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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

entry arrow9:33 PM | The Most Prolific Sillimanian Writers of the 1950s

It's amazing to observe through research details the waves of transience for campus writers, how their by-lines suddenly appear one year, gets sustained for a few more years, and then suddenly vanish. In the interim, they flood Dumaguete with so much poetry, fiction, and essays -- as if writing was the most consuming thing they had to do when they were young. Some years are better than others. I'm amazed, for example, at the literary blossoming that heralded the start of the 1950s -- but this waned near the end of the decade, with campus writing focused so much on sociological issues through hard-hitting journalism and editorials, perhaps a natural response for writers writing under the new Republic, still struggling with coming to terms with the new national identity. Spanish literary works were abundant in the beginning of the 1950s, with works by Oscar Montenegro, Tito Montenegro, Jose B. Anfone, Gloria Ledesma, Pelucio P. Lavinia, Rita S. Montenegro, Emmanuela Trio, and Jose Maria Suarez, but were soon eclipsed by an abundance of literary works in Filipino -- or the National Language (as the section in The Silllimanian is called), with works by Teofilo Marasigan, Modesto Segunal, Jeffree Mojares, Nellie H. Malimas, Amorsolo M. Valdez, Lily Padua, Jeb Bundang, J. Edejer Avadista, and Erlinda Jaub Avila. Who knew Silliman University has a rich tradition of works in Filipino? (Nothing in Cebuano, however.) By the start of the 1960s, however, both Spanish and Filipino literary works have largely disappeared, save for a singular effort by Nancy I. Teves in 1965 to resurrect them, with works by such writers as Franklin R. Cabaluna and Diana Aida A. Banogon. In the three decades I have covered so far in this phase of my research (from the late 1940s to the early 1960s), the most prolific writers have to be Claro Ceniza, Cesar Amigo, Aida Rivera (Ford), Edilberto Tiempo (who was busy churning out novels and winning Guggenheim awards), Edith Tiempo (who was busy receiving national literary awards), Reuben Canoy, Ricaredo Demetillo, David Quemada, and James Matheson (who kept a long-running column called "Diary") -- but the champion of them all is Nicator F. Tabligan Jr., whose contributions to the literary culture in Dumaguete spanned more than a decade. And nobody even remembers him anymore.

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