Juan S.P. Hidalgo, Jr., award-winning Ilokano fictionist, essayist, poet, translator and editor died from old age complications on October 23 at their family residence in Tomana, Rosales, Pangasinan. He was 84.
Hidalgo, who in 1961 joined the weekly Ilokano language magazine Bannawag, circulated at home and in Ilokano communities overseas, as Literary Editor, retired after 37 years as Managing Editor in 1998.
Funeral arrangements have not been disclosed.
Credited by many writers as responsible for founding GUMIL Filipinas in 1968, the association of Ilokano writers here and abroad, Hidalgo left behind his wife Namnama (nee Prado), and their three daughters Ma. Bituen, Patricia Amor and Marie Sol.
He served as GUMIL’s Secretary General from 1976 to 1982 and as either Director or Adviser in succeeding years.
Hidalgo is also credited for having guided, encouraged and trained young and old Ilokano writers to produce quality Ilokano literary works.
He was a regular lecturer or panelist of the GUMIL annual literary seminars, including the Pasnaan, the literary workshop for young Ilokano writers.
His awards included the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas from the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL), the Gawad CCP Pambansang Alagad ng Sining sa Panitikan, and Pedro Bucaneg Awards for Ilokano Literature from GUMIL Filipinas.
Considered by his peers as a “prodigy in Ilokano literature,” Hidalgo published in 1969 the now classic Ilokano anthology, “Bituen ti Rosales ken Dadduma Pay a Sarita” (“Star of Rosales and Other Stories”), a collection of 20 selected short stories.
As editor and translator, he published anthologies of selected Ilokano short stories and translated a number of novels and short stories written in German or Japanese into Ilokano.
His work also appeared in various anthologies of fiction and poetry written in Ilokano and translated in Filipino, English, Bahasa-Indonesia and Niponggo.