Judging The Palanca, BLAJA And Ginebra Ako Awards
November 18, 2019

A total of 56 writers, including 32 first-time awardees, received the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature on Nov. 8. Now in its 69th edition, the much-awaited Palanca Night was held at the traditional venue, the Rigodon Ballroom of Manila Peninsula Hotel. What broke tradition for the second straight year was the late date, more than two months past the customary First of September. Last year also saw a delay, till October.

The Palanca Foundation presented a posthumous award to Milagros Palanca-Furer, the initial proponent of the awards way back in 1950.

Dr. Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo received the Gawad Dangal ng Lahi and was guest of honor and speaker. She spoke eloquently on “Building a Bridge Between ‘Hard Literature’ and ‘Pop Fiction.’”

Veteran poet Lamberto E. Antonio was inducted into the Palanca Hall of Fame after winning his fifth First Prize Award with his entry, “Turno Kung Nokturno at iba pang Tiyempo ng Rilyebo sa Pagberso.” He became the 26th Palanca Hall-of-Famer.

Other big winners were Jerking Guzman Pingol with “Agaw-anino” for the Grand Prize for the Nobela and Reine Arcache Melvin for the Grand Prize for the Novel for The Betrayed, which AdMU Press’ Bughaw imprint has already published as a book.

Reine or “Bonnie” flew in for a few days from Paris where she works as an editor. In transit, she also got word that her first novel also won the National Book Award from NBDB/Manila Critics Circle.

Since the Novel and Nobela categories are only open every two years, it’s possible for a published title to be submitted as a Palanca entry. Given this consideration, the judges for the Novel — D.M Reyes, Sarge Lacuesta and this writer — have suggested that supplementary prizes be added to the Grand Prize, to allow strong contenders who submitted manuscripts better chances to also gain publication.

On behalf of the sponsors, Dang Cecilio-Palanca remarked:

“Creative writing demands unique perspectives, freshness of approach, strength of imagination, supreme use of language, and the sharing of human experience in an unforgettable manner.

“In this day and age, the challenges to writers have become even more formidable, as they have to contend with many other forms of communication that have become popular. But fiction, poetry, drama, screenplays and essays still present the greater opportunities to memorialize human conditions, whether in their utmost simplicity or inexhaustible complexity.”

Now in its 13th year, The Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards (BLAJA) were given last Friday, Nov. 15, at the Fairmont Hotel.

The top four prizes went to Joey Gabieta of PDI with “Farm Tourism Grows in Leyte Village” for Agriculture Story of the Year; Willie Lomibao of PDI with “Salt Harvest” for Agriculture Photo of the Year; Jasper Arcalas and Elijah Felice Rosales of Business Mirror with “Tax Thrust Threatens Tobacco Tillers’ Take” for Tobacco Story of the Year; and Laila Austria of Business Mirror with “Golden Leaves” for Tobacco Photo of the Year.

The other winners were: Amielle Ordoñez of GMA-7 with “Drought in Numbers: Farmers Farming No More” for Best Agriculture TV Program or Segment; Sheila Tubalinal of DZMM 630khz with “Sa Kabukiran” for Best Agriculture Radio Program or Segment; Karl Ocampo of PDI with “In Nueva Ecija, Farmers Keep Their Chill Even As El Niño Scorches” for Best Agriculture News Story - National; Ofelia Empion of Baguio Midland Courier with “Veggie Farmers Learn How to Migrate Frost” for Best Agriculture News Story – Regional; Jonathan Mayuga of Business Mirror with “Women of Bacoor’s Embattled Mussel Industry” for Best Agriculture Feature Story – National; Henrylito Tacio of Edge Davao with “Coconut: Major Export of Filipino Farmers” for Best Agriculture Feature Story – Regional; Jessica Bartolome and Donna Magsino of GMA News Online with “A Very Long Summer” for Best Online Story; and for the latest added category, Louise Maureen Simeon of The Philippine STAR with “Smoke-Free Puffing in the Philippines Soon? Philip Morris to Sell Heat-Not-Burn” for Best Story in Tobacco Alternatives.

For having won five awards as of last year, entering the BLAJA Hall of Fame as Oriental Leaf awardees were Karen Verrona of ABS-CBN Davao and Ian Ocampo Flora of SunStar Pampanga.

The judges were: Rina Jimenez David and Sev Sarmenta of PDI, Rem Zamora of ABS-CBN, Jake Maderazo of ABS-CBN and DZIQ Radyo Inquirer, Ed Sallan of Business Mirror, J. Albert Gamboa of Manila Bulletin and Manila Times, Isabelita Reyes of UP, Ralph Galan of UST, Gabriel Fernandez of DLS-CSB, photographer Francis Abraham, and this writer as chairman.

The third awards program I recently joined a board of judges for was the Ginebra Ako Awards — Pagkilala sa Tunay na Tapang at Husay ng Pilipino, now on its second year of recognizing and saluting the extraordinary accomplishments of exemplary Filipino individuals who embody the same values that Ginebra San Miguel embraces.

Invoking its popular campaign phrase “Ginebra Ako,” the nationwide search involved nominations for five categories: Ginebra Ako Para sa Kalikasan; … Para sa Kabataan; … sa Entablado; … sa Palakasan; and … sa Paglilingkod. 

A screening committee and a preliminary judging committee went through the nominations and came up with shortlists of three finalists per category, from which the board of judges selected the awardees.

The judges were: Mac Orendain, professor at the University of Makati; Winston Santiago, CCP director for Marketing and Mulanay Experiential, Inc. president; Nadia Abcede and Paulo Tupaz of Ginebra San Mguel, Inc., and this writer.

Awardees for each category will receive a trophy, a certificate of recognition and P100,000 at the Ginebra Ako Awards on Dec. 11. The live awarding event highlights the program as one of inspirational public service and social relevance.? Documentary-style features on the awardees will be amplified on TV and in social media.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/lifestyle/arts-and-culture/2019/11/18/1969540/judging-palanca-blaja-and-ginebra-ako-awards#hHiXdwpVKDGEFc6x.99

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