AWARD-WINNING LITERARY PIECES
During the inauguration on January 16th, 1999 of the new building of Ateneo Professional Schools at the Rockwell Center, Makati City, Oscar M. Lopez, Board Chairman of Benpres Holdings Corporation, introduced his Father as an Ateneo alumnus, who was educated in Intramuros as an intern graduating with an AB degree, cum laude, in 1919. Steeped in classical studies, he later would often recite to his children for their delectation and awe, verses in Latin and in Greek poetry, as they were growing up. That was some clue. Attention was more focused on Oscar’s Father when on January 24th, the Cultural Center of the Philippines followed with an announcement on its Centennial Awardees for the Arts, one of whom is Don Eugenio H. Lopez Sr. (AB1919).
These two events helped us put our project direction in wider (that is, earlier) and proper perspective. Our set strategy in revising the Ateneo Award-winning Literary Pieces (1924-1984) was to retrace the years following 1984 and to include all winning pieces from various academic units as published in Ateneo periodicals. Instead of doing only this, we had to decide that the proper thing for us to do was also to dig deeper, earlier than 1924.
Our efforts were soon rewarded with discoveries. Firstly in 1915, Cesar Bengzon as Editor-in-Chief presented the first Ateneo de Manila Annual, whose objective was “to encourage literary endeavor among the students and to foster the spirit of fraternity which must ever bind the boys of the present to those of the past.” From the start the Alumni had always been there to participate in the awarding of prizes. A noteworthy development was the combining of the literary with the scientific contest. In 1916, for instance, the result of the contest was summarized in this manner:
Secondly, in the 1918 Scientific and Literary Contest, Eugenio Lopez was awarded double prizes in Spanish Drama and English Prose for his “A drama on the adoration of the magi”, and “An analysis of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar” respectively. He also won a prize in General History for “A short sketch of the United States Civil War.” There was an Accessit in Spanish verse for his poem “Al Automovil”.
Unfortunately, not all winning entries get published in Ateneo journals or periodicals. Only a few find print and these are what we have included in this project. We have, however, put the complete listing of the first three annual winning entries together with contest rules as part of special supplementary material for their possible research value and interest.
From the initial ten sources of Ateneo-published periodicals, there are now fourteen. “An Anthology of Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, 1950-1970” has been included among our sources as this has some Ateneo college students, alumnae and alumni among its awardees. And this is one way of knowing who of the student awardees pursued a career in writing. A unique case here is Julian E. Dacanay Jr., a Sophomore student, whose short story “Mud under the sea”, won second prize. This was published in Heights before this same piece won third prize in the Palanca Awards.
In writing her Historical study of Heights writers and of early literary publications of the Ateneo, Heights Editor An Mercado described this work as an Ateneo Literary Hall of Fame. But she was keen to observe the following: … “the contests were not held regularly. There were years when there were no award winners not because there were no good writers but simply because there were no contests.” Still because this project is a listing of award-winning literary pieces, this may possibly be considered as a guide to the best in Philippine literature as contributed by Ateneo students from Intramuros, Padre Faura and Loyola Heights.
Originally, the Ateneo Award-winning Literary Pieces, 1924-1984 — now, the Ateneo de Manila University Award-winning Literary Pieces, 1915-1998. An Mercado’s calling our work an Ateneo Literary Hall of Fame not only posits the Ateneo Sports Hall of Fame but also finds a clear echo in the CCP’s announcement of Centennial Awardees for the Arts.
Among CCP’s awardees whose names notably appear in this project are the following: Salvador Bernal, Gregorio Brillantes, Roberto Chabet (whose name appeared in the listing as Roberto Rodriguez), Paul Dumol, Gilda Cordero Fernando, Anton Juan, Emmanuel Lacaba, Onofre Pagsanghan, Tony Perez, Alfredo N. Salanga, and Nicanor Tiongson.
Started since 1979, the Ateneo Sports Hall of Fame will hold its 8th awarding in the year 2000, and its 11th will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the University in 2009.
Will there ever be an Ateneo Literary Hall of Fame?
That the Atenean may know his heritage, that he may cherish it,
As did Oscar M. Lopez, Board Chairman of Benpres Holdings Corporation.