Home > Celebrations > young writers win in the 2010 Palanca Awards – ateneo grade school student anton cabalza wins 2nd prize

young writers win in the 2010 Palanca Awards – ateneo grade school student anton cabalza wins 2nd prize

Twelve-year old Anton Raphael S. Cabalza wrote an entry for this year’s Palanca Awards to make his summer break more worthwhile. Little did he know that his foray into the literary awards would make him the youngest contestant to ever win a Palanca.

12-year old Anton Raphael Cabalza, 2nd prize, Kabataan Essay for “A Shot at Perfection”

His entry entitled “A Shot at Perfection” won 2nd prize in the Kabataan (Youth) Essay category participated by contestants 18 years old and below.

The Ateneo Grade 7 student, also the youngest member of Mensa Philippines in 2008 at 10 years old, said that this year’s environmental topic of the Kabataan Essay is something he feels strongly about: “The advocacy itself is something I consider supporting. As such, I felt the topic was something I could invest a lot of emotion and personal reactions in.”

It is certainly the season for young writers to win in Palanca as they also clinched coveted prizes traditionally dominated by more experienced writers. It is the first time that the competition has seen two teenagers win top prizes in the regular categories.

Gregorio Brillantes, 60th Palanca Awards Guest Speaker

A sophomore taking up BA Political Science at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, 17-year old aspiring writer Miro Frances D. Capili won this year’s 1st Prize in the Kabataan Essay category and also the top prize at the regular Essay category. In 2008, Capili also won the top prize in the Kabataan Essay category.

For her Kabataan Essay-winning entry entitled “The Nature of Nurture,” Capili “thought of the moribund nature of environmental political policies and edicts, of how people have so little incentive to work for the environment. The Nature of Nurture aims to revive one’s inbred nature to nurture and put order to their surroundings.”

On the other hand, her winning entry in the regular Essay category entitled “Vinyl” is much more personal. Explained Capili, “Vinyl was a tribute to my father’s affinity for old things, particularly vinyl records. I’d say that one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from him was a respect for the past.” The essay began as a commentary on learning how to play vinyl records and from there evolved into a correlation between love and life.”

Capili admires the works of numerous writers like Annie Proulx, Roland Barthes, Albert Golbarth, Russell Banks among many others. A passionate young writer, Capili said, “We read to be reminded of every lilt and tug of the human condition. I believe that the best kind of writing is that which makes you tremble from either its excesses or its subtle affectivity.”

Another 17 year-old, an electronics engineering freshman at the Technological University of the Philippines-Manila, Christopher S. Rosales, not only won 1st prize in the Kabataan Sanaysay (the Filipino division for Kabataan Essay) category but also the top plum in the regular “Maikling Kwentong Pambata” category participated by all ages.

Rosales said that he intended to promote backyard gardening in his Kabataan Sanaysay entry “Gulayan Klasrum” because it will help the community. “I’ve always wanted to write about how we should be selfless about helping Mother Nature,” he said

Meantime, Rosales said that in writing his short story for children entitled “Si Berting, Ang Batang Uling”, he took inspiration from a dark-skinned classmate who is always the subject of jokes because of the color of his skin. He also made use of his fascination with the moon in his story.

A big fan of Filipino writers Edgardo Reyes, Ricky Lee, Lualhati Bautista, Eugene Evasco and Michael Coroza, Rosales said, “All my writings are based on real-life experiences. In my essay, I try to capture the emotions of the readers. In my short story for children, maybe it helped that I love to read children stories. I really don’t have experience in writing. I learned through reading.”

The interest of the younger generation to which Cabalza, Capili and Rosales belong is seen as key to perpetuating the literary tradition that has been in existence in the last six decades.

Cabalza said, “For me, the Palanca holds a unique significance for the youth who are right now at a stage wherein they are figuring out their paths in life. It can act as a tool of self-discovery, something that can guide us into finding our own meaning in life.

To this, Capili seemed to agree: “Reputable award-giving bodies such as the Palanca Foundation are necessary because young writers have much to learn from seasoned ones. Some writers need only an affirmation of their potential, often by means of receiving a coveted award, to begin taking writing seriously. For the past six decades, the awards have continuously motivated writers to work tirelessly at their craft, raising the bar of what is adjudged as ‘exceptional’ writing.”

Now on its 60th year, Palanca Awards has indeed been enriching the country’s cultural heritage by recognizing the best works from thousands of entries all over the country. What started as a small yet potent collection of six stories in 1951 has now grown into a wide and deep treasury of Philippine literature.

At present, the Carlos Palanca Foundation already has, in its collection, 514 short stories, 360 collections of poetry, 202 essays, 340 one-act plays, 176 full-length plays, 60 teleplays, 51 screenplays, 142 stories for children, 34 futuristic fiction stories, 71 student essays, 34 novels, and 10 collections of poetry for children. These works are compiled and made available to all researchers and lovers of literature at the Foundation library.

