19 September 2007

CSSAC tutor is 2007 'Parasurat nin Taon'

JUDITH Balares-Salamat, a teacher at Camarines Sur State Agriculture College (CSSAC), is this year's grand prize winner for the just concluded 2007 Premio Tomas Arejola para sa Literaturang Bikolnon (PTALB).

Her essay entitled “Ringgaw nin Imahinasyon, Kawat sa Pagtukdo,” a first stab at creative writing which related Judith's experiences in teaching her students at CSSAC, entitled her a total cash prize of P12,500 (P10,000 for being the "Parasurat nin Taon") and a PTALB gold medallion.

Judith, who hails from my hometown Pili, Camarines Sur, bested my fellow Vox Bikol columnist Victor Dennis Nierva and Tabaco City's Jaime Jesus Borlagdan, who tied for the top awards in poetry. Nierva won with his “Antisipasyon asin iba pang mga rawitdawit” while Borlagdan, a previous PTALB winner, earned the nod with his “Ini, an mga buhay ta.” Each took home P2,500 and a PTALB gold medallion.

Writer Abdon M. Balde, Jr., a native of Busac, Oas, Albay who now writes from Las Piñas, was also on hand to receive the Premio Tomas Arejola Lifetime Achievement Award, together with cultural advocate Leonor Dy-Liaco.

Balde has won prestigious national literary awards, including the Palanca, Gintong Aklat and the National Book Award. Although written in Tagalog, Balde’s tales are set in the region and distinguished for their celebratory Bikol sensibility.

The awarding rites were held at at the St. Vincent de Paul Auditorium of the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary in Naga City in a two-hour program that started at around 3:30 pm and featured readings of the winning pieces of the three finalists.

Other honorees during the occasion, whose entries qualified for the PTALB, are available here.

In her closing remarks, Arejola Foundation for Social Responsibility vice chair Fabiana Arejola announced that the 2008 PTALB (the fifth edition of the literary awards) and the accompanying Juliana Arejola-Fajardo Workshop sa Pagsurat-Bikol are now open to interested participants.