THE Bathalan-ong Halad sa Dagang (Bathalad)-Sugbo will celebrate the National Arts Month in February with two major events.
These are creative writing workshop and a one-day convention, celebrating the golden jubilee of the literary organization, honoring the top 15 creative writers in Cebuano and recognizing the special awardees in Cebuano literature.
The Third Bathalad-Sugbo Creative Writing Workshop will be held at Handuraw Pizza White Gold on Feb. 23-24. It is the brainchild of Philippine Ambassador to Bangladesh Vicente Vivencio T. Bandillo, the Bathalad’s former president in the early ‘90s.
Bandillo, who is also the country’s top diplomat for Sri Lanka and Maldives (concurrent jurisdictions), will take time out to preside over the workshop with young literary stalwarts in Cebu as the other panelists.
The poet-diplomat from Alcantara, Cebu is one of the top (Kaplag) 15 writers who will receive their awards in the afternoon of Feb. 25 together with the four special awardees in Cebuano literature at the Palm Grass Cebu Heritage Hotel in Junquera St., Cebu City.
The other Kaplag awardees are Dr. Mel M. Allego, Dr. Erlinda K. Alburo, lawyer Junne Cañizares, Ernesto D. Lariosa, Lamberto G. Ceballos, lawyer Cesar P. Kilaton, Rogelio S. Pono, Agustin Don Pag-usara, Ricardo P. Baladjay, Marcelo A. Geocallo, Ricardo I. Patalinjug, Gremer Chan Reyes, Edfer C. Rigodon and Arturo Peñaserada.
The special awardees are National Artist for Literature Resil B. Mojares, retired Regional Trial Court Judge Simeon Dumdum, Jr., Dr. Hope S. Yu and the late SunStar Cebu columnist Godofredo M. Roperos.
These Bathalad-Sugbo activities are supported by people who love the Cebuano language and literature, including Allego and his fellow doctors based in the United States. No funds were solicited from the government, including the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Allego was the 2012 Garbo sa Sugbo awardee for Cebuano literature during Gwen Garcia’s tenure and the rest are all award winners, including four Palanca winners: Ceballos, Lariosa, Patalinjug and Pag-usara. The 15 awardees have been writing and publishing their works for almost 50 years now.
Mojares founded the Cebuano Studies Center and presided for decades over the Cornelio Faigao Memorial Literary workshop that honed the writing skills of many Cebuano young writers.
For his part, Dumdum served for many years as teacher and a guide to many young writers by being a panelist of literary workshops in the Visayas and Mindanao, while Yu unearthed and translated into English and published top works in Cebuano of yore and present time.
Roperos left a legacy in Cebuano short story writing by introducing a device,”stream of consciousness,” which influenced many Cebuano writers today.
The Kaplag 15 and special award search and recognition is a joint project of Bathalad-Sugbo and Palm Grass Cebu Heritage Hotel.