Since we already succeeded in bringing home our five living National Artist for Literature – Francisco Sionil Jose in Rosales, Pangasinan and Bienvenido Lumbera in Lipa, Batangas in 2007; Alejandro Roces in Makati, in 2008; and Edith Tiempo in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya and Virgilio Almario in San Miguel, Bulacan in 2009 -- this could be the last Pagpupugay sa mga Pambansang Alagad ng Sining.
Composer Lutgardo Labad had us with an offering.
For Dr. Sionil Jose and his wife Tessie, Gardy was able to welcome them home more than Bohol's long-lost child, say, in Pinoy Big Brother housemate Cathy Remperas.
At the Tagbilaran Airport last December 2, we were greeted with a tarsier necklace and a Your Guide to Bohol by Queenie Sanchez-Bronce, et al.
We checked in and out we went for our Visita Iglesia during the birthmonth of Jesus!
Our first stop was Nuestra Seňora de la Luz Church made of coral by Domingo Escondrillas in 1853 in Loon with our guide, Reigh Monreal, who was the co-founder with Rene Ponte of Bol-anong Arte Halad Alang sa Namat ang Dagang (BAHANDI) or “treasure.”
We failed to finish the snacks Annie Jabines gave us when we entered the 213-year old Punta Cruz Watchtower the moment their play with a pangalay, Tawag sa Bantayan, opened.
Watching Geraldine Pancho chant was enough for us to drop our jaws.
After our Aup-Aup Restaurant's seafood trip, we could not help but fall asleep in the van.
Our siesta was interrupted by a “fiesta.”
Elderly kuratsa and kuradang dancers gyrated to the music of a banjo-led rondalla.
Smiling Balilihan mayor -- Victoria Chatto, mom of Bohol's first district Rep. Edgar Chatto -- compensated for it, though, when she showed us – not only their budbod and moron -- but their 174-year old Mt. Carmel Hill belfry and the shortcut to Antequera whose leader is also a lady in Mayor Cecilia Rebosura.
At the aforementioned basket capital's municipal hall facade, 20 or more actors, dancing and singing, told us the 1621 uprising of babaylan Tamblot, played by Frex Tongco and penned by Rey Chiu, who also wrote Abatan ni Wadji, that introduced us to the graciousness of their prehispanic princess and the gracefulness of Dianne Baliog and Leonardo Planas at the Cortes Central Elementary School.
Witnessing their creative industry's success via the Abatan River Tour that will formally run in 2010 was a prelude to the Writers' Symposium.
There, we met Dr. Cecilio Putong High School's Necitas Ibarra, our Special Program in the Arts trainee at the Teachers' Camp in Baguio City.
It was also the turn of Bohol Arts and Cultural Heritage Council (BACH)'s to show us their literary richness via Ramon Boloron's The Traditional Literature of Bohol and Socorro Revilla's Boholano Culture in Literature, How Are You?.
For one day, Dr. Sionil Jose interacted with 50 writers and 200 teachers and students .
At the Cultural Center of Bohol, too, later in the evening, we had more than just the Pagpupugay kay Francisco Sionil Jose.
Last December 3, he celebrated his 85th birthday with us!
As their halad, the world-renowned Loboc Children’s Choir sang, Diwanag Dance Theater danced, and Teatro Bol-anon staged Sionil Jose's The Rosales Saga through a review and a re-interpretation in Visayan of Balikbayan directed by Philippine Educational Theater Arts' Melvin Lee and assisted by California-based Center Theater Group's Lorely Garrote Trinidad.
BACH never ran out of halads as its Executive Director, Marianito Luspo, led us to the classic heritage tour of Baclayon Church, Loay Ancestral House, and Loboc River Cruise before we caught Bohol's pride, Cesar Montano, at the arrival area.
Dec. 5 saw the Poets Essayists Novelists (PEN)'s Philippine chapter founder, Dr. Sionil Jose, on time for the PEN Conference at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
And us, as our other baby, the Gawad Ustetika Annual Student Awards for Literature, turned 25 on the same day – with no Playwright of the Year, Sanaysayista ng Taon, and Mandudula ng Taon.
However, this year, our Poet of the Year is Jacob Dominguez; Makata ng Taon is Paul Castillo; Kuwentista ng Taon is Julie Ann de Leon; Essayist of the Year is Camille Johnson; and Fictionist of the Year: Sarah Aurelio, who also bagged the Rector's Literary Award institutionalized by Fr. Roland de la Rosa.
Dr. Sionil Jose's classmate at the UST Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, fictionist and essayist Nita Umali Berthelsen, as well as the “Hari ng Balagtasan,” poet Teo Antonio, received the highest halad from the Varsitarian, the University of Santo Tomas' official student organ, with Ang Parangal Hagbong for their contribution to literature just like Rolando Tinio and Rogelio Sicat (1997); Genoveva Edroza Matute (1998); J. Elizalde Navarro (1999); Erma Cuizon, Reynaldo Duque, and Ponciano Pineda (2000); Lilia Pablo-Amansec (2001); Bienvenido Lumbera (2002); Sr. Delia Coronel, ICM (2003); Ben Villar Condino, Nick Joaquin, and Wilfrido Nolledo (2004); Zeneida Amador, F. Sionil Jose, and Magdalena Sayas (2005); Gloria Garchitorena-Goloy and Doris Trinidad-Gamalinda (2006); Bella Angeles-Abangan and Cirilo Bautista (2007); and Ophelia Alcantara-Dimalanta (2008).
Talking of greatness, JCI Philippines has its own halad in awarding at the Malacaňang tomorrow, at 10 a.m., The Outstanding Young Men 2009: Mary Joy Abaquin (Education); Jose Roberto Alampay (Human Rights Advocacy); Ma. Anthonette Allones (Government Service); Raymond Laurel (Arts/Fashion Design); Eliseo Prisno (Maritime Health) and Victoria Morales (Broadcast Journalism).
By the way, join us in Writers' Night 2009 on December 11, 5 p.m. at the University of the Philippines' Balay Kalinaw with the Madrigal Gonzalez Best First Book Award forum and, finally, the ceremonies for its awardee -- Adam David.
Operation Libreng Libro will be launched as well as the third Likhaan Journal featuring the works of Dr. Lumbera and Palanca Hall of Famer, Edgardo Maranan, whose award-winning children's story -- Si Sibol at Si Gunaw – had been transformed by Ballet Manila into Alamat, that will run until December 12 and 13 at the CCP Complex's Aliw Theater.
See if you can figure out what these words have in common.
Are you peeking or have you already given up? Give it another try. Look at each word carefully.
Answer: In all of the words listed, if you take the first letter, place it at the end of the word, and then spell The word backwards, it will be the same word. Did you figure it out? Just send it to more people and stump them.
We immediately become more effective when we decide to change ourselves
rather than asking things to change for us.