation.
Criselda “Dang” Cecilio-Palanca delivers the sponsor’s remarks.
Talking on behalf of the Palanca household, 1979 Bb. Pilipinas Universe Criselda Cecilio-Palanca quoted the speech delivered on the 1993 Palanca Awards by former President Fidel Ramos: “No authorities—apart from the irreparably corrupt and the compulsively repressive—ought to concern its writers, for they, too, are part of society; they’re its rawest nerve, its clearest voice, its keenest minds. However it’s each literature’s advantage and its duty to have interaction in reaffirming our elementary humanity and the unity of our pursuits and aspirations as a folks.”
Venice Kayla Dacanay Delica, first-prize winner for Sanaysay in Filipino.
Cecilio-Palanca quoted Ramos on the night’s festivities, which opened simply hours after the killing of Nationwide E book awardee, poet, songwriter and activist Ericson Acosta in Kabankalan Metropolis, Negros Occidental. Acosta had reportedly been captured alive, however was declared useless, his physique bearing deadly stab wounds, at 2 a.m. on Nov. 30, Bonifacio Day.
Whereas the celebratory air of the Palanca Awards was palpable and robust, the sense of celebration was tempered by Acosta’s demise—and it permeated the subtexts of public utterances and quiet lulls in dialog by the night, onstage and off it. This January, one of many winners, playwright Bonifacio Ilagan, obtained a dying menace through a telephone name that authorities are actually investigating.
Winners’ phrases
Khavn dela Cruz, grand-prize winner for Nobela.
Filmmaker Khavn dela Cruz, who gained the grand prize for the Nobela (Novel in Filipino) for his opus of an anti-novel titled “AntiMarcos,” spoke of Acosta onstage as he accepted his award, and raised his voice to cry out for justice for Acosta.
In a short dialog with this author, Dela Cruz mentioned his win this 12 months felt “surreal,” particularly due to Acosta’s dying earlier within the day. “Tuloy ang laban (the wrestle continues),” he mentioned. “We’re nonetheless alive.”
Writers write. Past that, writers write for an viewers, reaching throughout house and time to carry their truths to an viewers which will by no means even know them personally. On this sense, writing has at all times been a revolutionary act. The world as we all know it now has been formed, to a really giant diploma, by writers. The issues that make strikingly good copy for a author are the identical issues that make historical past, or stay meals for thought for ages. Grist for the author’s mill is the on a regular basis and the weird—and, in opportune moments, a mixture of each introduced properly will win the creator a prize.
Alfonso Tomas “Atom” Araullo, first-prize winner for Essay in English.
Alfonso Tomas “Atom” Araullo is the second broadcast journalist to win first prize within the Essay on the Palanca Awards after Jay Taruc in 2019. Araullo mentioned his profitable piece, “Letter from Tawi-Tawi,” is the “textual content model of a documentary we made early within the 12 months. After we had been in Tawi-Tawi, I knew immediately that I needed to write down one thing on-line, a textual content story … I actually assume that TV and textual content are so completely different by way of what you possibly can count on, how one can inform the tales of individuals that you simply meet. I used to be ending my piece once I noticed the Palanca Awards had been open for submission once more, and that you can do a purely on-line submission. It was simple so I’d as properly give it a shot. Actually, I by no means imagined profitable. For me, I simply needed to problem myself. It was a private problem, and I’m very pleased with the way it turned out.”
He continued: “I used to be actually impressed by the sights and the sounds of Tawi-Tawi. I needed to share the expertise of going there and assembly these folks … Whereas I used to be there, it appeared anachronistic to be on a ship the place the scene was very acquainted … I needed to write down this simply to get it out of my system … At the very least, once I write it, it’s not simply going to remain in my pc. I can truly share it with different folks.”
Ian Rosales Casocot, first-prize winner for Brief Story in English.
Dumagueteño Ian Rosales Casocot, who teaches at Silliman College and has labored because the director of the Silliman College Nationwide Writers Workshop, bagged the primary prize within the Brief Story in English for “Ceferina in Condominium 2G.” Casocot had flown to Manila to obtain his award and, in his phrases, “to see our literary household. There have been two years of pandemic lockdowns and restrictions after years of tokhang. Face-to-face interactions are so very important now. Discovering that we’re nonetheless able to feeling pleasure, and celebration, that’s good.”
Casocot has additionally, throughout a number of years, curated the Kill Record Chronicles weblog on the running a blog website Medium that compiled poetry and prose protesting the Oplan: Tokhang killings below the Duterte administration.
Ramil Digal Gulle, first-prize winner for Poetry in English.
