UMPIL Honors Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Francisco Balagtas AwardeesSeptember 19, 2010 by Bilingual Pen filed under EventsNews, WRITING | 6,275 views
The Unyon ng mga Manunulat na Pilipino (Umpil), the largest alliance of Filipino writers, honored this year’s Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Francisco Balagtas awardees during its 36th congress held on August 28 at the University of the Philippines (UP), Diliman.
The awardees were Ricarte Agnes for essay, drama and fiction in Iluko; Amando Doronila for essay in English; Bonifacio Ilagan for drama in Filipino; Gremer Chan Reyes for fiction in Cebuano; and Go Bon Juan for translation and essay in Chinese.
Also honored were Dr. Thelma Kintanar, this year’s recipient of the Gawad Paz Marquez Benitez (for outstanding literature teacher); and the Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo, recipient of the Gawad Pedro Bukaneg (for outstanding literary organization).
Other highlights of the day-long congress were the First Adrian E. Cristobal Lecture given by Dr. Gemino Abad, professor emeritus at UP; the Chair’s Report by Umpil chairman, Professor Victor Emma-nuel Carmelo Nadera Jr.; and the panel discussion on Literature and Change by Chris Martinez, Bob Ong, Rody Vera and Criselda Yabes.
In his inspiring lecture titled “The Future is Shaped by Words,” Dr. Gemino Abad, poet, fictionist, historian and literary critic emphasized the power of words and how the future is “first shaped by words—by notions and nuances in the words we speak and by which we think.”
He told his audience composed of writers and members of the academe:
“Without words and words, there is no memory; without memory, there is no country, no culture. Words and words, no matter their provenance, for what endows the words with their weight and substance, their meaningfulness, is their usage by a people through their own lives in their own workaday world, through their own griefs and joys, through their own history and culture. The words of any language are like a writ of habeas corpus by which our human reality is brought to mind—that is, the world as we perceive it, all of nature and the world of human affair—so that it becomes clearer to our understanding, and we can more willingly take the responsibility for it. We have no other reality but the human, and it is always changing—as the sole rhythm of the universe in our limited perception. Human nature is universal, but as a field of energy, it is perpetually transformative; our vale of tears and laughter is imperfect, but as the poet Wallace Stevens says, ‘The imperfect is our paradise.’
“I take note of the Umpil’s gawad—Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas, Gawad Paz Marquez Benitez, Gawad Pedro Bukaneg. They encompass various Philippine languages, including English as we have made it our own. The Ubod series of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, devoted to our young writers, also comprises our various languages. This affirms what I’ve long held, that for anyone, it is the sense for language that needs to be nurtured and cultivated, because the sense for language is the basic poetic sense. It is the poetic sense that later in one’s life,” says the poet Yves Bonnefoy, “opens to the intuition that all language refuses.” One may be language-bound, culture-bound, but it is the poetic sense that liberates. In that light, there is ultimately no English, no Filipino, no Cebuano—there is only language itself, the supreme human achievement, the finest human technology. Indeed, language is the hidden Muse, for it is one’s imagination’s agon or struggle with language that gives rise to the literary work as both work of imagination and work of art. Come to think of it, in all the arts—music, painting, sculpture, film—their medium is the Muse: only with imagination’s wrestle with it does Art arise.”
The Adrian E. Cristobal Lecture Series is a joint project of Umpil and the Cristobal family in honor of the late Adrian Cristobal, fictionist, essayist, and columnist. (SEBenosa)