FIRST, it was the Palanca. Then the 2004 Premio Arejola. Now, here's yet another proof that a renaissance in Bikol literature is afoot -- powered both by traditional and new media, the latter including blogging -- with no less than the portal to Philippine literature heralding its coming.
Let's savor together what I think are the choicest cuts:
By the time Kristian Cordero’s name was announced as 2006 Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award winner, everyone at the Claro M. Recto Hall knew that the awarding was to be an event of many firsts. It was the first time a volume of poetry won. It was the first time a trilingual book won. It was the first time a book published by a small press won...As I wrote Kristian many fortnights ago: "Ma-o talaga a taga-Rinconada!" My heartfelt congratulations.:)
A hush fell over the Recto Hall as Cordero related moments of creativity in the face of the storm battering the region. Mga Tulang Tulala: Piling Tula sa Filipino, Bikol at Rinconada, then, is a testament not only to the emerging success of Bikol literature but also to the artist’s ability to triumph over the external life in the face of the most heart-wrenching of circumstances...
The unanimous decision of the 2006 judges bodes well for Bikol literature and writing from the regions in general....
UPDATE (6:02pm): Want another proof that blogging is helping power this renaissance? As I was furiously composing the above, little did I know that Kristian (who I have yet to meet in person) has been here at Koko Café all along -- until I asked him, noting that the photo I nicked bears a striking resemblance to the young man in sandals who is leisurely enjoying the free WiFi in this joint.
Photo nicked from Kristian's blog