The collection of literary masterpieces include the works of Philippine National Artists for literature, namely Francisco Arcellana, Virgilio Almario, N.V.M. Gonzales, Amado V. Hernandez, Nick Joaquin, F. Sionil Jose, Bienvenido Lumbera, and Edith L. Tiempo.

This year’s winners include:

Filipino Division:

Dulang Pampelikula

1st – Kristoffer G. Brugada (Patikul)

2nd – Jerry B. Gracio (Magdamag)

3rd – No Winner

Dulang Ganap ang Haba

1st – No Winner

2nd – Liza C. Magtoto (Rated PG)

3rd – Christian R. Vallez (Kapeng Barako Club: Samahan ng mga Bitter)

Dulang May Isang Yugto

1st – Nicolas B. Pichay (Isang Araw sa Karnabal)

2nd – Floy C. Quintos (Suor Clara)

3rd – Allan B. Lopez (Higit Pa Dito)

Kabataan Sanaysay

1st – Christopher S. Rosales (Gulayan Klasrum)

2nd – Marianito L. Dio Jr. (Ang Aking Pangalan, Ang Aking Kababata at ang Mithing Tilamsik para kay Third)

3rd – No Winner


1st – Carlos M. Piocos III (Guerra Cantos)

2nd — Romulo P. Baquiran Jr. (Parokya)

3rd – Mark Anthony S. Angeles (Engkantado)

Tulang Pambata

1st – No Winner

2nd – No Winner

3rd – Will P. Ortiz (May Puso Ang Saging)

Maikling Kwento

1st – No Winner

2nd – Rommel B. Rodriguez (Toxic)

3rd – Thomas David F. Chavez (Sa Kabilang Lupalop ng Mahiwagang Kaharian)

Maikling Kwentong Pambata

1st – Christopher S. Rosales (Si Berting, ang Batang Uling)

2nd – Renerio R. Concepcion (Ang Kagilagilalas na Paglalakbay nina Mumo at Am-I)

3rd – Bernadette V. Neri (Parada ng mga Alingawngaw)


1st – Maria Clarissa N. Estuar (Ang Reyna ng mga Tumbong)

2nd – Ferdinand P. Jarin (D’Pol Pisigan Band)

3rd – Mark Gil M. Caparros (Sina Bunso at ang mga Batang Preso)

English Division

Full-length Play

1st – Jay Crisostomo IV (God of the Machine)

2nd – Jorshinelle Taleon-Sonza (The Encounter)

3rd – Lito Casaje (Shooting the Boys)

One-act Play

1st – No Winner

2nd – No Winner

3rd – Peter Solis Nery (The Wide Ionian Sea)

Short Story

1st – Ma. Elena L. Paulma (Three Kisses)

2nd – Ma. Rachelle Tesoro (Waiting for Rain)

3rd – Catherine Rose Galang Torres (Café Masala)

Short Story for Children

1st – Irene Carolina A. Sarmiento (Tabon Girl)

2nd – Hiyasmin Ledi C. Mattison (Little Bear Goes Home: A Love Story)

3rd – Grace D. Chong (I am an Apple)


1st – Merlie M. Alunan (Tales of the Spiderwoman)

2nd — Rafael Antonio C. San Diego (My Name in Reverse)

3rd – Joel H. Vega (Latitudes and Other Poems)

Poetry for Children

1st – Duffie Alejandrino H. Osental (After the Storm and Other Poems)

2nd – Patricia Marie Grace S. Gomez (Poems from the Pantry and Prehistoric Times)

3rd – Ma. Celine Anastasia P. Socrates (Playgrounds)


1st – Miro Frances D. Capili (Vinyl)

2nd – Florianne Marie L. Jimenez (Postcards from Somewhere)

3rd – Corinna Esperanza A. Nuqui (Library)

Kabataan Essay

1st – Miro Frances D. Capili (The Nature of Nurture)

2nd — Anton Raphael S. Cabalza (A Shot at Perfection)

3rd – Catherine D. Tan (Green at Heart)

Regional Division

Short Story – Cebuano

1st – Richel G. Dorotan (Si Tarzan)

2nd — Jonecito R. Saguban (Tinuboang Sapatos)

3rd – Noel P. Tuazon (Patas)

Short Story – Iluko

1st – Sherma E. Benosa (Dagiti Pasugnod ni Angelo)

2nd – Ariel S. Tabag (Voice Tape)

3rd – Joel B. Manuel (Apo Bannual! Apo Bannual!)

Short Story – Hiligaynon

1st – Andy P. Perez (Bayuso)

2nd – Ferdinand L. Balino (Dumdumon Ko Ang Imo Guya)

3rd – Jesus C. Insilada, Ed. D. (Walingwaling)

17-year old Christopher Rosales, 1st prize, Kabataan Sanaysay category for “Gulayan Klasrum”


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