The Peter Solis Nery Foundation announced this year’s two categories for the annual Peter’s Prize. They are for Painting, and Poetry, inspired by the 1998 Palanca award-winning Hiligaynon story “Lirio”.

Acclaimed Ilonggo writer and filmmaker Peter Solis Nery, author of both “Lirio” and the Peter’s Prize, made available on his website, www.petersolisnery.com, the English translation and Hiligaynon original of his first story to win a Palanca gold medal.

“Lirio’s win will be twenty years old next year, but do you know the story? I wanted to boost the story’s popularity with these contests because ‘Lirio’ is an achievement in Hiligaynon literature and we don’t celebrate it as we should,” Nery explained.

“Do you know that ‘Lirio’ is the most accomplished story of magic realism in contemporary Hiligaynon history? It is a literary treasure, and it is just starting to be used in high school textbooks. We also need to celebrate that,” Nery added.

For the 2017 Peter’s Prize contests, both the painting entry, and the poetry collection requirement must be based on the scenes and characters from “Lirio’, a story of a deaf-mute who turned into a flower.

The painting contest is for open medium, with a minimum size of 2 ft x 3 ft. Deadline is August 20. One winner of P10,000 will be chosen, but all accepted entries will be exhibited for public viewing and sale.

The poetry contest is for a collection of ten poems in Hiligaynon (at least 80% Hiligaynon, if combined with other languages), open style and form. Only email submissions to [email protected] (cc: [email protected]) will be entertained. Deadline is July 31, midnight. P5,000; P3,000; and P2,000 will be awarded to first, second, and third prizes, respectively.

Winners will be awarded on September 5 in Iloilo City. Contest details below.



For the first time since the first edition of the Peter’s Prize of The Peter Solis Nery Foundation for Hiligaynon Literature and the Arts, Inc. in 2013, we are opening a competitive category for Excellence in the Visual Arts (Painting) this year.

Instead of the usual first, second, and third prizes, I have decided to just give one P10,000 prize to the winner, in addition to the specially crafted Peter’s Prize medallion, and the honor of being the Foundation’s first ambassador for visual arts.


The competition is open to all nationalities, Filipinos and non-Filipinos. I’m not racist. Although I’m really just banking on Panayanons and people of the neighboring islands.

But, but, but… participants need not be domiciled in the Visayan islands only either. They may come from Mindanao or Luzon. Hey, they may even be from abroad!

We just need to receive their submissions on, but preferably before, the deadline of August 20.

Open to all ages. I’m not ageist. If a seven year old paints a better picture than a seventy year old, what’s stopping us from honoring the young Picasso? If a 107 year old wants to win the prize, what reason do we have to stop Methuselah?

Open to all levels. I do not distinguish between amateurs and professionals, mid-career artists, or first-timers, formally schooled, or self-taught. Let’s have a healthy competition. Can the masters beat the newbies in the Peter’s Prize painting contest?

If a painting is great, a painting is great. I don’t care who painted it. I don’t care if he has a Fine Arts degree. Or if he used his foot to paint.


In fact, I don’t care much for abstract painting at this time. That’s why, I have chosen a theme.

But the rationale for the theme is also to marry literature and visual arts.

Ah, take a second look at the name of my foundation again— …Foundation for Hiligaynon Literature and the Arts, Inc. See?

How does that marriage work?

Well, first, we look at one of the greatest, if not the greatest, magic realism story in contemporary Hiligaynon literature. Then, we ask the participating artists to paint a picture based on the story.

They can paint a scene from the story.

They can paint the whole story in one canvas. If they think they can.

They can even paint just a portrait of a character from the story. If that’s their choice.

My only requirement is that when we look at the painting, we remember, or see something of, the story.


What story? Oh, of course, it has to be my first Palanca gold medalist. The magic realist story of Lirio, the deaf-mute girl who turned into a lily.

“Lirio”, in original Hiligaynon, can be found on my website. Look for it under the tab “Hiligaynon.”

Go visit, www.petersolisnery.com

It is also available in the brilliant English translation by UP Prof. Celia F. Parcon. See recent posts on my website.

Some younger artists have complained that they cannot understand the whole gamut of my literary and sophisticated Hiligaynon. Growing up with slang, they think my Hiligaynon vocab is “too deep.” So, I’m posting the English translation for their benefit.


I chose “Lirio” for theme and source of inspiration because I think the story lends itself very easily to the visual medium of painting.


The birth of Lirio surrounded by a large swarm of butterflies.

Lirio in her dreamlike baptismal rites.

Lirio and the albino bestfriend.

Lirio in her flower garden.

Lirio and Noli kissing in the garden.

Lirio being chased by her drunk husband.

Lirio being raped by Itik Lugay.

Butterflies coming out of Lirio’s mouth.

Lirio transforming into a lily.

The possibilities are not only endless. They are amazing!


