THREE ALUMNI of the Faculty were among the litterateurs awarded in the 68th Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature (Palanca Awards).
Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies resident fellow Paul Castillo bagged first place in the Tula category while journalism graduates Iza Maria Reyes and Chuck Smith won third place in the Sanaysay and Essay categories, respectively.
Castillo’s poem collection “Luna’t Lunas” is about medicine for cough and colds and maintenance drugs commonly found in pharmacies.
The poet graduated from the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education (AB-BSE) program, a now-defunct double-degree program once offered by the Faculty.
“Nagsimula at naisulat ko ang mga tula dahil pharmacist ang fiancée ko na lagi kong napagtatanungan tungkol sa mga dapat inumin kapag masama ang pakiramdam,” Castillo told the Flame in an online exchange.
Reyes said her essay “Hindi Ako Dalisay” is about her struggle with being judged by others as “unethical and immoral.”
“I was judged by a lot of people when I got pregnant right after graduation and most [of the] people who spread rumors about me were the […] people I saw in church,” she said.
Castillo and Reyes, both first-time Palanca winners, said they did not expect to win the prestigious award.
“It was my first time to submit an entry. My goal was just to be able to submit; winning was a happy bonus,” Reyes shared.
Castillo said winning the award is a challenge for him to continue improving his craft.
“Naging magandang hamon lang ito sa akin para paghusayan pa ngayon ang pagtula lalo sa panahon ngayon na kabi-kabila ang mga pangmamangmang sa mga tao na pinipigilang bumasa at matuto,” Castillo said.
Established in 1950, the Palanca Awards recognizes outstanding literary works with the aim of developing Philippine literature. The awarding ceremony was held last Oct. 5 at The Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati City. F