DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 07 December) — A Mindanawon writer was among those honored with the Southeast Asian (S.E.A. Write) Award during the presentation ceremony held recently in Bangkok, Thailand, the fourth Mindanawon to receive the prestigious award.
Mutli-awarded writer Ricardo M. de Ungria, who moved to Mindanao two decades ago and served as Chancellor of UP Mindanao, received the S.E.A. Write Award for 2018 from Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya, who was designated by her father, King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, to preside in his stead at the Presentation Ceremony for the S.E.A. Write awardees for 2016, 2017 and 2018. at the Royal Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok on November 25.
The S.E.A.WRITE Award is given annually to poets and writers from ASEAN countries for specific works or for lifetime achievement.
De Ungria is the fourth writer from Mindanao to receive the award, after Jolico Cuadra (1979), Antonio Enriquez (2000), and Cesar Ruiz Aquino (2004).
Two other Filipinos were honored with the S.E.A Write awards: Bienvenido Lumbera for 2016 and Kristian Sendon Cordero for 2017.
Lumbera is a National Artist of the Philippines and a Ramon Magsaysay awardee for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communications. He is married to Cynthia Nograles, sister of the late Speaker Prospero Nograles.
Cordero has been described as the enfant terrible of Bikol contemporary writings.
A total of 27 awardees for 2016, 2017 and 2018 Brunei, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand, were honored at the presentation ceremony.
Novelist and historian Claire Keefe-Fox was guest speaker.
De Ungria was nominated by PEN Philippines for “his poetic body of work written in English and distinguished by its innovative spirit and its powerful energy to push the boundaries of poetry in English.”
He was also judged on his literary criticism and scholarship, particularly his championing of the poets and other writers of Mindanao, the third major group of islands in the Philippines that is a “cultural melting pot as well as an engine of progress and a source of religious, cultural, and social conflicts.”
De Ungria has authored eight books of poetry and ten books of nonfiction anthologies. His 18th book, Voices on the Waters: Conversations with Five Mindanao Writers published by Ateneo de Manila Press, recently won the 2019 National Book Award for Best Anthology in English given by the Manila Critics Circle and the National Book Development Board. It was de Ungria’s 10th time to receive the NBA.
He moved to Davao in 1999 to become the first dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences of the newly established UP Mindanao campus in Bago Oshiro in Mintal, and later its second chancellor.
The awardees for 2016, 2017 and 2018 are:
2016: Brunei / Haji Jalauddin bin Aspar of Brunei; H.E. Proeung Parnait of Cambodia; Soubanh Luangrath of Lao PDR; Rajab bin Ismail of Malaysia; AUng Chiemt of Myanmar; Bienvenido Lumbera of the Philippines; Ovidia Yu of Singapore; Nugyen The Quang of Vietnam and Palang Pinagpiroon of Thailand.
2017: Haji Mahadi Haji Matarsat of Brunei; Lek Chumnor of Cambodia; Somchay Chantavong of Lao PDR; Zainal Abidin Subaili of Malysia; Chit Oo Nyo of Myanmar; Kristian Sendon Cordero of the Philippines; Chia Joo Ming of Singapore, Tran hung of Vietnam and Jicanuna Lueangpiansamut.