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2 win big in 2021 Maningning Miclat Poetry Awards

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The 2021 MMA POETRY WINNERS from top from left, John Brixter Tino, Eunice Andrada, Alfonso Manalastas, Dr. Ralph Lorenz Fonte, and Genesis Roy Historillo, and 2021 MMA Poetry Judges, bottom from left Marjorie Evasco, Marne Kilates, Dinah Roma, Michael Coroza and Rebecca T. Añonuevo
Photos from Seymour Sanchez
Image layout by THEPHILBIZNEWS

Two young writers – one from Butuan City and the other from Marinduque – emerged as the grand prize winners in the 2021 Maningning Miclat Poetry Awards.

This year’s grand prize winners were spoken word artist and writer Alfonso Manalastas of Butuan and LIRA (Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika at Anyo) member Genesis Roy Historillo of Marinduque.

The zoom awarding streamed live on the Facebook Maningning Miclat Artist page last September 12 was held back-to-back with the posthumous launching of the memorial edition of the last books completed by writer, educator and poet Mario Ignacio Miclat, before he passed away.

Manalastas bagged the grand prize in the English poetry award for his collection, titled “Country Underwater,” while Historillo won for his poetry suite, “Ang Hugis ng Pandemya.”

Each of the two winners received a cash prize of P28,000 and a trophy made by the eminent sculptor Julie Lluch, plus the commemorative set of books by Dr. Miclat – poetry, Kailan Diwata at 70+ na Tula; essays, Hundred Flowers, Hundred Philosophies; and novel, 21 West 4th Street, Maningning Miclat’s Voice from the Underworld: A Book of Verses, Alma Cruz Miclat’s Soul Searchers and Dreamers, Volumes I & II, and Maharadya Miclat-Janssen’s  #Rajisms, and Fairground: A Literary Feast, edited by Gémino H. Abad and Alma Cruz Miclat.

Other winners of the prestigious prize for poets 28 years old and younger are Eunice Andrada from the “unceded Gadigal Land” in Australia (2nd prize) for her collection, “Echolalia and Other Poems,” and physician Ralph Lorenz Fonte (3rd prize) for his collection “Gods of the Plague.”

Fonte was the 2019 Maningning Miclat Award Grand Prize winner in Filipino poetry.

For the Filipino category this year, John Brixter Tino from Quezon province won 2nd prize for his collection, “Sa Loob ng Saloob,” and Rowell Ulang from Binangonan, Rizal won 3rd prize for his poetry suite, “Arkeologo.” They will all receive certificates of merit and the Miclat books.

The judges of the Maningning Poetry Awards – Marjorie Evasco, Dinah Roma and Marne Kilates – read the citations for the Top 3 winners in English poetry, while Judges Rebecca T. Añonuevo, Ruth Elynia Mabanglo, and Michael Coroza read the citations for the Top 3 winners in Filipino poetry.

A poem by Manalastas and Historillo were read by Roma and Coroza respectively.

The event, “Sining at Salita” organized by the Maningning Miclat Art Foundation, Inc. (MMAFI) featured performance poet Vim Nadera who read National Artist Virgilio S. Almario’s introduction to Dr. Miclat’s book of poetry. Writer Elizabeth Lolarga and Likhaan Institute of Creative Writing director Joey Baquiran meanwhile discussed Dr. Miclat’s novel and essays, respectively.

Hosted by awarded playwright Glenn Sevilla Mas, the program began with an invocation by MMAFI trustee Julie Lluch and the prayer song, Amazing Grace, by actor and singer Banaue Miclat-Janssen. It was followed by opening remarks by MMAFI trustee Dr. Orestes P. Monzon.

Flutist Jay Gomez, graduate of Philippine High School for the Arts and UP College of Music, rendered “Huling Daing ni Florante” composed by Dr. Carlos Pizarro. The special event which was a tribute to the father-daughter tandem of Mario and Maningning Miclat ended with the closing remarks of MMAFI president, Alma Cruz Miclat.  (

The next Maningning Miclat Poetry Awards will be held in 2023. Alternating annually with painting, the Award aims to encourage creativity and give recognition and awards to outstanding and talented young poets and artists. 

Dr. Miclat’s books were published by the Maningning Miclat Art Foundation, Inc. with the support of the Filipinas Institute of Translation, the UP Diliman Chancellor’s Office and Likhaan Institute of Creative Writing.

To order the limited memorial edition of only 300 sets of hardbound Mario I. Miclat’s books, email or call/text 09995042898.

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