Tony and Nick Awards, Palihang Rogelio Sikat

Congratulations to the Philippines Graphic family for their successful staging of the first Asia-Pacific Nick Joaquin Literary Awards last May 15 at Winford Manila Resort and Casino.

The NJLA was for many years a local competition until now. This maiden international literary contest recognizes a Poet of the Year and three short fiction awardees from among the writers published in ‘Tony & Nick,’ the Business Mirror’s literary and arts and culture section which is a collaboration with Graphic.

‘Tony & Nick’ carries poetry and short fiction written by authors located in Asean member states, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand.

Four women writers flew to Manila to receive their trophies and prizes in the presence of National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose, members of the local writing community, and representatives of the Asia-Pacific NJLA sponsors.

Graphic and Business Mirror publisher T. Anthony C. Cabangon said in his welcome remarks that “Tony & Nick is a testament to that friendship between my father Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua and National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, a friendship that opened doors for local authors.”

Poet of the Year is Jade-Ceres Violet Dolor Muñoz for her poem ‘For Abby and those who struggle daily.’ She is a Filipina based in New Zealand, and is the daughter of Ramon Faustino ‘Beting’ Laygo Dolor II, who won second prize in the regular 2015 NJLA.

First Prize winner is Mumbai native Prachi Agarwal-Topiwala for the short story ‘Mountains of Fear, Valleys of Hope’. She lives in Singapore where she is completing a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing at the Lasalle College.

Second Prize went to Anneliz A. Erese for her short story ‘Departures’. Erese, a Filipina residing in Australia, recently completed her master’s degree in Writing and Literature.

Third Prize winner is Vicky Chong for her short story ‘The Uber Driver’. Chong is completing her MA in Creative Writing at the Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore..

The winning works were selected by the panel of judges who read them double-blind—the manuscripts were printed out and sent to them without bylines and in uniform typefaces and layout formats.

The panel of judges was chaired by poet, novelist, Gawad Dangal ng Lahi awardee, and Philippine Star columnist Alfred ‘Krip’ Yuson. Also on the panel were prolific author and director of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo; and poet, National Arts Council Singapore’s 2005 Young Artist of the Year, and Iowa International Writing Program fellow Alvin Pang.

In her remarks at the event that evening, Graphic Literary Editor Alma Anonas-Carpio explained the rationale for the awards: “We are building ties of culture and literature across the region and opening up a new platform and pathway for the poetry and stories that we in the Philippines, and in the Asia-Pacific, have to offer to the world. We are also bringing the writers of the Asia-Pacific to our readers in the Philippines.”

The prizes were $1,000 each for the first prize winner and the Poet of the Year, $600 for the second prize winner, and $400 for the third prize winner.


Fifteen fellows were chosen from among 128 applicants from all over the country to join the 12th Palihang Rogelio Sicat (Rogelio Sicat Writers Workshop) at the University of the Philippines-Los Baňos this year.

They are Ryan Cezar Alcarde (Agusan del Sur), Evan John Daynos (Manila), Rochelle Ann Molina (Catanduanes), Eddie Ramos (Tarlac), and Rod Anthony Robles (Quezon City) for poetry; Napoleon Arcilla III (Catanduanes), Joycel Vincent Dabalos (Quezon City), and Elizabeth Joy Serrano-Quijano (Davao del Sur) for the short story;

Jan Henry Choa Jr. (Makati) and Myla Ogaya (Masbate) for the story for children; Gabriela Baron (Manila) for flash fiction; Ferdinand Eusebio (Laguna), and Geraldine Gentozala-Juachon (Quezon City) for the play; and Angela Mae Pamaos (Las Piňas), and Jazon Federigan Pozon (Laguna) for the essay.

Playwright Bonifacio Ilagan of Los Baňos is the guest of honor of PRS 12, which will be held from May 29 to June 2. PRS lectures and sessions are open to the public.

The UP Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature (DFPP) leads the PRS in cooperation with the Office of the President-UP, UP Sentro ng Wikang Filipino, and the Office of the Chancellor-UPLB which is headed by Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez Jr.

This year’s panelists include Edward Perez, Layeta Pinzon Bucoy, Rica Saturay Palis, Laurence Marvin Castillo, Christian Tablazon, Perry Mangilaya (Liwayway magazine editor), Choi Pangilinan, and DFPP faculty members Vladimeir Gonzales (chairman), Luna Sicat Cleto, Joey Baquiran, Will Ortiz, Vim Nadera, Rommel Rodriguez, and PRS co-founders Jimmuel Naval and Reuel Molina Aguila. 

Literature is the soul and conscience of the nation. If it isn’t, it should be. 

FB and Twitter: @DrJennyO

Topics: Tony and Nick Awards , Palihang Rogelio Sikat , Asia-Pacific Nick Joaquin Literary Awards , Philippines Graphic

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