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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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Sunday, February 12, 2023

entry arrow3:03 PM | Lualhati Bautista, 1945-2023

The great Lualhati Bautista, author of acclaimed novels such as Dekada '70 (1983), Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa? (1983), 'Gapô (1988), Desaparesidos (2006), Sixty in the City (2015), and Sonata (2017), has died at the age of 77.

She was a staunch political critic and activist, whose life mirrored the struggles of the women she set down on the page, many of them striving and persevering in difficult times. She took note of that autofiction quality in her fiction, particularly in Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa, and in 2013 fashioned an experimental novel/ memoir titled In Sisterhood: Lea at Lualhati, which also served as Bautista's manifesto on writing and the meaning of being a woman living in contemporary times with all its social and political tumult — a concern she also explored in her nonfiction book Hinugot sa Tadyang.

Two of her novels [Dekada '70 and Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa?] would eventually be adapted to critically acclaimed and enormously popular films produced by Star Cinema, directed by Chito Roño, and starring Vilma Santos, but Bautista was also known for her searing and socially conscious screenplays for Sakada (1976), Kung Mahawi Man ang Ulap (1984), Bulaklak sa City Jail (1984), Maricris Sioson: Japayuki (1993), Kadenang Bulaklak (1994), Nena (1995), Rizal sa Dapitan (1997), Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya (2000), among others. Mario O'Hara's Bulaklak sa City Jail, which follows a pregnant woman [played by Nora Aunor] who is arrested for attempted murder and is sent to the Manila City Jail where she meets other women with disquieting stories, won Bautista the Best Story and Best Screenplay awards at the 1984 Metro Manila Film Festival.

She also won the Palanca Award for her novels — 'Gapô in 1980, Dekada '70 in 1983, and Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa in 1984 — and for her short stories, "Tatlong Kuwento ng Buhay ni Julian Candelabra" [first prize in 1982] and "Buwan, Buwan, Hulugan Mo Ako ng Sundang" [third prize in 1983]. Her short stories are collected in Buwan, Buwan, Hulugan Mo Ako ng Sundang: Dalawang Dekada ng Maiikling Kuwento (1991) and Bayan Ko! (2019), and her poems are collected in Alitaptap sa Gabing Madilim (2020).

She was a national fellow for fiction of the University of the Philippines Creative Writing Center in 1986, and served as vice-president of the Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines and as chair of the Kapisanan ng mga Manunulat ng Nobelang Popular. In 2022, she was recipient of the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining for her contributions to Philippine literature.

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