It was in 1959 when the Varsitarian first recognized the Thomasian writer’s passion for beauty and the creative process. With the flowering of creative consciousness, the Annual Varsitarian Literary Contest, previously known as the Rector’s Literary Award, was born. It was not long before the competition’s birthing produced writers who awed the literary world and made their mark in Philippine literature as the best of Thomasian creative writers.
The firelight of Thomasian literature, no matter how its fledging writers sought to fuel it, began to dim in 1970. In that year, the Rector’s Literary Award was no longer given. As Martial Law abruptly wrenched the Filipino consciousness the pursuit for national truth, literature within the University was cast in the shadows. For years, it smoldered in silence.
In 1986, Victor Emmanuel “Vim” Nadera, Jr., former Varsitarian editor in chief, stirred the embers in a struggle to revive Thomasian literature to its greatness. In search of a name for his brainchild, Vim finally intertwined the “UST” and “estetika” (aesthetics). Thus, the Ustetika was launched.
To further inspire the University’s budding writers, the Rector’s Literary Award was restored in 1991. It has since been given to the individual who has not only won first place in an Ustetika category and whose winning work best exemplifies the Catholic and humanistic vision of redemption.
In 1997, The Varsitarian introduced the 1st Parangal Hagbong during the 13th Ustetika Awards to pay tribute to two great Thomasian writers, Rolando Tinio and Rogelio Sicat who, in their passing, left legacy and spirit for a new batch of writers.
Now in its 21st year, the Varsitarian, through the Ustetika, continues to stoke the University’s literary fires. With the restoration of the Rector’s Literary Awards, and the Varsitarian’s own tireless pursuit of literary excellence through the Ustetika, the birthing of writers who will soon be our country’s literary elite continues.

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Umali-Berthelsen, Teo Antonio pararangalan sa Ustetika

 

Ang Parangal Hagbong

 

Bilang pagkilala ng Varsitarian sa mga natatagong bayani ng sining at panitikang Filipino, isinilang ang Parangal Hagbong noong 1997.
Hango sa matandang salita mula Quezon, hagbong ang tawag sa sinaunang suot sa ulo na sumisimbulo sa katayuang panlipunan. Kadalasang nagmula sa pinagdikit na dahong ginawang adorno at hiyas, ipinapatong ito sa ulo ng mga taong nagkamit o nagpakita na kagalingan sa sining at panitik.
Makaligtaan man o hindi, kaisa ang Varsitarian sa pagbibigay-pugay at pagkilala sa mga natatanging alagad ng sining.

Mga Nagwagi:
1997 – Rolando Tinio at Rogelio Sicat
1998 – Genoveva Edroza-Matute
1999 – J. Elizalde Navarro
2000 – Erma Cuizon, Reynaldo Duque, at Ponciano Pineda
2001 – Lilia Pablo-Amansec
2002 – Bienvenido Lumbera
2003 – Sr. Delia Coronel, ICM
2004 – Ben Villar Condino, Nick Joaquin, at Wilfrido “Ding” Nolledo

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