January 04, 2011



The book of Bicolano author Carlo Arejola titled Sayod Kong Tataramon published by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) was one of the five finalists in this year’s Madrigal-Gonzales First Book award.
Arejola’s book contains three stage plays in Bicol with Filipino translations and a screenplay in Filipino sharing one thing in common—in the words of author John Iremil Teodoro: “the characters’ intent and act of demolishing the primacy of the phallus, of subverting patriarchy, by pushing the feminist and the homosexual agenda.”
A text of Teodoro’s review of the book published in the August 2009 issue of Agung, the official newsletter of the NCCA, reads: “With Sayod Kong Tataramon, Arejola is successful in pushing the frontiers of Bikol literature by tackling a sensitive issue using strong and beautiful language and imagery. The characters in his plays will surely haunt the imagination of readers [and of audiences too when these plays are mounted and filmed] who have a sense of justice. What the book is telling us all—female, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, male—is that if we want to be happy, living in a society founded on love and justice, together we should demolish the proud phallus of patriarchy.

This is only Arejola’s first book, but with a strong and sure voice he is serving the notice that he will become the most important playwright of the Bicol Region.”

The Madrigal Gonzalez award, given on December 10 at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, eventually went to Lualhati Abreu’s Agaw-dilim, Agaw-Liwanag published by the University of the Philippines (UP) Press.

The three other finalists were Telesforo Sungkit Jr.’s Batbat hi Udan (Central Books), Axel Pinpin’s Tugmaang Matatabil (Southern Voices), and Joseph de Luna Saguid’s Kantilaho (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House).

Abreu’s is the 10th book to receive the Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award (MGBFBA). The first nine books are Angelo Rodriguez Lacuesta’s Life After X & Other Stories (UP Press); Ellen Liwag Sicat’s ovel, Paghuhunos (UP Press); Ma. Felisa Batacan’s Smaller and Smaller Circles (UP Press 2003); Luna Sicat-Cleto’s, Makinilyang Altar (UP Press); Vicente Groyon 3rd’s The Sky Over Dimas (De La Salle University Press, 2005); Kristian Cordero’s Mga Tulang Tulala (Goldprint Publishing House, 2006); Rica Bolipata Santos’ Love, Desire, Children (Milflores Publishing, 2007); Zosimo Quibilan’s Pagluwas (UP Press, 2008); and Adam David’s El Bimbo Variations (Beauty Brigade, 2009).
The award is administrated by the UP Institute of Creative Writing and sponsored by the Madrigal-Gonzalez family.