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Nat’l Artist for Literature Cirilo Bautista dies at 76

By ALI IAN MARCELINO V. BIONG

photo from philstar.com

NATIONAL ARTIST for Literature and UST Literature alumnus Cirilo Bautista has died early morning on May 6. He was 76.

De La Salle University’s (DLSU) literature department broke the news of its faculty member’s passing on the same day.

“It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of our beloved professor/mentor and perhaps the greatest poet in the annals of Philippine literature—Dr. Cirilo F. Bautista. Rest in peace, our Moses, Gandalf, Nero Wolfe, Obi Wan Kenobi. Till we meet again in Paradise,” the Facebook post of the DLSU literature department read.

Bautista graduated magna cum laude from the then UST College of Liberal Arts in 1963 and was former literary editor of the Varsitarian. He obtained his doctorate degree in language and literature from DLSU in 1990.

Bautista also taught literature and creative writing in the Faculty of Arts and Letters from 1969 to 1970.

The nine-time Carlos Palanca awardee was given the title of National Artist for Literature in 2016, but was conferred the title in 2014 by then President Benigno Aquino III.

Bautista is known for his works The Trilogy of Saint Lazarus (2001), Words and Battlefields (1998), Charts (1973), Telex Moon (1975), and Galaw ng Asoge (2003).

The national artist was granted the Makata ng Taon award in 1993 and was elevated to the Carlos Palanca Hall of Fame in 1995.

Unyon ng Manunulat ng Pilipinas awarded Bautista the Gawad Manuel L. Quezon in 1996 and Gawad Balagtas in 1997.

The Malacañang sent their condolences to Bautista’s family and friends, saying they remember Bautista as “one of the country’s most passionate authors, whose devotion to the study of literature paved the way for more Filipinos to develop their creative talent.”

“Dr. Bautista’s contribution to the continuous growth and progress of Philippine literature will always be inscribed in the pages of our nation’s history,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in the statement. “His teachings and literary works will live on forever.” F

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