Book launchings, art exhibit in Ateneo pay tribute to outgoing President

Books featured at Harampangan 2011 and Pintakasi nin Mga Libro.

A two-day event of book launchings, art exhibit, poetry reading and a forum on children’s writings was held in Ateneo de Naga University on March 7-8, 2011, to give tribute to Fr. Joel Tabora’s contribution to the academic development in the Bikol region. Fr. Tabora is the outgoing president of Ateneo de Naga University. As head of the premier university in Bikol for twelve years, Fr. Tabora has been a key player in the continuing programs and advocacies that support various educational as well as environmental issues in the region and in the country-at-large.

Sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences through the Philosophy and Social Sciences Department in cooperation with The Pillars, the official student publication, the event called Harampangan and Pintakasi nin Mga Libro gathered artists, writers, cultural workers, teachers and students in Camarines Sur to celebrate arts and its significance in the life of the community.

The event was opened with a lecture on “Arts and Religion” by Bikol poet and lecturer Kristian Sendon Cordero, a faculty of Ateneo de Naga University. In his lecture, Cordero invited artists and writers in their vocations in “renewing the face of the Earth” by seeking the true face of the other, the face of the mortals. “Confronted with our own mortality we arrive to this imminent desire that seeks the divine spirit that will “metamorphosize” our moribund bodies. It is the first religion. The religion of dead, for in the apparent statement of death, we make anew. Hence, with mortality we come to seek one another, by coming to poetry, to music, to arts. We come to divine, to a Eucharist. Hence, it is the arts that allow us to grapple with the fearsome face of the unknown. It is also through the arts that we relive our connections with one another and with everything that is here and will be gone.” Cordero said.


The debut collection of poetry, Sa Baybayon Nin Sisiran: 100 na Berso asin Awit by Atty. Gualberto Cea Manlagñit was launched on the first day. A member of Ateneo High School Batch 55, the remarkable collection is composed of one hundred poems in Bikol written between 1950 until 2009. Various themes on love, folk humor and wisdom and the high regard for the transcendental manifestations in life characterized the work of this septuagenarian poet who traces his poetic initiation in the portals of Jesuit university. Members of the Manlagñit family, including his wife and daughters, Atty. Celestina Tam and Dr. Maria Crescenta Manlagñit and friends, including several classmates of the author, were present during the occasion. Councilor Nathan Sergio, and Ateneo poets Vic Nierva and Adrian Remodo read selections from the poet’s oeuvre.

Manlagñit, a lawyer by profession and a former mayor of the municipality of Tigaon, is also visual artist. His collection Kagurangnan was formally opened on the same day his first book was launched. On display too are the Dalipay, Dulay, the works of Nunilon Arnold Bancaso Jr., a diocesan priest and formator at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary. Fr. Bancaso is a member of the artist collective group based in Baao, Camarines Sur that offers art workshops and exhibits in the said town. He finished his theological studies at the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary in Manila. During the whole month of April, Fr. Bancaso’s works will be exhibited at Café des Artes in Baao.

On the second day, the launching of two new titles and a forum on children’s writing was held the Arrupe Convention Center. Mr. Dennis Gonzaga, a faculty of the Social Sciences Department launched his serialized comic chapbook, Darkfel and Fr. Wilmer Tria, Chair of the Philosophy Department released, An Sadit na Prinsipe, his Bikol translation of the Antoine de Saint Exupery’s classical tale, The Little Prince.


For the forum on children’s writing, Ms. Christine Bellen, who is currently studying her doctoral degree at Hongkong Baptist University and author of children’s stories and musical plays like the Batang Rizal, Ang Unang Baboy Sa Langit (written by Rene Villanueva), and Si Pilandok At Ang Bayan ng Bulawan graced the occasion together with Mr. Frank V. Peñones Jr., a graduate of MFA from the San Jose State University in California and a Palanca-winner for children’s poetry.Bellen and Peñones have written their respective stories for the Balaog Children Series, a collection of stories written in Bikol, Filipino and English, which will be published by the Ina nin Bikol Foundation and is set to be released this coming June, 2011.

Mr. Erick Lagdameo, editor of Vox Bikol and his son Kyle Lagdameo provided their reviews for the An Sadit Na Prinsipe while Mr. Jay Salvosa, a creative writing graduate and comic enthusiast read his review on Gonzaga’s Darkfel.

All new titles are now available at the Madrigal Center, Social Sciences Department in Ateneo and in local bookstores. Meanwhile, the public can view the exhibit at the Fr. James O'Brien Library in Ateneo which will run until March 12, 2011.