Open medium. Acrylic, oil, watercolor, pastel, charcoal, ink, mixed media, whatever. On canvas, paper, wood, cloth, whatever rocks your world.

Some say they can paint with mud. Go ahead.

Crayons? Colored pencils? I don’t really care for them, but my advisers say they are okay. They just have to “fix” these things. Like when you fix charcoal drawings and portraits. Maybe frame them?

Relief sculptures? Go ahead. But let’s limit the thickness to 4 inches, is that clear?

Open medium boosts creativity. Open size, too?

3 feet by 2 feet, minimum size. Artists can better play in a bigger canvas/paper. And I’m telling you, “Lirio” subjects and scenes or themes would feel better in a bigger frame. Trust me.

You plan to make a 6 feet by 9 feet painting? I won’t stop you. Just remember that the contest prize remains at P10, 000.

But, if you think like me, you would want to be around 3 feet by 3 feet.


Here’s the thing. You can paint a P50,000 worth of art work. If you win the prize, you get P10,000. But, your art remains yours. So, you can also sell it at P50,000. Or P150,000, if there are takers.

I only ask that you give me the first option to buy your winning work at your calling price.

And all artworks accepted or shortlisted in the contest, top winner included, must give me the right to a print. I think this is usually just a photograph of the art work.

Your art remains your property, you just have to give me the publication right to a print. Like, if we publish a catalogue or coffeetable book of the entries. Or, if I want to use it as cover photo for a book.

For merchandise like postcards, postersize prints, t-shirts, we can discuss that later. Who knows the possibilities of a Peter’s Prize-winning painting?

Rest assured, I’m not going to make money out of your work. I mean, I won’t steal from you. I just want to promote your art. I want you to get money for your work.


The contest starts June 20.

You submit on or before the August 20 deadline. Two months should be enough to paint a picture from a story, right?

We award the winner on September 5.

You submit, we receive. We screen. Like shortlisting. We decide on which will be “accepted” to the contest. We have to maintain some level of standard, you know. This is THE Peter’s Prize for Visual Arts, after all!

All accepted/shortlisted entries will be displayed in a gallery. How else will the public see your work? How will the buyers know what to buy if they can’t see it?

Yes, there will be a gallery opening, and you can bring your friends. We will make that the event to be in in September.

I’m not sure yet. But we might have the awarding at the opening of the exhibition, too.


I will announce where to submit your work soon enough. And in which gallery they will be displayed.

For now, just read the “Lirio” story, start planning your work, may be even start painting already!

You know the mechanics, you know the prize. Let’s do this!



Imagine the things that happened at the Last Supper. Imagine the characters involved.

Imagine Mary Magdalene, if she was there. Imagine why she wasn’t there.

Imagine what Jesus and his disciples were thinking. What they were saying.

What if you could put words into their mouth? What if you could put poetry in their thoughts?

Imagine if you could tell what happened then in today’s slang and street language. Or in gay lingo. Or in Textese, complete with LOL, ATM, IDK.

Or, if you could put the story in today’s setting. When each disciple has an iPhone. And Judas is bipolar.

Imagine writing ten poems about these!

Cool idea, eh? Well, that’s Jesus Christ Superstar, isn’t it?


We have already announced the 2017 Peter’s Prize for Visual Arts (Painting) based on the Palanca-winning story “Lirio”.

This year’s literature category follows up on the “derivative” idea: Story-inspired Poetry (Mga Binalaybay nga Gintugda sang Sugilanon).

To keep things simple, the poems must be based on “Lirio’, a magical realist story about a deaf-mute who turned into a lily. The story can be accessed from my website, www.petersolisnery.com.

The original Hiligaynon version is filed under the tab “Hiligaynon”, while the wonderful English translation by UP Prof. Celia F. Parcon is under “Recent Posts”.

What are you waiting for? Go read!


Three prizes will be awarded: first prize will get P5,000 in cash; second prize, P3,000; and third prize, P2,000.

All will receive certificates of award.

In addition, the first prize winner will be awarded the specially crafted Peter’s Prize medallion, and will become The Peter Solis Nery Foundation’s Ambassador for Literature for a year, or until the next ambassador is chosen.

Awarding of prizes will be on September 5 in a venue to be announced later. But most likely, a gallery where the entries for the Peter’s Prize for Painting will be exhibited (and sold!).


The contest starts June 20, with a deadline of July 31, midnight, Philippine standard time.

Only electronic submissions will be entertained. All entries must be emailed [email protected] (that’s the Peter’s Prize address); and be sure to “carbon copy” (or cc:) the Nery Foundation at [email protected].

An entry must be a collection of ten poems with individual titles. Plus, the collection must also be titled. So yeah, we are looking at eleven titles.

After the last/tenth poem, write your name, and contact information. (I keep this info to myself, and remove the same before forwarding your entries to the judges.)

Single space the poems. No special fonts needed, no special margins and paragraphing.


