Winner, 2017 Palanca Awards — Hiligaynon Short Story — by Peter Solis Nery

Bangud vacacion, nag-upud ako kay Jeffrey sang nagpauli sia sa iya familia sa Dumangas. Mainabiabihun ako nga ginbatun sang iya mga ginikanan kag mga himata. Ang ila kinagot, si Jessie, lima ka tuig kag menopausal baby, madali nga nag-amag sa akon kag masami nga nagpakungkung. Si Nanay Linda, “Nak” ang tawag sa akon, pinalip-ut nga “Anak.” Kag si Tay Carding, nagpahaluk man sa akon sang iya kamut kon magbagting ang oracion.

Continue reading “ANG MILAGRO SA ERMITA”



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,, 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,

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,

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!

LIRIO, in English translation



The 1st Prize Palanca Award-winning Hiligaynon Story by Peter Solis Nery.

English translation by Prof. Celia F. Parcon.



According to Lola Pansay the midwife, all the butterflies went wild when Nanay Rosa gave birth to Lirio, the Mute. The old woman could never forget that birth, a curious event. That was the only time she had ever seen a large gathering of butterflies. In her estimation, all the butterflies in Barrio Jardin and other neighboring sitios flocked to witness Lirio’s birth.

When the midwife patted the baby’s buttocks, it did not make a sound. The old woman then slapped its butt, but still the baby did not cry. Then the butterflies hovered around the old lady who had the baby in her arms. For a while these unusual visitors stopped flying, as if they were poised in prayer. The baby in Lola Pansay’s arms smiled, and that was all.

The old woman put down the baby beside Nanay Rosa who was almost unconscious. It was a difficult delivery; the mother lost a lot of blood. But Nanay Rosa smiled when she felt her baby by her side.

Thousands of butterflies were at the baby’s christening. They frolicked and danced outside the chapel. Their wings were like nuns’ hands in prayer: open, close, open, close. The baby smiled.

When Padre Rafael asked how the baby was to be called, Tatay Manuel gave the name: Lirio, after the lily. The father said the name Lirio suited her well, for the baby was very fair-skinned. If Lola Pansay were to be believed, in the long time that she had been midwife in Barrio Jardin, Lirio was the fairest of all the babies whose umbilical cord she had cut. This was a source of great pride for Tatay Manuel whose ancestry bore dark sunburned skin.

On the day of the christening itself, the barrio chapel was flooded with white lilies because Padre Rafael was officiating a wedding after the baptism. But it was only Nanay Rosa who noticed the very white flowers; everyone else had their attention on Lirio’s very fair skin, especially because the baby looked even more enchanting in the white frock its mother put on her.

Lirio glowed when Padre Rafael made a cross of holy oil on her forehead. She smiled when water was poured over her head, and she soundlessly chuckled as she gazed at the butterflies peering through the chapel windows.

Tatay Manuel proudly cradled his child as the godparents lighted candles. Many had thought that one of the couple was sterile because they had remained childless after almost twenty years. But now in their advanced age, they were blessed with a beautiful and unique child, Lirio the Silent One.

Lirio was greatly loved by her parents, but she grew up without friends. She had wanted to join in the many children’s games like hide-and-seek and others, but the other children did not give her any attention. She was often sad because, being mute, she was always made fun of. Thus, she directed all her time to her books and her crayons.


Lirio had a rare intelligence, so that she was admitted into the first grade even if she could not speak. Tatay Manuel desired to send his child to a special school, but a mere farmer could not afford to send his beloved daughter to the city to study.

Lirio really wanted to attend school, so all Tatay Manuel could do was provide Lirio’s teachers with a sack of rice each from his harvest, in exchange for their understanding of his child’s circumstance.

In school, Lirio became a very close friend to Yasmin Buenaflor, a transferee. Like her, Yasmin was also unique: she was pinkish fair. Even the hair on her head and on her skin was white. From a distance, her eyes looked like they had no pupils: entirely white without the dark centers.

Both of them were subjected to their classmates’ teasing, but Yasmin was bold. She wrestled with those who taunted and mocked them. She was a bit of a tomboy and many feared her. Even the teachers feared Yasmin’s father, who was a captain in the army. (That was actually the reason Yasmin was always a transferee in school: she and her mother went wherever her father was assigned.)

