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UP Diliman professor honored in Asian awards in Thailand

A University of the Philippines (UP) professor — Romulo Baquiran Jr. — was recently honored along with seven other writers at the "33rd Southeast Asian Writers (SEA) Awards" in Bangkok, Thailand. According to a news release of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the award was presented on February 16 to Baquiran and seven other writers from Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The awardees were selected by their own peers in each of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. Baquiran was chosen by the Writers Union of the Philippines, headed by National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario. SEA Writers Awards The SEA Writers Awards was organized in 1979 to honor the Southeast Asian region's creative literary talents.   Thai Queen Sirikit presided over the first award presentation ceremony in 1979 until 1983.   In 1984, Thai Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn took over in presiding the awards ceremony.   For this year's event, the award was bestowed by Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana on behalf of her father, the Crown Prince. Baquiran's accomplishments Baquiran is an assistant professor at the College of Arts and Letters of UP, Diliman, Quezon City. The DFA noted that Baquiran has already published two poetry collections:
  • "Mga Tula ng Paglusong (Journey Poems)," and
  • "Onyx-and a collection of personal essays-Sagad sa Buto (Felt to the Bones)."
The DFA said most of Baquiran's poems won prizes at the Palanca Memorial Award for Literature, a prestigious and popular literary contest in the Philippines. In 2010, he won a Palanca award for his poetry collection "Parokya" (Village).   Baquiran also won the Best Poetry title in the 2004 National Book Award given by the Manila Critics Circle.   Meanwhile he also edited the following works:
  • "ASEANO: An Anthology of Poems from Southeast Asia," and
  • "Urbana and Felisa," a book of essays, which merited a National Book Award nomination in 1996.
  Aside from poetry writing and teaching, Baquiran also writes film reviews and articles for national dailies. He is also active in creative writing workshops in and outside the academe. Other Pinoy SEA awardees Meanwhile, the DFA noted that several other Philippine writers and poets have received the SEA award, including:
  • Nick Joaquin (1980)
  • Edilberto Tiempo (1983)
  • Virginia Moreno (1984)
  • Ricaredo Demetillo (1985)
  • Bienvenido Santos (1987)
  • Virgilio Almario (1988)
  • Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil (1990)
  • Dr. Isagani Cruz (1991)
  • Dr. Alejandro Roces (1997)
  • Felice Prudente Sta. Maria (2001).
  On the other hand, the list of distinguished writers who have addressed previous SEA awards ceremonies were:  
  • Gore Vidal (1982)
  • Sir Peter Ustinov (1987)
  • Lord Jeffrey Archer (1993)
  • Lord David Puttnam (1999)
  • 2001 Nobel Prize Winner in Literature Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (2000)
  • 2010 Nobel Prize Winner in Literature Mr. Mario Vargas Llosa (2002).
- VVP, GMA News