By ANGEL B. DUKHA III
TWELVE ARTLETS dominated the 34th Gawad Ustetika while two renowned Artlet alumni were awarded the lifetime achievement award in the annual Thomasian literary competition hosted by The Varsitarian.
Journalism alumnus Benjamin Joshua Gutierrez bagged the prestigious Rector’s Literary Award for his entry, “Ang Tatlong Ulo ng Sitio Pag-Asa,” which also won first place for Katha.
“Nakita kong nag-[message] sa’kin si Ma’am Jing (Prof. Emeritus Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo) sa [Facebook]; doon ko nalaman na nanalo ako. [S]obrang surreal. Hindi ko naman in–expect na mananalo [ako]. Ang gusto ko lang talaga [ay] magpadala ng mensahe. Bonus na lang ‘yung panalo,” Gutierrez told the Flame.
Gutierrez’s work tells the story of three garbage dump dwellers who discovered a golden ball in their home.
Following Gutierrez in the Katha category is literature alumna Kisha Aleena Abuda, who won second place for her work, “Tayong Dalawa.”
Christine Andas, also a literature graduate, bagged first place in the Fiction category for “Room 73.”
Political science student Joshua Russel Iringan won first place in Tula with his work, “Mula sa Tuwa Namin,” while John Joseph Isaiah Orpilla placed second with “Deremen: Mga Tula ng Gunita at Konsiyensya.” Literature’s Philip Jamilla received second honorable mention with “Pulang Ulan! Mga Tula Tungkol sa Pamamaslang.”
Artlets dominated the Poetry category with journalism’s Carlito Topacio winning first place for “Essential Oils for the Filipino Souls,” Celine Marie Garcia of literature placing second with “Some Omens,” and Ryan Ram Malli of creative writing bagging third place for his work, “If I have to be Honest.”
In the Sanaysay category, James Michael Benitez of literature won third place with his work “Alab.”
Communication arts’ Jhudiel Clare Sosa grabbed third place in One-act Play with her work, “How to be a Tutubi,” while legal management freshman Jan Ivan Gordola received an honorable mention for “Isang Araw, Isang Buwan.”
Meanwhile, the Parangal Hagbong lifetime achievement award was given to philosophy alumna and decorated writer and researcher Ma. Cecilia Locsin-Nava, late journalism alumnus and actor Bernardo Bernardo, and poet Albert Alejo, S.J.
The award is given to Thomasians with significant contributions to Philippine art and literature.
The contest judges were Mariano Kilates, Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta, and Allan Pastrana for Poetry, Rebecca Anonuevo, Michael Coroza, and Victor Nadera Jr. for Tula, and Eros Atalia, Joselito de los Reyes, and Chuckberry Pascual for Katha.
Other judges include Ralph Semino Galan, Jose Victor Torres, and Jerry Gracio for One-act Play, Augusto Aguila, Angelo Lacuesta, and Paolo Melendez for Fiction, and Jose Wendell Capili, Nestor Cuartero, and Shirley Lua for Essay.
This year’s awarding ceremony was held on Saturday, Mar. 30, at the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. building. F