Lirio had great admiration for Yasmin. She copied her friend’s way of dressing and even her hair, which was cut short. When Yasmin’s pencil shortened from use, Lirio would break her own pencil even if this were new, just so that both their pencils were equally short. Before going to bed at night, she would pray that she become like Yasmin.

She would often dream that she was Yasmin. She would wonder what Yasmin did when they parted ways after school. She was many times lost to herself from too much thinking of Yasmin. Sometimes, she would not heed when her name was called. She wanted to be called by her friend’s name. At times, she was convinced that Yasmin was her name.

At the end of their first grade, Captain Buenaflor was assigned to Mindanao. Out of great sadness, Lirio refused to eat for three days. Tatay Manuel and Nanay Rosa found it difficult to console her. A seven-year-old could not comprehend why friends had to part. It was sad to be alone, but it was more miserable when friends had to separate whom Grade One had made very dear to each other.


From then on, Lirio ceased attending school. She helped her mother weave patadyong. And at age nine, for her own amusement, she started tending a garden that bloomed with beautiful fragrant flowers: roses, sampaguita, rosal, gumamela, dahlia, calachuchi, bougainvilla, orchids, and lilies, and all kinds of flowers.

Butterflies and birds flocked to this garden. In the daytime, it was delightful how butterflies chased each other to the chirping of the birds. In the evening, the creaking crickets sounded like a mother’s lullaby.

Lirio was greatly pleased with her plants in bloom. Like her, the flowers did not need to speak. She was happy to relate with the flowers without using her lips and tongue. Without the need for words, she understood the flowers more than she did people. Sometimes she would think how people would better understand other people (or other things) if only they stopped talking.

For many a time the butterflies’ wings would flap like they were applauding the bits of wisdom like this that flowed from the spring of Lirio’s muteness. And the maiden would only smile.


Time came when it was not only in the garden that the butterflies hovered. Wingless butterflies started gathering in the hut in pursuit of the maiden. One of these was Noli whom Lirio also fancied. Noli was handy with electronics. When Lirio’s radio failed to work so that she had to miss listening to her favorite drama on air, a single tweak by Noli was all it took to make the radio work again.

Only Noli understood Lirio’s speechless heart. When he came to visit, he did not boast as the others did. He just remained silent and subdued. He usually offered the girl three white lilies, a symbol of his pure love for her. And Lirio in turn would bring him to her garden to show off the lilies that she planted.

Lirio really fell for Noli. Even the butterflies in the garden clapped with glee when the young woman decided to accept the love that Noli offered her.

But three months after Lirio vowed to return Noli’s love, the young man was pushed by dire need to seek his fortune abroad. He could not refuse a well-paying job that a Japanese employer offered him.

For three months, Lirio shed tears for Noli. Even the butterflies seemed embarrassed to flutter before her. Tatay Manuel and Nanay Rosa were hushed with great pity. They could only shake their heads at the sight of Lirio absently staring at the white lilies before her.


Years passed and no one can explain the events that brought Lirio to marriage with Vicente Lugay—Sgt. Vicente “Itik” Lugay, a sergeant of the PNP.

Perhaps Lirio remembered Yasmin in the brave and brusque sergeant; perhaps she got tired of waiting for Noli. There was a great many “perhaps” but no one knew the real reason Lirio consented to marry Itik Lugay.

In truth, even the butterflies weakened at her decision. In their old age, Tatay Manuel and Nanay Rosa could no longer see nor hear, and they could no longer speak even if they had wanted to refuse. But if only Lirio had taken a glance before she accepted Itik, she might have seen the big black butterfly as it alighted on the front door of the hut.

Before a year had passed after Lirio’s marriage, both her parents died. Word spread in the barrio that they died from Itik’s rough and careless ways. Itik called Tatay Manuel “Zombie” and Nanay Rosa, “Zombelina.” “The Living Dead” were often the topic of drunken talk which brought much amusement to Itik’s drinking buddies.

