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National Book Awards winners named
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By SUSAN A. DE GUZMAN

A LEADING book company, already known for its prolific output of Filipino titles in literature, non-fiction and other genres, won recognition anew as Publisher of the Year at last Thursday’s National Book Awards, held at the Manila International Book Fair, ongoing at the World Trade Center until Sunday, Sept. 3.

Anvil Publishing received the accolade for the seventh time, a record for a publishing house in the 25 years that the Book Awards have been handed out by the Manila Critics Circle.

Anvil publishing manager Karina Bolasco, in receiving this year’s trophy, reaffirmed her company’s commitment in publishing quality books. It first won the title in 1990 and has since received the same honor in 1991, 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2000.

The 25th National Book Awards also saw a mix of first-timers and "veterans" receiving trophies in a diverse array of categories, from history to poetry, from business and economics to medicine and health.

National Artist for Literature Virgilio "Rio Alma" Almario, a member of the Manila Critics Circle, said the assorted range in this year’s line-up proves that Philippine publishing is alive and well, and continues to grow in different directions — not just in content, but also in format and design. (See sidebar)

Alongside the usual literati, the awards rites at the Manila International Book Fair indeed brought together varied personalities that included representatives from the Central Bank, a long-time proponent of coconut oil as medicine and a priest who translated an obscure Spanish text about Kapampangan grammar — all similarly honored for their respective books.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT

A Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Esther M. Pacheco who was cited for building up the Ateneo de Manila University Press into the most prestigious Philippine scholarly publisher during her term, as well as for her work with local and international groups geared towards book development.

It was only the second time that the Manila Critics Circle handed out a Lifetime Achievement Award, following recipient Gloria Rodriguez in 1992.

Pacheco, in her speech, said that her "second lifetime" is now being devoted to Filipiniana.net, a research portal on the Philippines that gathers and disseminates arcane, unpublished and out-of-print Philippine materials in Spanish, Filipino, and English.

Graphic designer/artist Ige Ramos was honored for Best Design for his work on "A Pilgrim’s Diary", an anthology of travel essays written and published by Angela Blardony Ureta under her own Treehouse Creative Village.

Critic Isagani Cruz, who held up a copy of Ureta’s book for the audience to see, noted, "It is such a small book, but it beat out all the coffeetable books published in 2005."

Ureta, who received the award on Ramos’ behalf, said the recognition serves as an incentive for independent publishers like herself to continue producing books despite the challenges involved.

Elfren Sicangco Cruz, author of "Setting Frameworks: Family Business and Strategic Management" which was a co-winner in the Business and Economics category, drew the crowd’s applause for his enthusiastic speech — especially when he noted that he now has a Book Award to match the one previously won by his wife, frequent nominee Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz.

Cruz said he was inspired to write his book after noticing that there was a dearth in local publications discussing how businesses in the Philippine milieu — 98 percent of which are family-owned — can be developed and nurtured.

The family of novelist Juan C. Laya gave out cash prizes amounting to P20,000 for the co-winners in the Short Fiction category — "Calvary Road: Mga Kuwento sa Balighong Panahon" by Abdon Balde Jr. and "White Elephants" by Angelo Lacuesta.

A cash prize of P10,000 also came with the Alfonso T. Ongpin Award for Best Book on Art/Architecture, given to "Tanaw: Perspectives on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Painting Collection" published by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

LIST OF WINNERS

Following is the complete list of winners in the 25th National Book Awards:

Anthology — "Philippine Speculative Fiction", edited by Dean Francis Alfar;

Biography/Autobiography — "The Last Full Moon," by Gilda Cordero Fernando;

Business and Economics — "The Bangko Sentral & the Philippine Economy," edited by Vicente B. Valdepeñas Jr.; and "Setting Frameworks" by Elfren Cruz;

Children’s Literature — "The Yellow Paper Clip with Bright Purple Spots" by Nikki Dy-Liacco;

Comic Books — "Siglo: Passion" edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Vincent Simbulan;

Cookbooks and Food — "Gabay sa Pagkain ng Gulay-Dagat" by Paciente A. Cordero Jr.; and "Slow Food" edited by Erlinda Enriquez Panlilio and Felice Prudente Sta. Maria.

Education — "Edukasyong Pampubliko" by Emmanuel Francisco Calairo; and "University Traditions" edited by Ramon C. Sunico.

Essay — "The Cardinal’s Sins, The General’s Cross, The Martyr’s Testimony and Other Affirmations" by Gregorio C. Brillantes;

Film/Film Criticism — "Making Documentaries in the Philippines" by Isabel Enriquez Kenny;

Folklore — "Myth, Mimesis and Magic in the Music of the T’boli, Philippines" by Manolete Mora;

History — "Davao: Reconstructing History from Text and Memory" by Macario D. Tiu; and "To Love and to Suffer" by Luciano Santiago;

Linguistics — "Sawikaan 2004," edited by Galileo S. Zafra and Romulo P. Baquiran Jr.;

Medicine and Health — "The Truth about Coconut Oil" by Conrado S. Dayrit.

Music — "Tunugan — Four Essays on Filipino Music" by Ramon Pagayon Santos;

Personal Anthology — "Sakit ng Kalingkingan" by Rolando B. Tolentino; Poetry — "Dark Hours" by Conchitina R. Cruz; "Misterios and Other Poems" by J. Neil C. Garcia; and "Saulado" by Rebecca T. Añonuevo:

Reference — "100 Questions Filipino Kids Ask" by Liwliwa Malabed and Emylou Infante;

Short Fiction — "Calvary Road" by Abdon M. Balde Jr.; and "White Elephants" by Angelo R. Lacuesta;

Social Sciences — "Authentic Though Not Exotic" by Fernando Nakpil Zialcita;

Special Interest — "Huling Ptyk" by Pandy Aviado;

Theology and Religion — "Pagsubok sa Ilang" by Tony Perez; and "A Pilgrim’s Notes" by Fausto B. Gomez, O.P.;

Translation — "Fr. Francisco Coronel’s Arte y Reglas, Kapampangan Grammar and Rules, circa 1621" translated by Edilberto V. Santos;

Travel — "Ciudad Murada" by Jose Victor Z. Torres;

Best Design — "A Pilgrim’s Diary" by Angela Blardony Ureta, designed by Ige Ramos;

Best Publisher—Anvil Publishing.

The winners received trophies made by artist Tito Sanchez — the first time that trophies were given out again since 1999.

Winners were not named in the Best Novel category which comes with a cash prize provided by the family of novelist Juan C. Laya to encourage the writing of novels. The finalists in the two language sub-category were: (Philippine Language) "May Tibok Ang Puso ng Lupa" by Bienvenido Ramos; and (Foreign Language) "Banana Heart Summer" by Merlinda Bobis.

Finalists who were given citations in their respective categories were:

Anthology — "Philippine Speculative Fiction, Volume I" edited by Dean Francis Alfar;

Drama — "10 x 10 x 10: Sampung Tigsasampung Minutong Dula ng Sampung Mandudula" edited by Rody Vera and Alfonso I. Dacanay; and "Mga Piling Dulang Pambata" edited by Arthur P. Casanova;

Editing — "Tandoz and Other Stories" by Delfin Fresnosa, edited by Teresita E. Erestain.

For comments, please e-mail susandgpages@yahoo.com

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