Writers from University of the Philippines Mindanao (UP Mindanao) won prizes in the prestigious Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in ceremonies held on September 1 in Makati City.
Alumnus and assistant professor John Bengan (Dept. of Humanities) won First Prize in the English Division-Short Story for "Disguise", a story about a city official who drives a taxi at night as a means to watch over the city. The story was premiered in a spoken-word reading by the author in the recent "Kumbira-A Panel Discussion on Mindanawon Writing" held in Notre Dame University-Cotabato City.
This is Prof. Bengan's second occasion to win First Prize in the English Division Short Story, having won for the first time in 2013 with "Armor". Prof. Bengan's award strengthens the BA English (Creative Writing) program of UP Mindanao which already includes two-time Palanca awardee Prof. Jhoanna Lynn Cruz, who has won prizes in the English-Full-Length Play and English-Essay.
Likewise, Mr. Errol Merquita, a BA Social Science alumnus, won two prizes in separate categories in the Cebuano Division.
Merquita won 2nd Prize in the Cebuano Division-Tula Para Sa Mga Bata for his "Tagulilong: Ang Mga Nawawala". In addition, Merquita also won 3rd Prize in the Cebuano-Short Story for "Aninipot" ("Firefly").
Merquita has previously won in the Palanca Awards Filipino Division. He won 1st Prize in the Filipino Division-Tula Para Sa Mga Bata in 2015 for the poem “Ang Iisang Paa ng Tsinelas” and 2nd Prize in the Filipino Division-Short Story in 2011 for "Isla Verde". (See their photo here)