Monday, August 30, 2021
7:30 AM |
My KSSLAP Awards Acceptance Speech
Thank you to the Cultural Center of the Philippines, especially to its Cultural Exchange Department headed by Chinggay Bernardo, for this honor of being one of the first recipients of the KSSLAP Award for art and cultural work in the Visayas.
I am being honored for my work in the literary arts, particularly in Dumaguete—but I think of it more as a recognition of what my community can do to forge forward a tradition of excellence in culture and the arts, of which I am only a part of the fabric. That I stand here with three other honorees from Dumaguete and Negros Oriental is proof of that. We have with us Dessa Quesada-Palm and YATTA, who exemplify Dumaguete theater. We have with us Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez who exemplifies Dumaguete music. And we have with us Diomar Abrio and the Silliman University Culture and Arts Council who exemplify Dumaguete cultural work in general.
The truth is, these people who I call my friends and my cultural family—and many others like them in the fields of Dumaguete visual arts, dance, and film—have been a huge part of my life as a writer and as a cultural worker, and I hope that I have also been a huge part in theirs. Our efforts, both as groups and as individuals, have been largely successful because of the collaborative spirit we often take to pursue excellence in what we do in the name of culture and the arts.
In recognizing me and them for this award then, you are also recognizing that bond, that fabric, that inter-connectedness we all have with each other—and I am grateful for getting that chance to share this stage with them right now. This award is a vital reminder of two things for me: first, that while cultural work might often feel lonely, I am truly not alone because of these people, and because there are institutions like the Cultural Center of the Philippines ready to recognize the work of local artists. And second, this is an incentive for us to try to even reach higher ground in the development of culture in our community.
Dumaguete is a legendary city of literature—but we still have a lot of work to accomplish to really make miracles in the name of literary writing. This award is an encouragement to reach for that.
I dedicate this award to the literary giants from Dumaguete that came before me: Edilberto Tiempo, Edith Tiempo, Myrna Pena-Reyes, Bobby Flores Villasis, Ernesto Superal Yee, Rowena Tiempo Torrevillas, Elsa Martinez Coscolluela, Grace Monte de Ramos, and so many others. When I was young and needed mentorship, they showed me the path to attain literary and cultural excellence, for which I am grateful. This award is also for them.
POSTSCRIPT: I didn't get to mention him, but through all this, Renz Torres has been both the wind to my sail and my north star—my energy and my direction in this journey to becoming. Thank you, my love.
Labels: art and culture, awards, cultural affairs committee, dumaguete, life, writing
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