Ramil Digal Gulle, who obtained the Palanca first prize for Poetry in English for his assortment “Bol-anon Prodigal,” was in excessive spirits: “Kaya ko pa pala (I can nonetheless pull it off)!” He’d simply replicated his 1996 first-prize win for the poetry assortment “Twenty-Fifth Fly,” and his daughter Sophia was cheering him on—although Sophia did depart her dad for a couple of minutes to fangirl and take a selfie with Araullo.
Gulle had additionally gained a poetry Palanca, a second-prize win, for “Afterhours, Afterlives” in 2000. “You typically assume that you simply’re too previous or too drained to win, then this occurs. Then you definately understand that you simply simply gained once more after a 22-year hiatus. Unbelievable.” Gulle is the top of content material on the public relations agency Comm&Sense.
Energy {couples}
This iteration of the Palancas additionally had an influence couple or two, and surprise twins.
Couple and fellow first-prize winners Dr. Ralph Lorenz G. Fonte and Charmaine M. Lasar
Awardee and Palawan-based barrio physician Ralph Lorenz G. Fonte, whose assortment “Ang Wika ng Dagat ay Layo (The Language of the Sea is Distance)” gained him second prize within the Tula class escorted his girlfriend Charmaine M. Lasar, who gained first prize within the the Maikling Kuwento for her story “Ang Worth ng X Kapag Uneven si Mam (The Worth of X When Ma’am is Uneven).” Additionally a Wattpad creator, Lasar had gained the Grand Prize for the Nobela in 2015, for her novel “Toto O,” which was printed in 2016 by PageJump Media. However wait, there’s extra. A scant three weeks later, Fonte obtained the 2022 Gawad Jacinto-Lira for Sining ng Pagtula.
Responding to quips about them having “his-and-hers” awards, Fonte smiled broadly and commented “I’ve good style in a girlfriend.” Lasar, in the meantime, took Fonte’s hand in hers and issued a smiling rejoinder: “Dapat lang (as you need to).”
And right here we thought that Fonte’s 2019 Palanca win, simply after passing the medical board exams, was a mamaw (boss-monster) transfer that would not be exceeded. We had been fairly pleased to be confirmed unsuitable.
Elyrah L. Salanga-Torralba was a double-winner that night time, having gained first prize for Poetry for Youngsters in English and second prize within the Brief Story for Youngsters in English. She was escorted by her husband, Miriam Faculty school member John Torralba—who had gained fairly just a few Palancas of his personal up to now years. He mentioned, “Kung kilig ako sa mga panalo ko, mas kilig ako sa panalo ng misis ko. Mas matamis, eh (If I used to be thrilled by my wins, my spouse’s win is much more thrilling. It’s sweeter).”
“The winners get youthful yearly,” Gulle famous as he forged a glance in regards to the ballroom. “It makes me really feel previous in a great way.”
Twelve-year-old Superb Zavannah Exylin C. Alesna and her twin sister Superb Zahara Exylin C. Alesna are the youngest winners, bagging first prize within the Kabataan Sanaysay and Kabataan Essay, respectively.
He made a compelling level: The youngest winners on this cycle of the Palancas had been 12-year-old twins who gained within the Filipino and English classes, respectively, of the Kabataan Essay: Superb Zavannah Exylin C. Alesna (“Pamimintana” or “On the Window”) and Superb Zahara Exylin C. Alesna (“House is a Bowl of Heat Soup”). There was a time when poet Eric Gamalinda was recorded because the youngest Palanca winner at 18, many, many moons in the past. When this author judged within the Palancas in 2001, seeing a 17-year-old winner was trigger to cheer.
Age just isn’t a nasty factor, both, as Cecilio-Palanca did say in her handle to the winners, judges and viewers, that “the oldest winner was a 78-year-old feminine author.” Proof sufficient that you may be a author at virtually any age—supplied you possibly can learn, assume, write, and have the dedication to do all these issues and construct your expertise constantly. Ultimately, writing isn’t about getting your strains proper the primary time you place palms to keyboard. Writing is about persistence in sprucing your phrases till they are saying exactly what you plan to say—no extra, and no much less.
Name to motion
College of the Philippines Movie Institute professor emeritus Nicanor Tiongson delivered the keynote handle on the awards, and he made a powerful case for writing because the preservation of reminiscence, and because the finest instrument for crucial pondering.
Talking in Filipino, Tiongson behooved all these current to “intentionally examine and talk about the precise occasions or points which can be distorted or hidden, beautified or corrupted by the minions of darkness.” He additionally exhorted writers to make use of “any and all” obtainable languages “so we are able to attain the widest quantity and most layers of society, to make sure they are going to perceive what they learn or watch of our works.”
