3 Mindanao books among winners in National Book Awards

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 06 August) – Three books on Mindanao are among 27 winners in the 39th National Book Awards given out by the National Book Development Board (NDBD) and the Manila Critics Circle (MCC).

The NBA is an annual event but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it had its last awarding in November 2019 for  books published in 2018. The 39th NBA ceremony last Saturday, July 30, was for  books published in 2019 and 2020. A total of 110 finalists vied for 25 awards. There were two categories where finalists tied for the award.  

The three Mindanao books that won are Biyaheng Pinoy: A Mindanao Travelogue by the late Edilberto N. Alegre for Best Book of Non-Fiction Prose in English;  Songs Sprung from Native Soils: More Conversations with Eight Mindanao Writers by Ricardo M. De Ungria (editor) for Best Book of Literary History in English; and Mindanao Harvest 4 edited by Jaime An Lim, Christine F. Godinez-Ortega and Ricardo M. De Ungria for Best Anthology in English.

Biyaheng Pinoy was published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press in 2020 and edited by de Ungria with foreword by Karl Gaspar,  Songs sprung by the Xavier University Press in Cagayan de Oro City in 2019 and Mindanao Harvest 4 by the Far Eastern University Publication in 2018. 

Alegre’s wife, Joycie thanked the NBDB and MCC for posthumously awarding her husband’s work. She also thanked Lumads and Muslims in Mindanao who shared their stories with Alegre.  

Jaime An Lim also thanked the organizers and the “50 Mindanawon contributors who shared their provocative stories about Mindanao’s rich and complicated past and present.”

“Their stories are interesting stories. Their stories are important  stories. Their stories are necessary stories. Because they part of the national narrative of our people,” he said. 

De Ungria’s message was read for him by Dr. Arlene Yandug of Xavier University. De Ungria thanked the eight Mindanawon writers who agreed to be part of the book, Xavier University for publishing it and the NDBD and MCC “for their recognition of the  book’s value for Mindanao and to Philippine literature.”

“Work on the various literatures in this island is just beginning and any award for these efforts here, while not always forthcoming, is always inspiriting and inspiring,” de Ungria added. 

De Ungria interviewed Mindanawon writers Leoncio Deriada, Noralyn Mustafa, Jaime An Lim, Christine Godinez-Ortega, Calbi Asain, Lia Lopez-Chua, Telesforo Sungkit Jr, and Almayrah Tiburon.

Deriada passed away on April 3, 2019; Mustafa on March 27, 2021 in Zamboanga City and Sungkit in Los Banos on July 18, 2022. 

The winners, as presented during the awarding on July 30, are: 

For the Literary Division: 

Best Novel in English: Tiempo Muerto: A Novel by Caroline S. Hau, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best Novel in Filipino: Topograpiya ng Lumbay: Imus Novel 6 by RM Topacio-Aplaon, University of the Philippines Press

Best Book of Short Fiction in English: Voyager and Other Fictions: The Collected Stories of Jose Dalisay by Jose Dalisay Jr, Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Best Book of Short Fiction in Filipino: The Next Great Tagalog Novel at Iba Pang Kuwento by Allan N. Derain, University of the Philippines Press

Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in English: Biyaheng Pinoy: A Mindanao Travelogue by Edilberto N. Alegre, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in Filipino: Balager by Emmanuel T. Barrameda, Isang Balangay Media Productions

Best Book of Essays in English: The Philippines Is Not a Small Country by Gideon Lasco, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best Anthology in English: Mindanao Harvest 4 by Jaime An Lim, Christine F. Godinez-Ortega, Ricardo M. De Ungria (Editors), Far Eastern University Publications

Best Book of DramaSalvador/Javier at Iba Pang Dula by Lito Casaje, University of the Philippines Press and Two Women as Specters of History: Lakambini and Indigo Child by Rody Vera, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best Book of Literary Criticism in English: Sensing Manila by Gary C. Devilles, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best Book of Literary History in English: Songs Sprung from Native Soils: More Conversations with Eight Mindanao Writers by Ricardo M. De Ungria (Editor), Xavier University Press

Best Book of Literary Criticism in Filipino: Faustino Aguilar: Kapangyarihan, Kamalayan, Kasaysayan by Epifanio San Juan Jr, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House

Best Book of Poetry in English: When Bridges Are Down, Mountains Too Far: New Poems by Gémino H. Abad, University of the Philippines Press and We Shall Write Love Poems Again by Dinah Roma, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House

Best Book of Poetry in Filipino: Ruta: Mga Bago at Piling Tula by Benilda S. Santos, Ateneo de Naga University Press

Best Graphic Literature: Tarantadong Kalbo Volume 1 by Kevin Eric Raymundo, Komiket Inc.

Best Translated Book: The World is Still Beautiful by Lazaro Francisco, translated by Mona Highley, Ateneo de Manila University Press

For the Non-Literary Division:

Best Book On ArtPhilippine Cinema, 1897-2020 by Gaspar A. Vibal and Dennis S. Villegas; edited by Teddy O. Co, Vibal Group

Best Book on Professions: Cool Minds, Brave Hearts: The People of the Philippine Central Bank by Roel R. Landingin, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Best Book in the Social Sciences: Rethinking Filipino Millennials: Alternative Perspectives on a Misunderstood Generation by Jayeel Cornelio (Editor), University of Santo Tomas Publishing House

Best Book on History: Clothing the Colony: Nineteenth-Century Philippine Sartorial Culture, 1820-1896 by Stephanie Coo, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best Book in Journalism: Press Freedom Under Siege: Reportage that Challenged the Marcos Dictatorship by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo, University of the Philippines Press

Best Book on Humor, Sports, and LifestyleWalk Manila by Lorelei DC de Viana, Far Eastern University Publications

Best Book on Food: Lasa ng Republika Dila at Bandila: Ang Paghahanap sa Pambansang Panlasa ng Filipinas by Ige Ramos, Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Best Book in Science: The Zanjeras of Ilocos: Cooperative Irrigation Societies of the Philippines by Jose A. Rivera, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best Book Design: A Watercolor Journey by Claude Tayag, design by MiguelMari, Holy Angel University, Inc.

NDBD chair Dante Francis Ang II said the NBA has been a tradition since 1982 for recognizing “the best books written, published, and designed in the Philippines.”

“Administering the 39th National Book Awards, from the submission of 276 nominated books to the seven months’ long reading and deliberations stage, faced delays due to intermittent lockdowns. But as we start anew, we find solace in rediscovering the best of Filipino stories. I tell you that with certainty because as we redraw our worlds, the role of books in helping us answer questions the pandemic has brought about has never been more apparent,” he said. 

He reiterated the NDBD’s mandate of “ensuring continuous book production among our stakeholders, from authors to editors, to artists, to translators and to publishers.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)