Varsitarian confers Parangal Hagbong on Vim Nadera, Gawad Ustetika founder

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The Varsitarian awarded renowned poet and Palanca awardee Victor Emmanuel Carmelo “Vim” Nadera, Jr. the Parangal Hagbong during the virtual awarding rites of the 36th Gawad Ustetika last March 20.

Hagbong, from an old Tagalog word meaning “laureate,” has been given by the Varsitarian since 1997 to UST alumni for lifetime achievement in letters.

Nadera, this year’s recipient, is a former editor of the publication. Under his editorship, he founded the Gawad Ustetika (Ustetika is portmanteau of the words “USTe” and “estetika”), the country’s longest-running campus literary derby.

Nadera was a Varsitarian scholar from 1983 to 1986. He was a writer for the literary section of the publication and later became its chief editor.

In 1993, he became a professor in Filipino at the Faculty of Arts and Letters and assistant publications director of the Varsitarian.

Nadera obtained a degree in psychology from UST in 1984 and finished his master’s studies in clinical psychology in 1996.

His thesis, titled “Poetreat: The Use of Poetry as a Therapy in Mutual Support Groups of Cancer Survivors in Metro Manila,” was published by the UST Publishing House in 2006.

He is also a recipient of The Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Award in 2007.

The same year, he was given the 80th College of Science Anniversary Jubilee Achievement Award.

Through literature and expressive arts, he has helped cancer survivors, drug patients, “comfort women” and victims of abuse and calamity recover from trauma.  

He served as a poetry therapist for persons with AIDS at the Bahay Lingap, a halfway home for asymptomatic HIV-positive Filipinos.

Nadera led an outreach program with visual artist Wilson Ma called “Three Ps (Poetry, Painting, Photography),” which accommodated cancer patients in and out of Metro Manila. The Philippine Society of Oncology (PSO) gave him the Community Service Award for this undertaking.  

Nadera is a recipient of multiple literary awards, including Poet of the Year (1985), Carlos Bulosan Award for Tula (1990), Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature for Tula (1992), Gantimpalang Collantes, Talaang Ginto for Tula (1994 and 1992), National Book Award (1995).

He received the “Cultural Center of the Philippines Grant for Sanaysay” in 1994, “Gatimpalang Collantes, Talaang Ginto for Sansaysay” in 1996 and the Cultural Center of the Philippines Grant for Playwriting in 1992. 

Nadera also received the Mowelfund Film and Video Grant in 1990 for his films, the National Centennial Commission Literary Prize for the novel and epic (1998), and the Juan C. Laya Award for Best Novel in Filipino (2007) as a novelist. 

The arts during the pandemic

While the arts has been greatly affected by the pandemic, Nadera said people should appreciate the arts more as it could be a form of therapy.

Ito [sining] ay maituturing bilang isang puwang upang makapagpahinga at pansamantalang makalimutan ang krisis na kinakaharap ng bansa,” he said.

Nadera said the lockdowns also presented opportunities for budding writers and artists to flourish their skills.

Ang isang benepisyo ng quarantine ay ang pagkakaroon ng oras upang pagtuunan ng pansin ang sarili at linangin ang mga talento,” he said.

Kahit ikaw ay na sa isang bahay lamang, ikaw ay pwedeng makarating sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo.” Ma. Dyanne Mirasol P. Reyes

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