2 September 2014, 9:55 a.m. – A LITERATURE sophomore bagged first prize in the Kabataan Division Essay Category of the 64th Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.

With his piece titled “Avoiding the Fate of Gregor Samsa,” Harvey James Castillo joined 46 other winners in the annual awarding ceremony at Peninsula Manila last Sept. 1.

Castillo said he was caught in disbelief when he first received news about his victory.

“Noong una kong na-receive yung mail, hindi ako makapaniwala. Pero ngayon, nagkaroon ako ng validation sa sarili ko, validation in a sense na may igagaling pa ako dapat,” he said.

Castillo participated in the poetry and short story categories of last year’s Gawad Ustetika, The Varsitarian‘s annual student awards for literature, but failed to win any award.

He urged fellow writers to hone their craft and “keep writing, and “don’t be afraid to try their luck in joining competitions.”

He cites poets Nerisa del Carmen Guevara, Lourd de Veyra, and Angelo Suarez—all Palanca winners—as his influences in writing.

Despite the launch of online applications this year, Castillo opted to submit his entry in person at the Palanca secretariat’s Makati office.

This year’s Gawad Dangal ng Lahi awardee and guest of honor is Gilda Cordero-Fernando, who was recognized for her contributions to the literary field.

The evening also witnessed the induction of two new names to the Palanca Awards Hall of Fame, namely Dr. Alice Tan Gonzales and Rodolfo Vera.

The ceremony, attended by the country’s most distinguished names in Philippine letters, was hosted by veteran actor and director Ricky Davao.

Gracing the event were National Artists for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera and Cirilo Bautista.

The Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, more commonly known as the “Palanca awards,” is the country’s longest-running and most prestigious literary derby.

It started in 1950 as a tribute to businessman and philantrophist Don Carlos Palanca. Dayanara T. Cudal and Josef Brian M. Ramil


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