Niles Jordan Breis of Tabaco City was named Parasurat kan Taon (Writer of the Year) at the awards rites of the 2012 Premio Tomas Arejola sa Literaturang Bikolnon. Dubbed as Pagrokyaw sa Pinakamaray-rahay na Panurat kan Taon (A Toast for the Best Literary Works of the Year), the much-awaited gathering of Bicolano writers was held at the historic Holy Rosary Minor Seminary in Naga City Sept 29, this year.
Before advancing as over-all winner of the premiere prize for Bikol writing, Breis was awarded the Premio Arejola medallion for his essay, Binareta kan Anghel: Minahubag an Ngabil. Two of his other shortlisted entries, Nasa Bitis kun Minsan an Kaogmahan and An Pigkukurahaw kan Saparupor na Kurakpaw were named second prize winner in the poetry and fiction categories. Breis won a total cash prize of P25, 000 and the Sumaro Bikolnon Parasurat kan Taon trophy.
Also a top honoree at this year’s Premio Arejola is Breis’ fellow Albayano Richard Madrilejos, whose works An Hikot ni ‘Pay Ben and Nata Maaskad an Dagat were respectively adjudged winners in the 1-act play for children and 1-act play categories. Madrilejos was awarded two gold medallions and a cash prize of P14, 000.
Other first prize winners include Kan Magkulog an Buot ni Balete by Eden Elizan-Velarde of Naga City, winner of the children’s story category; Cinarding by Jay Salvador III P. Salvosa of Naga City, winner of the fiction category; and Pagpangaran by Eduardo E. Uy of Gubat, Sorsogon, winner of the hotly-contested poetry category which received a total of 26 poetry collections.
Also honored in the awards rites were 2nd and 3rd prize winners in the essay category, namely: Alagad Mayong Tito an Nabubuhay sa San Vicente by John Roemart dL. Atienza of Milaor, Camarines Sur, and Pusuanon by Menandro Abanes of Milaor, Camarines Sur and Nijmegen, The Netherlands;
3rd prize co-winners in the fiction category Hanapon Mo Ako sa Musika by Eden Elizan-Velarde of Naga City and Balangaw by Jeffrey P. Regullano of Pili, Camarines Sur; and
Mga Rawitdawit Atang sa Itom by Jeffrey P. Regullano of Pili, Camarines Sur, the 3rd prize winner in the poetry category.
The Premio Bibiano Sabino sa Libro Bikol, the region’s only book prize, was awarded to Doros asin mga Anghel, a Bikol translation of John Donne’s sonnets, elegies and poetry by Victor Dennis T. Nierva and Minatubod Ako sa Diklom, Kristain Sendon Cordero’s Bikol translation of Rainer Maria Rilke’s selected poems. Both books were published by the Ateneo de Naga University Press this year.
Veteran essayist Jose Fernado Obias was presented the Masirang na Bituon kan Literaturang Bikolnon (Shining Beacon of Bikol Literature) Award, the Premio Arejola’s highest distinction. Obias was honored for his seminal works on the Bikol language, arts, culture and history.
The equivalent of a lifetime achievement, the award has been presented to Maria Lilia F. Realubit, Abdon Balde, Gode Calleja, Luis Cabalquinto, Liberato Aureus, Leonor Dy-Liaco and posthumously to James O’Brein, S.J. and Luis Dato.
Now on its 7th year, the Premio Tomas Arejola is widely regarded as Bicol’s premiere literary prize. It is, along with the Juliana Arejola-Fajardo sa Pagsurat Bikol and the Bukambibig Literary Performance Series, sponsored this year by the Naga City Government and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.