Monday, September 14, 2009

THE RETURN (August 10, 2009)

Today, Nueva Vizcaya has opened its arms to a long-lost daughter in National Artist Edith Tiempo during the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Likhaan: University of the Philippines Institute of Creative Writing's Pagpupugay sa mga Pambansang Alagad ng Sining.
While other National Artists were leading the arts community in an indignation rally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, 90-year old Mom Edith was dreaming of coming home after more than 60 years.
In Bayombong, he correspondence began with novelist Edilberto Tiempo.
After a semester at U.P. where he was taking up M.A. while she law, they got married and migrated to Negros Oriental.
She followed her husband at the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop in 1947 after she graduating magna cum laude from Silliman University in 1947. She finished M.A. English there in 1949 and Ph.D. English at the University of Denver in 1958. Before going back to the Philippines, she taught at Wartburg College in Iowa (1964- 1965), Western Michigan University (1965- 1966), and Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Baptist College (1978- 1979).
In 1962, Philippine literature's First Couple had another baby -- after Rowena and Maldon -- the Silliman National Writers Workshop – where we participated in 1987 after joining its Semestral Workshops.
The Tiempos are synonymous with Dumaguete.
Sadly, Bayombong is unaware they were able to produce a National Artist.
Pres. Marilou Abon of the Nueva Vizcaya State University helped her kababayan, Dr. Mauricia Borromeo, finish what the latter started: paying tribute to our lone female National Artist for Literature!
An exhibit with a Raul Funilas sculpture, reading materials, and other mementoes from the CCP Visual Arts office headed by Karen Flores; a Puttungan where she will be named “Casta” or “beautiful and powerful” in Gaddang; a conference about her with Oscar Campomanes, Ralph Galan, Ferdie Lopez, Jack Wigley, and Lito Zulueta as paper presenters; and a literary concert serve as front acts to our Pagpupugay sa mga Pambansang Alagad ng Sining.
Before the signing of a resolution declaring her birthday on Earth Day, April 22, a municipal holiday, we asked her about the National Artist 2009 fiasco and she answered: “The head of a country or state who is truly enlightened provides the populace with the exercise of freedom not just for the government’s considerations but, most important, freedom as every individual’s right and privilege. To be aware of freedom as the individual’s possession requires the respect for his personality, for his considered actions, for his beliefs and decisions. A favorite American saying goes this way: “Your freedom ends where my nose begins;” this saying stresses how personal this requirement for freedom goes, with the specific anatomy as the limit that one’s freedom can go. What is meant by a country’s head being enlightened? By this enlightenment is meant the awareness that at the very primary root of freedom is the human presence, humanity that demands respect – because without this respect one might as well be dealing with the most fearful and undomesticated of animals. A well-run government’s decisions are based of course on respect for rules and regulations, and the respect always as rooted in the awareness of the acknowledged group’s right and well-considered performance of its duty.”
Mom Edith calls it freedom as respect and humanness.
Did you know that there are two National Artists married to each other: Amado V. Hernandez (1973) and Honorata “Atang” de la Rama (1987)?
If yesterday didn’t end up the way you planned, just remember: God created today for you to start a new one! The best is yet to come.

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