Raymundo Pandan Jr., grand-prize winner for Nobela.
“Allow us to give new life to the normal types of our literature which can be acquainted, which entertain the bizarre Filipino,” Tiongson mentioned, including that “[we must] uncover and additional enrich the rising new types of [our] literature that the youth and web communities get pleasure from now… Brothers and sisters within the literary arts, this isn’t the time for silence, or evasion, or indifference. Have the enemies of our nation not taken benefit of our silence after the Edsa Individuals Energy Revolution to sow despair amongst our compatriots so they might return to energy?”
Taking in Tiongson’s speech over dessert, Palanca Awards director basic Sylvia Palanca-Quirino turned to this author with a smile: “Nick is speaking about training, and never simply within the classroom. He refers to training given at each alternative. That’s one thing we on the Palanca Basis have labored to help over the past 70 Palanca Awards.”
The seventieth Palanca Awards program eschewed the normal staging of the one-act play grand prize winner—and that meant extra time for the writers within the room to mingle, socialize, and reconnect after two years of restricted entry to at least one one other. That mentioned, we missed our thespian colleagues and hope to see them once more quickly, in one other Palanca Awards night time.
Whereas this Palanca ballroom was a extra intimate house than traditional, the awards night time nonetheless bore its trademark mixture of gravitas and pleasure—this household reunion was a powerful success, particularly at melding the normal with the brand new, and activism with celebration.
70TH PALANCA AWARDS / DECEMBER 1, 2022 Superb Zavannah Exylin C. Alesna, first prize winner for her work “Pamimintan” below Sanaysay class Kabataan Division obtain her award on the seventieth Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards on the Marquis Occasions Place in Bonifacio International Metropolis, Taguig Metropolis on November 30, 2022. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
Past statistics
Cecilio-Palanca famous that “70 is a major quantity. It denotes completion, wholeness, the tip of a season and the start of the brand new.” The Palanca household’s aspiration as of the seventieth cycle of the awards, as she famous, is that the “neighborhood of exemplary writers, proceed to offer classes and vigorous examples of nation-building—certainly, of world-building.”
Because the Good E book states, to start with was the Phrase—and we don’t imply the software program. From the time people invented writing methods, people have been writing to chronicle the world because it goes by its cycles of evolution and devolution. Human language has, over millennia, recorded the human expertise and the human soul. What the Palanca Awards at 70 cycles has carried out for Philippine letters is to offer an area the place our writers compete by writing their finest work. The Palanca Basis has additionally collated these profitable works right into a library that’s open to the general public, successfully creating a useful repository of fantastic literature crafted by Filipino writers.
In accordance with Cecilio-Palanca, this newest cycle, the Palanca Awards noticed 1,455 submissions for 22 classes. There have been 28 new winners, and 31 former winners returning to glory. Six of the winners had been 20 years previous and youthful; 9 had been 21 to 30 years previous; 20 of the winners had been aged 31 to 40 years; 13 had been aged 41 to 50 years; six had been 51 to 60 years, and; had been 61 years of age and older.
Throughout 70 years of the Palanca Awards, she mentioned, “there have now been 2,472 authors (from 1951 to 2022), with the overall variety of profitable works now standing at 2,561. The overall variety of Corridor of Famers, as of 2022, stands at 26. However everyone knows that these awards go far past statistics. Numerous lives and destinies have been formed by the ideas and smart phrases of our poets, storytellers and essayists—timeless voices that had been shared and amplified by the Palanca awards all these years.”
In its seventieth cycle, the Carlos Palanca Sr. Memorial Awards for Literature continues to push envelopes, and collect writers below its banner who usually are not strangers to pushing the envelope of arts, tradition and nationwide identification.
Because the Philippines wends her method by new challenges and treacherous paths, her writers are current, honing their pens in competitions just like the Palanca Awards for the work lower out and put earlier than them: Chronicling the truths in a rustic mired in lies and misinformation. Discovering pleasure within the unlikeliest of locations and conditions. Educating whereas entertaining readers utilizing each means they’ve. Reaching for the celebrities that we are able to barely see in the dead of night nights and brightest days. This stellar gathering of Philippine letters’ finest and brightest brings the shelter of a lamp about that ember of hope that Cecilio-Palanca mentioned the Palanca Awards strives to maintain alive—for this era, and those who come after it.   For a whole listing of winners, go to web page D1 on Inquirer Plus.