WRITERS and friends paid tribute to the late writer-editor Norma Miraflor last June 22 at the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies.

Miraflor, at one time editorial director of the Singaporean publishing firm MPH and a highly successful editor with an international reputation, passed away last summer in Australia, where she had been partly based with her husband. journalist Ian Ward.

The cause of her death was not officially known, although friends said she was suffering from breast cancer. Still others said she died of a massive stroke shortly after arriving in Australia from heat-choked Manila. She was in her mid-sixties.

Friends said it was characteristic of Miraflor, who was Literary and Features editor of the Varsitarian in the mid-1960's, not to fuss over herself. She came and went unobtrusively. Her going was fitting of a woman known for humility and meekness.

Christina Pantoja-Hidalgo, director of the UST writing center, remembered her friend for her dislike of sentimental emotions.

“She was completely unsentimental. We [her friends] were all maarte and angsty, but Norma would always pull us back to earth,” said Hidalgo.

She said that Miraflor never failed to keep in touch either online or through the phone.

The UST memorial tribute also served to launch Miraflor's last novel, “Available Light,” which was published by the UST Publishing House last year.

USTPH director John Jack Wigley said that the novel tracks the growing-up years of Ela Cruz, "whom we could assume (is really) Norma Miraflor.”

The launch had been planned by Hidalgo and Varsitarian publications adviser Joselito Zulueta before Miraflor died.

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Attending the launch and memorial were author Benjamin Bautista, journalist Recah Trinidad, film director Gil Portez, former senator Kit Tatad, and Rita Gadi. “This country lost one of its best writers,” said Gadi.

Hidalgo said even when Miraflor left the Philippines, she still valued her home country. “There are a lot of writers who head abroad and don’t remember their country, but she never forgot her roots,” she said.

Miraflor served as Features editor of the Varsitarian in 1963 and Literary editor in 1962 and in 1964. After graduation, she taught at the Faculty of Arts and Letters and St. Theresa's College in Quezon City before migrating to Singapore.

Miraflor won Palanca awards for short fiction in English and in Tagalog. Sarah Mae Jenna A. Ramos


  1. Although a bit late, I wish to thank everyone who organised the memorial for our dear Atnor (Norma to her friends). I started reading again her writings. She was really one heck of a writer. If I was gifted as she was, I would re-write the last years of her life. Perhaps one day. Our greatest comfort is she is now at peace in eternal rest. Our family buried her ashes along side our eldest sister Linda. Atnor was very blessed to have you as friends. Thank you for remembering her with so much kindness and generosity. We miss her deeply.


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