Friday, December 1, 2023

71st Palanca Awards holds ceremony at historical PICC

The Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature celebrated its 71st year, holding the awarding ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center as part of its National Heritage Series.

This year, it added 30 new names—first-time awardees—in its prestigious list of the most prolific Filipino writers, poets, and playwrights. A total of 54 contestants received awards in 20 writing categories in four divisions: Kabataan, English, Filipino, and Regional Languages. Literary luminaries handpicked from their fields evaluated the 1,405 contest entries submitted.

Gracing the night as Guest of Honor and Speaker is award-winning children’s author, columnist, and radio host Luis P. Gatmaitan, M.D. Inducted into the Palanca Awards Hall of Fame in 2005, Dr. Gatmaitan expands his profession as a physician to write children’s storybooks addressing sensitive issues such as disabilities, childhood ailments, and children’s rights, among others. Currently, he is the Chairperson of the National Council for Children’s Television that oversees the implementation of a child-friendly landscape in Philippine Television. 

Adding to his multiple local and international accolades was the night’s Gawad Dangal ng Lahi, a special citation granted by the Palanca Awards to those who have contributed immensely to the development of Philippine literature and have aptly become role models for Filipinos.

Named after businessman and philanthropist Don Carlos Palanca Sr. and sponsored by the Carlos Palanca Foundation Inc., the Palanca Awards is the longest-running and most prestigious literary competition in the country. It upholds the tradition of extending incentives for writers to continuously cultivate Philippine literature. A Palanca medal or recognition is highly coveted in the Filipino writing community here and abroad.

Since 1951, the Palanca Awards has conferred medals and certificates to a total of 2,526 Filipino authors, 26 of which became Hall of Fame awardees for having five first prize-winning works. In championing literature, the Palanca Awards also serves as a treasury of our literary gems, currently holding a total of 2,617 winning works in its archives, spanning the years 1951 to 2023. 

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