Feb. 15, 2015, 8:46 p.m. – FOR HER contributions to
Philippine literature and for mentoring a generation of writers, UST Creative
Writing Center Director Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo was conferred a lifetime
achievement award at the 30th Gawad Ustetika held Saturday.

Hidalgo was given the prestigious Parangal Hagbong during
the Ustetika annual awards at the George Ty Hall of the Fr. Buenaventura G.
Paredes, O.P. Building.

“[I]’ve won quite a number of awards but, truly, none means
more to me than this one. It is in the Varsitarian,
that I learned how to become a writer, a professional writer,” said Hidalgo, a
former editor in chief of the Varstarian.

In her speech, Hidalgo said writing was her whole life and
she could not see herself doing anything else.

“Literature provided me a deeper
understanding of what it means to be a human being. Maybe if I am not a writer,
I would just be a teacher, I can’t imagine anything else,” she said in an
interview.

This year’s coveted Rector’s Literary Award—the recipient of
which was chosen by the Rector himself from among first-prize winners—was given
to Jan Reitchelle Atanacio for her poetry compilation “Foreign Cities.”

The Rector’s Literary Award is bestowed on the work that
mirrors Thomasian values and best reflects “the Catholic vision of grace and
redemption.”

Other winners in the Poetry category were Patricia Camille
Que’s “The Theory of Accounts” at second place, and Maria Tanya Patricia Cruz’s
“Walls” and Jan Dennis Destajo’s “Chroma,” which tied for third place.

In the Tula category, honorable mentions were given to John
Robert Magsombol’s “Mga Talinghaga Ng Laylayan,” Jefferson Lexus Jonson’s “Kung
Paano Tayo Mamaalam,” and Christian Mendoza’s “Panghalip.”

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“It Was Always Sunniest When They Left” by Roy Stephen
Canivel won first prize in the Fiction category, while the second prize went to
“Road Reblocking” by George Deoso. There was no third prize, but honorable
mentions were given to Shannen Nicole Buenaventura’s “The Moon-Devourer” and
Marianne Freya Nono’s “The First Maria.”

The winners in the Katha category were “ASDFGHJKL” by
Christian Mendoza, “Train Station” by Brenda Grifon, and “Si Alexis, Sa Bingit
ng Katangahan” by Jefferson Lexus To Jonson. They grabbed first, second and
third prize, respectively. April Anne Dizon’s “Balikbayan Box” and Patrick
Ernest Celso’s “Lapad ng Emperador at Dakot ng Lays Chips” were given honorable
mentions.

“Ingredients” by Patricia Monette Villaraza and “The
Exciting, Extraordinary Wonders of the Shower” by Patrick John Danque were tied
at second place in the Essay catrgory. The third price went to “Adventures in
the Urban Jungle” by Nicole Tablizo. No one won first prize.

First prize in the Sanaysay category went to “Sa Edad Kong
Kinse” by Jerico Mahandog, while second and third prizes were given to
“Pilipinas sa Siglong Lilipas” by Bernadette Pamintuan and “Tren” by John Evan
Orias, respectively.

“Nanay Issues” by Julienne Espos bagged the first prize for
the Dulang May Isang Yugto category, while “90’s Nostalgia” by Ramon Carbonelle
and “Five-Year Engagement” by Jowie Loise Bigornia won second and third prizes,
respectively.

In the Maikling Kuwentong Pambata category, the winners were
Jimcy Mae B. Labio’s “Regalo” (first place), Bernadette Pamintuan’s “Ang Aking
Papa Lao” (second place), and Patrick Ernest Celso’s “Ninang Miranda:
Natatanging Modelo” (third place).

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The judges of this year’s literary contest were Mookie
Lacuesta, Carlomar Doana, and Marne Kilates for Poetry;  Ustetika founder Victor Emmanuel Nadera,
Benilda Santos, and Joselito Delos Reyes for Tula; Paolo Enrico
Melendez, Angelo Lacuesta, and Agusto Antonio Aguila for Fiction; Eros Atalia,
Jun Cruz Reyes , and Chuckberry
Pascual for Katha; John Jack Wigley, Jose Wendell Capili, and Shirley Lua for
Essay; Jerry Gracio, Abdon Balde Jr., and Oscar Campones for Sanaysay; Gary
Devilles, Ralph Semino Galan, and Jose Victor Torres for Dulang May Isang
Yugto/One-Act Play; and Christine Belen, Edgar Samar, and Luis Gatmaitan for
Maikling Kwentong Pambata.

Gawad Ustetika is the annual literary contest hosted and
organized by the Varsitarian. Ustetika, now on its 30th year, is the
longest-running campus literary derby in the country. K. J.V. Naparan

 

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