5 Mindanawons among Palanca winners  

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 03 September) — Five Mindanawons are among this year’s awardees, two of them first prize winners in the short story category in English and Cebuano in the 67th Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.

John Bengan, 33, Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines – Mindanao and current chair of its Department of Humanities, won first prize in the short story category in English for his entry, “Disguise,” about a mayor who drives a taxi at night searching for a thief preying on taxi drivers.

This is the second Palanca for Bengan, President of the Davao Writers Guild. He won first prize in the same category in 2013 for “Armor.”

Three of the five Mindanawon winners in this year’s Palanca Awards (l to r): Errol Merquita, winner in two categories – Shorty Story in Cebuano and Tula para sa mga Bata; John Bengan, 1st place, Short Story in English; and Jade Mark B. Capiñanes, 3rd place, Essay. Awarding of prizes of the 67th Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards was held in Makati on September 1, 2017. Photo from Bengan’s Facebook wall, with permission

Jondy Arpilleda of Tandag City in Surigao del Sur won the first prize in the short story category in  Cebuano for “Bunok.” Arpilleda won third place in the same category in 2014 for “Kasina.”

Errol Merquita of Davao City won two awards: second place for “Tagulilong: Ang mga Nawala,” under the category Tula para sa mga Bata and third place for “Aninipot” under Short Story in Cebuano.

He won second in the same category in 2011 for “Isla Verde.”

Merquita won the top prize for “Ang Iisang Paa Ng Tsinelas” under the Tula Para sa mga Bata category in 2015.

Mubarak M. Tahir of Datu Piang in Maguindanao, a teacher at the Philippine Science High School southern Mindanao campus in Davao City, won third place for “Aden Bon Besen Uyag-Uyag (May Buhay Pa Pala) under the Sanaysay category.

Tahir finished Bachelor of Arts in Filipino, cum laude, at the Mindanao State University (MSU) main campus in Marawi City.

Jade Mark B. Capiñanes of MSU in General Santos City, won third place in Essay for A Portrait of a Young Man as a Banak.”  

Awarding of prizes for the Palanca Awards, considered the most prestigious and longest-running literary contest in the country, was held at the Manila Peninsula in  Makati City on September 1.

Interaksyon.com quoted Criselda Cecilio-Palanca in her Sponsor’s remarks as saying that the award-giving body received a total of 954 entries for all 22 categories and “63 judges selected 55 winning works of 51 writers, 23 of whom are new winners while 28 are former Palanca Awardees.”

Cecilio-Palanca noted that 18 of the winners belong to the age bracket of 21 to 30; 16 in the 31 to 40 age bracket, and eight for the 41 to 50 age bracket. “Seven were 20 years old or under, and since six of these won in the Kabataan Essay category for 18 years of age or below, means that one winner under 20 years of age won in one of the adult categories; then there was one winner each from the 51 to 60 and 60-70 age groups respectively.”

From 1951 to 2017, the total number of winning authors has reached 2,303 while the total number of winning works is now 2,385, she said.

Named in honor of businessman and philanthropist Don Carlos Palanca, Sr. , the Palanca Awards aims to develop Philippine Literature “by providing incentives for writers to craft their most outstanding literary works as well as serve as a treasury of Philippine literary gems.”

Bengan told MindaNews the winning entries will be posted on the website of the Palanca Awards this month.

Bengan’s winning entry, “Disguise,” was first featured in BooksActually’s Gold Standard, published in December 2016 by the Singapore-based Math Paper Press.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)