By LUIS MIGUEL B. ARUCAN
TEN ARTLETS again proved that the Faculty of Arts and Letters is home to University of Santo Tomas’ best literary writers as they took home 15 out of 22 awards bestowed in this year’s Gawad Ustetika.
Literature student Arielle Abrigo received the Rector’s Literary Award, the highest award in the contest, for her poem collection LAKÁSA, which also won first place in the poetry category.
“[P]robably to feel happy is an understatement. […] For me, it’s that I want to present them (judges) something that’s substantial, something that has gravity kasi I think that’s the most important award of all: for you to contribute your entire being as a poet or as a writer,” Abrigo told the Flame.
LAKÁSA is about Abrigo’s roots as an Ilocano and “the gravity of home and departure.”
Literature students reigned in four of the seven categories of the competition.
Leanne Claire Bellen won first place in Fiction with Prosopagnosia and received an honorable mention in Essay for Big and Small Dimensions.
Ma. Doreen Evita Garcia collected three awards after winning third place in Poetry with Some Days I Feel Like a Middle-aged Deadbeat Dad Named Frankie, second place in One-act play with Armistice, and an honorable mention in Fiction with A Woman.
Lloyd Alcedric Opalec bagged first place in One-act play with his work Isang Sandali sa Colegio de La Concordia.
UST Literary Society President Neal Andreu Tayco tied with Garcia for third place in Poetry with his Smallness and Other Reductionisms.
Literature alumnus George Deoso also won big after winning first in the Tula Category with Patay na ang Diwata: Mga Tula and placing second in Fiction with Infected. Literature alumna Marianne Freya Nono landed third in both the Essay and One-act Play categories with her works In Transit and Ladies Night, respectively.
Joshua Russel Iringan of Political Science, meanwhile, grabbed the second place for Tula category with Tala sa Umaga.
Journalism senior Benjamin Joshua Gutierrez placed third in Katha with his work Genesis 3:19.
Communication Arts’ Jhudiel Clare Sosa received an honorable mention in One-act play with her craft titled Bahay-Bahayan.
Philosophy writer Emerita Quito and fiction writer Rodolfo Villanueva received this year’s Parangal Hagbong, an award given to Thomasians with significant contributions to Philippine art and literature.
Judges for this year are Allan Justo Pastrana, Carlomar Arcangel Daoana, and Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta (Poetry), Michael Coroza, Rebecca Anonuevo, and Victor Nadera (Tula), Eric Melendez, Sarge Lacuesta, and Augusto Aguila (Fiction), and Chuckberry Pascual, Joselito Delos Reyes, and Eros Atalia (Katha).
Other judges include Gary Devilles, Beverly Siy, and Oscar Campomanes (Sanaysay), Shirley Lua, John Jack Wigley, and Jose Wendell Capili (Essay), and Ralph Galan, Jose Victor Torres, and Jerry Gracio (Dula).
Gawad Ustetika is the Varsitarian’s annual literary derby. This year’s awarding ceremony was held on March 10 at the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building. F