Titles: Bold typeface. Or, All caps. Or, Simply set it off with a space before the first line. Understand my conjunction… Or.

Or is a conjunction that is used to introduce “another” possibility. I think that’s an Oxford Dictionary meaning, emphasis mine.

Word file is preferred, but go ahead and use something else if you prefer. Or, if you don’t have Microsoft Word. I understand your poverty, believe me. I’ve been there.

However, you must await for an email acknowledgment of receipt and acceptance of your entry. If we can’t read it, we can’t accept it.


Think collection, think big picture.

Entries will be judged on the strength of the whole collection. The whole suite or sequence of ten poems. Not one very brilliant poem, and nine crappy ones.

Multiple submissions are allowed. Especially if you are truly prolific, and have many great ideas.

But I suggest you concentrate on ten outstanding poems. A collection of poems that effectively retells, and expands, the drama and lyricism of the tragic story of Lirio the Mute.


Oh, by the way, you understand that Peter’s Prize is biased to the Hiligaynon language, right?

Well, we are, because nobody supports and promotes the Hiligaynon language better like we do.

Hiligaynon is my Foundation’s preferential option. You want to write your poems in English? Submit them to another contest.

Mixed languages? Sure, but each piece should be at least 80% Hiligaynon. The remaining 20% can be French, Kinaray-a, Akeanon, Bisaya, Tagalog, Spanish, English, Russian. Just be sure it is an artistic blend of the languages. A delicious blend of ingredients like chop suey.


So, ten composos? Ten sonnets? Ten monologues? Ten song lyrics?

Ten soliloquies? Ten haiku or short poems? Ten nursery rhymes?

A mix? A little of everything? Shoot for the starts.

We wouldn’t know the good, or the best, until we have seen everything.

I’m sure you would get plenty of ideas once you finish reading, or rereading, “Lirio”. But here are some starters, if you need examples:

Ten “silent” or internal monologues of Lirio the Mute as she tells her story in her own words.

What about “songs” that the various characters could have sung, or thought, while the story unfolds?

What was Padre Rafael’s canticle as he baptized Lirio? Or, Lola Pansay the midwife’s song?

What about poems that the various characters recite to us, or to each other, to tell the story from their own perspectives?

How does Noli tell it? How does Itik Lugay? How does Nanay Rosa? Or even bestie Yasmin Buenaflor?

If the swarm of butterflies can write the life of Lirio in poems, what would they say? What would they tell? About Lirio? About their butterfly lives intersecting Lirio’s?


Or, if you are like me, you can write poems about the things that you strongly feel about as you read the story. React to the story with a poem.

You hate Itik Lugay? You think marital rape is not okay? Write a poem. But don’t make it a pedestrian slogan. Write protest poetry but keep it poetry, not a moral lesson.

Of protest poetry, write more poem, less protest/issue. I am with you already on the social issue. Now, give us a new perspective, a new image, a new metaphor, about the issue you are protesting about.


You pity Lirio? Write a poem prayer for her. Pray with her. Pray for her.

Or, let yourself be God, and console Lirio with a poem. Promise her salvation. Lead her out of the valley of tears. To green pastures using poetry of comfort and deliverance.

You hope something more for Lirio and Noli? Write their love letters, their love songs. Retell their love story. Retell it small. Retell it big. Tell what could have been.

Or, simply amaze us. What about a sequel? Or, a prequel to the whole Lirio story? Write a series of ten poems that tell the story before, or after, or before-during-after, the classic “Lirio” story that Peter Solis Nery has written for you in 1998.

Yes, next year will be the 20th anniversary of the Lirio story. That explains the Lirio focus of the Peter’s Prize this year for both literature (poetry) and visual arts (painting) categories.


How long should the poems be? As long as the poems themselves demand.

But I’d go for brevity, and compression of the story into strong images and powerful metaphors.

Shouldn’t a good line of poetry be equivalent to a paragraph of prose? A successful poem equivalent to a short story?

Personally, I like poems that are 12-14 lines long. Maybe 21 lines occasionally, if they don’t bore me at line 15. But I’m not judging the contest, so…

However, I will be the official tie breaker.

Although, I have only seen a tie once in the four years now of the Peter’s Prize contest. That’s eight literary categories!


Usually, we have a panel of five or seven judges. So, it’s pretty democratic. Whatever most people like, wins.

And the judges of the Peter’s Prize are not all academics. This year, I’m seriously thinking of asking a domestic helper working in Canada to judge. Let’s call her the 7th jury. Haha!

Back to length, we will accept lengthy composos, and long poems, for that matter. After all, they will be judged according to beauty, not length.

And after all, and I’’ll say it again, I will not be judging this, except to break the tie, which is most unlikely to happen.


You retain the copyright of your work. But I’m also asking the right to publish all accepted entries. After all, your work is occasioned by this contest.

And I want to publish. Because what’s your poetry if it is not read, shared, and preserved for future generations?

Come on. Accept the challenge. Let’s do this!