April 19, 2007

Sonny Villafania, Cecile Guidote-
and the Blogger

Another important event during the Araw ni Balagtas 2007 was the launching of Ani ng Wika, an anthology of the winning works in the poetry contests sponsored by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino. Now this competition is not only for poems in Tagalog/Filipino but also for those written in the various Philippine languages. Now it is a good thing that the Komisyon is extending its projects in support of regional literature. This is no surprise because the National Language although based from Tagalog is supposed to accept regional and even foreign infusions.

The anthology was laid-out and edited by distinguished Pangasinense poet Santiago Villafania (Watch out for his poems in Philippine Graphic’s May 7 issue). He is also the contest director for the Pangasinense category. And come August, they will call for entries for this year’s contests, only this time they will begin to accept entries written in Bikol. This is a welcome addition to the region’s growing award system. Currently, we have the Premio Tomas Arejola para sa Literaturang Bikolnon. Mundag Literary Awards and other awards sponsored by LGUs and academic institutions such as the MTV Awards by the Naga College Foundation.

Although not a perfect measure of literary merit and artistic greatness, awards can help boost a writer’s morale. In a country where literature is not being given much importance, a small medal or trophy (plus a meager amount) will come as pat in the back for the literary artist, affirming the greatest of his/her efforts to forward the power of the written word in effecting change and progress in the society.


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