13 Year Old Twins Are Among the Winners of the Longest-Running Literary Competition in the Philippines

Winners of the 71st Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature are honored in the traditional awarding ceremony held on November 27 at the Philippine International Convention Center

Photo / Palanca Awards

Glorious Zavannah Exylin C. Alesna and Glorious Zahara Exylin C. Alesna are the youngest winners in this year’s Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. The Palanca Awards is considered as the longest-running literary competition in the Philippines and the gold standard in writing excellence.

The Alesnas, who are 13 years old, join legendary authors who have won the prize in the past, such as Lamberto Antonio, F.H. Batacan, Lualhati Bautista, Gregorio Brillantes, F. Sionil Jose, Gilda Cordero-Fernando, and National Artists Virgilio Almario, Cirilo Bautista, Francisco Arcellana, Edith Tiempo, Bienvenido Lumbera, Nick Joaquin, Amado Hernandez, Rolando Tinio, Resil B. Mojares, and Gemino Abad.

DULANG PAMPELIKULA 1st Prize winner Jonathan P. Jurilla

Photo / Palanca Awards

Glorious Zavannah won the third prize for her work Sa Panahon ng Bagabag at Balisa: Paghagilap sa Pira-pirasong Retaso ng Hinahon at Pa(g)hinga in the Kabataan Sanaysay category. Glorious Zahara, meanwhile, was awarded the second prize for The Bully Is You in the Kabataan Essay class. Both are in the Kabataan division.

This is not the first time the Alesnas won. Both were also recognized at last year’s Palanca Awards in the essay categories in Filipino and English.

The twins are among the 54 writers who received awards in 20 writing categories in four divisions: Kabataan, English, Filipino, and Regional Languages. Literary luminaries handpicked from their fields evaluated the 1,405 contest entries submitted. Of these winners, 30 are first-time awardees.

Guest of Honor and Gawad Dangal ng Lahi awardee Luis P. Gatmaitan M.D

Photo / Palanca Awards

This year’s guest of honor and speaker is award-winning children’s author, columnist, and radio host Luis P. Gatmaitan, M.D., who was inducted into the Palanca Awards Hall of Fame in 2005. A writer joins the Hall of Fame after winning five first prizes.

He was given the night’s Gawad Dangal ng Lahi, a special citation granted by the Palanca Awards to those who have contributed immensely to the development of Philippine literature and have aptly become role models for Filipinos.

Here are the complete winners of this year’s Palanca Awards:

Kabataan Division

2nd Prize Amancio A. Caponpon V Aranya sa Kisame
3rd Prize Glorious Zavannah Exylin C. Alesna Sa Panahon ng Bagabag at Balisa: Paghagilap sa Pira-pirasong Retaso ng Hinahon at Pa(g)hinga
1st Prize Francis Roberto San Antonio Sevillena Living on play in a world on pause
2nd Prize Glorious Zahara Exylin C. Alesna The Bully is you
3rd Prize Rheyn Khrieztine S. Dela Pena Five More Minutes, Please!

Filipino Division

1st Prize Peter Solis Nery Ang Tariktik
2nd Prize Jay Jomar F. Quintos Buwaya
3rd Prize Ella Jane G. Hermonio Boses Pusa
1st Prize Jaylord S. Losabia Si Toyo at si Suka
2nd Prize Mikka Ann V. Cabangon Si Liya at ang Dapithapon sa Ilaya
3rd Prize Iza Maria G. Reyes Babasagin, babasagin!
1st Prize Kimberly Rose L. Pillo Kung Paanong Nagmukha akong Sponge sa harap ng mga Pinggan
2nd Prize Al Joseph A. Lumen Auslander: Mga Danas sa Alemanya
3rd Prize Edward Joseph Fernandez Ako ay si Ako nga
1st Prize Mikael de Lara Co Epistolaryo ng Bagamundo at ang tugon ng Multo
2nd Prize Rogelio dela Rosa Jr. Ang Hindi Maiwasang Patlang
3rd Prize Ralph Lorenz G. Fonte, M.D. Ex Novo Mvndo
1st Prize Dexter B. Gragasin Tutula, Tutuli, Tutulo
2nd Prize Genaro R. Gojo Cruz Ako, mga tulang pambata
3rd Prize Keisiah Dawn T. Tiaoson Tugma ng Buhay kong Payak
1st Prize Eljay Castro Deldoc Ang Lipnayan ng ating mga Katawan
2nd Prize Dan Ian Paulo B. Mariposque The Divine Family
3rd Prize Dustin Edward D. Celestino Fermata
1st Prize Miguel Antonio Alfredo V. Luarca Nekropolis
2nd Prize Christian R. Vallez Pingkian
3rd Prize Joshua Lim So Atin ang Panahon
1st Prize Jonathan P. Jurilla Love Child
2nd Prize Jimmy F. Flores (co-author) and

Emmanuel Q. Palo (co-author)

3rd Prize Raymund T. Barcelon Beki Naman

Regional Division

1st Prize Neile Genica M. Sy Lenteng Pilokilay
2nd Prize John Dante Ang Magsusulat Nga Haduol na sa Kamatayon
3rd Prize CD Borden Alindasay
1st Prize Ritchie D. Pagunsan Kauhaw sa Tingadlaw
2nd Prize Alvin Q. Larida Lola Violeta
3rd Prize Serafin I. Plotria, Jr. Puno sang Aligotgot
1st Prize Rodolfo D. Agatep Jr. Diro Ti Disierto
2nd Prize Jorge Richard P. Guerrero Idiay Langit, Awan Lanit
3rd Prize Clarito De Francia Piglatan

English Division

1st Prize Exie Abola Vile Creatures
2nd Prize Ian Rosales Casocot Don’t Follow Me, I Don’t Even Know Where I’m Going
3rd Prize Katrina D. Torralba Amadito and Amanda
1st Prize NO WINNER  
2nd Prize Jonny Bernas Pornel The Legend of Ipot-ipot
3rd Prize Elvie Victonette B. Razon-Gonzalez The Race to Uswag
1st Prize Rio Renato Pulido Constantino The Year of the Periwinkle
2nd Prize Russell Stanley Geronimo Profile of a Stateless Person: Notes on a Deportation Proceeding
3rd Prize Francine M. Marquez Normalizing Survival
1st Prize Patricia Mariya Shishikura Translating Wildfires
2nd Prize Vince Raphael V. Agcaoili Carrying
3rd Prize Michael Maniquiz Lou Reed Meets Delmore Schwartz at a Bar
1st Prize John Patrick F. Solano Odd Numbers
2nd Prize Ian Rosales Casocot Bisaya for all that we gugma
3rd Prize Simone Marie Sales Paper Planes
1st Prize Randy Q. Villanueva Neneng
2nd Prize Ian Rosales Casocot The Midsummer of Manuel Arguilla
3rd Prize Rossielle Sarabia Manicad My Lover’s Presscon
1st Prize Miguel Antonio Alfredo V. Luarca Dogsblood
2nd Prize NO WINNER  
3rd Prize NO WINNER  

The award is named after businessman and philanthropist Don Carlos Palanca Sr. and is sponsored by the Carlos Palanca Foundation Inc. A Palanca medal or recognition is highly coveted in the Filipino writing community here and abroad.

Since 1951, the Palanca Awards has conferred medals and certificates to a total of 2,526 Filipino authors, 26 of which became Hall of Fame awardees. In championing literature, the Palanca Awards also serves as a treasury of our literary gems, currently holding a total of 2,617 winning works in its archives, spanning the years 1951 to 2023.

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