SUNSTAR Cebu opinion editor Januar Yap wins his fourth award in the Cebuano Short Story category of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature during their yearly award ceremonies held at the Peninsula Hotel in Makati City on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019.
Yap won second prize for his short story “Ang Haya ni Tasyo.” Yap said his winning piece was inspired by current events. His main characters are composed of Tasyo, an island sage inspired by Noli Mi Tangere’s Pilosopo Tasyo, and the real-life Pascual Racuyal, a semi-legendary figure known to run for president a good number of times and losing each time.
He admitted that the story was political, placing Pilosopo Tasyo in a present setting and commenting on current issues.
Yap admitted “Haya” took some time before it could be conceptualized.
“Stories usually come in small and little sparks through the years. They just take form on their own after a while. It’s when you’re writing it that things start to fall into place and take shape,” he said.
This was not the first time that Yap had been recognized by the country’s premier literary award giving body.
In 2000, Yap won second prize in the Cebuano Short Story category for his story “Ang Suhito.” In 2015, Yap won third prize in the same category for his “Liboa’g Usa Ka Hugon-Hugon Kabahin sa Tagulilong.” Last year, he captured the top prize for his story “Baradero (Drydock).”
As an advice to aspiring writers who want to win a Palanca, Yap had only one word to say.
“Write,” he quipped.
Aside from being SunStar Cebu’s resident opinion editor, Yap is also a communications and journalism professor at the University of the Philippines Cebu. / JKV