In the first month of their marriage, immediately Mrs. Lirio Lugay obtained three bumps. That was the start of the old couple’s decline.

Lirio became more silent than ever. Never did she allow her parents to hear the painful moans that slid from her silent lips. Even then perhaps, in their own silence, the old couple could sense what their beloved child was going through. And so to cause Lirio to cry unashamedly (or without any care or concern), they held their breaths until they convulsed and the pupils of their eyes popped out.

Itik continued to get drunk and to beat his wife. And then Noli came home from Japan. Itik raged with jealousy. So Lirio collected much from the cruelty and violence of the jealous drunkard. She silently suffered all the punishment because she could not explain Noli’s constant visit and the three white lilies that he always had for her.

In jealous stupor, Itik would force himself on Lirio even in the noontime heat. Then the cruel worm would fall asleep on top of the tattered girl. And then, even with all the body aches and pains, Lirio would run to her garden. There she would pray that she be turned into a flower.

She envied her lilies. They bloomed so gloriously as if the world had not one reason for tears to fall. At dawn, the lilies would have wet faces but, unlike her, not from tears. It is the dew’s sweet kiss that dampened these chaste and precious flowers. She wanted to be like the lilies.


One night, Itik Lugay had another attack of brutal lust. He came home drunk and intended to again force himself on Lirio. His wife, who had just cried herself to sleep, was suddenly awakened. Everything turned black in her sight, and when her eyes finally cleared, she saw butterflies crowding outside the window. She wondered about this, since butterflies hardly ever came out at night.

Wonder, surprise, fright, and disgust for Itik muddled Lirio’s guts. Lirio ran out to the garden with Itik chasing her. The drunkard saw his pistol on the dresser. He picked it up and followed his wife.

He came upon Lirio on her knees before her white lilies, as if in prayer. Suddenly, horns and a tail came out of Itik. He pointed the gun at his wife.

In her fright, Lirio’s tears melded with nasal fluid as they flowed down her face. Yet she went on praying. Then her tongue moved. She started to babble. Suddenly, out of her mouth flew butterflies. Countless butterflies. Like a gathering of all the butterflies in the entire Barrio Jardin and the neighboring sitios.

Itik was astounded at what he saw. He looked like he had sobered up.

Then, like thunder came these words from the lips of Lirio the Silent One:

“Lord, I want to be a lily!”

And then there was lightning and thunder.

The butterflies then hastily scurried around Itik Lugay who was still holding the gun. They slapped his head with their wings, and they blinded him with the powder from under their wings.

Terrified, but with the gun still in his hand, Itik started to scream. “A fiend you are! You are the devil!”

And a gunshot pierced the quiet of the night.

Lirio …

… had turned into a lily.

Nery receives Editor’s Choice award

Panay News (news story)
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

MAKATI City — For his Creative Writing textbook for Senior High School, multi-awarded Ilonggo writer and Panay News columnist Peter Solis Nery was given this year’s Editors’ Choice Award by the University Press of First Asia (UPFA) on Friday, May 5.

Chosen for the award by the UPFA Production team for its “nearly flawless and perfect material in terms of grammar, language development, and paragraph transition and organization,” Nery’s work, which received perfect points from its copy editor according to UPFA Senior Managing Editor Maria Theresa Fernandez, is a literary writing module described as “hip, fun, and distinctly original in its tone, wisdom, and street-smart practicality.”

It is Nery’s first textbook project after a publishing career that started in 1993. In addition to his English-language column at Panay News on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Nery also maintains a Hiligaynon column for Panay Balita on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays-Sundays.

Intended for general use this incoming school year 2017-2018, the Creative Writing module for Diwa Senior High School Series also served as Nery’s qualifying work to be inducted into the Authors Guild at UPFA, the first and only guild for academic writers, authors, consultants, and reviewers in the Philippines.

The US-based Ilonggo writer, who was also honored as the first Filipino author invited to the Sharjah International Book Fair in the UAE in 2015, and recipient of the Palanca Hall of Fame award in 2012, was unable to come home and personally collect his award. Instead, he sent a videotaped acceptance speech which was played during the awards ceremony held at the Old Swiss Inn in Makati./PN