The recognition of women as prolific writers in Nueva Vizcaya and Cagayan Valley inspired Dr. Lovella Gamonia-Velasco, a professor of the Nueva Vizcaya State University Bambang campus to focus her research paper.
Her research paper, “Ubbog Ti Asin: Kuwento at Kwenta ng mga Babaeng Mannurat,” exposes and recognizes the contribution of literary women writers in the province.
For her research, she received the highest Gawad Julian Balmaseda award in 2017, including a cash prize.
The award was given by the Commission on the Filipino Language or Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) at the Bulwagang Romualdez at the KWF office in Manila.
Velasco said her book will be formally published on January this year by the KWF.
It also narrates the grief of local legend mountain princess “Yumina” due to the death of her husband “Gumined.
As the legend goes, before Yumina took her life, she asked the gods to cover their bodies with salt – or so goes the gist of the legend of the Salinas Salt Spring, one of the forgotten natural attractions in Bambang.
The spring’s salt flow, however, was destroyed during the 1990 earthquake and has since ceased to become a tourist attraction.
Velasco’s dissertation translated Iluko-written short stories of women writers in Nueva Vizcaya into Filipino language to draw more understanding and appreciation.
She said women writers in Cagayan Valley are at the fringes when literature of the region is discussed, yet they have a very rich body of works.
Her research on literary short stories of women writers which covered the ‘70s to early 2000s were culled from the National Museum.
“My dissertation aims not only to promote Nueva Vizcaya but also the women writers from this province. More importantly, it aims to make them known as women and women writers and to give them a voice in issues of women’s freedom,” Velasco said.
The Gawad Balmaseda is awarded to exceptional thesis and dissertation in the fields of science, mathematics ad social sciences which are written in Filipino.
It is awarded annually during Julian Balmaseda Day in honor of the famous poet, critic and scholar in the Filipino language. Balamaseda also served as director of the Surian ng Wikang Pambansa, now the KWF.
Because her research paper, she was also awarded by the Philippine Information Agency in Cagayan Valley as one of its chosen women models through the yearly ‘Iddu’ (Love for Women) Award.
Velasco obtained her doctorate degree in literature with high honors from the University of Santo Tomas in 2016.
As a college professor, she teaches language and literature at NVSU’s College of Arts and Sciences.