BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CARLOS PALANCA MEMORIAL AWARDS FOR LITERATURE

The Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature (Palanca Awards) was established in 1950 to commemorate the memory of Don Carlos Palanca, Sr. through an endeavor that would promote education and culture in the country.

The Palanca Awards aims to develop Philippine Literature in the following manner:

  1. By providing incentives for writers to craft their most outstanding literary works;
  2. By being a treasury of the Philippine’s literary gems from our gifted writers; and
  3. To assist in their eventual dissemination to our people, particularly students.

65 years ago, the Palanca Awards called on Filipino fictionists to weave their best short story in either English or Filipino. Over the years, the Palanca Awards continues to challenge writers to express their creativity in the following literary genres:

1950 –  Short Story (Maikling Kuwento)

1953 –  One-act Play (Dulang May Isang Yugto)

1963 –  Poetry (Tula)

1975 –  Full-length Play (Dulang Ganap ang Haba)

1979 –  Essay (Sanaysay)

1980 –  Novel (Nobela)

1989 –  Short Story for Children (Maikling Kuwentong Pambata)

1990 –  Teleplay (Dulang Pantelebisyon)

1994 –  Screenplay (Dulang Pampelikula)

1997 –  Short Story – Iluko

Short Story – Cebuano

Short Story – Hiligaynon

1998 –  Kabataan Essay (Kabataan Sanaysay)

2000 –  Futuristic Fiction (English)

Futuristic Fiction (Filipino)

2009 –  Poetry Written for Children (Tula Para sa mga Bata)

As of 1 September 2015, the Palanca Awards collection consists of 2,278 winning works composed of 582 short stories, 390 collections of poetry, 232 essays, 367 one-act plays, 201 full-length plays, 60 teleplays, 65 screenplays, 170 stories for children, 34 futuristic fiction stories, 99 student essays, 40 novels, and 38 collections of poetry written for children, in the English, Filipino, Regional Languages, and Kabataan Divisions.

Instituted in 1995, the Palanca Hall of Fame award is presented to a Palanca awardee who has achieved the distinction of winning five first prizes in the regular categories.

The Kabataan Award of Distinction is a separate honor awarded to persons below 18 years of age who have won four first prizes in the Kabataan division.

The Palanca Awards continues to pursue avenues that help share these literary gems with the rest of the world.  They are now accessible to students, researchers, and all lovers of literature at the CPMA Research Facility and on the official CPMA website at www.palancaawards.com.ph.

To date, four (4) anthologies of award-winning poetry, short fiction and one-act plays have been published. The first set of anthologies in English and Filipino was printed in 1976, composed of Palanca Award winning works from 1950-1970.  It was then followed by three separate anthologies of one-act plays, short stories, and poetry that won in the 1980s, with Filipino volumes issued in 1990 and English volumes in 2000. These anthologies have also been donated to university libraries.

Adding dimension to the Palanca Awards mission of encouraging excellence in literary writing, the Carlos Palanca Foundation (the “Foundation”) also supports a scholarship program for creative writing.

Citations and awards conferred on the Palanca Awards are:

  • “Tanging Parangal” in the Gawad CCP para sa Sining in 1992
  • “Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas” by the Unyon ng Manunulat sa Pilipinas in 1993
  • The UNESCO, in the celebration of its 50th year in 1995, included the Palanca Family and the Palanca Awards in the UNESCO List of Living Human Treasures of Artists, Writers and Artisans
  • “Plaque of Appreciation” from the Philippine Board on Books for Young People in 1995
  • Anvil Merit Award in 1997
  • CCP Centennial Honors for the Arts in 1999
  • “Gawad Tanglaw ng Lahi” by the Ateneo de Manila University in 2001
  • Special Citation for the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards Anthologies by the Manila Critics Circle in 2001
  • Appreciation to the Carlos Palanca Foundation for its Scholarship Grant in Creative Writing by the University of the Philippines in 2002
  • “Gawad Pagkilala” by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino in 2004
  • Anvil Merit Award in 2012

Born of a simple dream to help develop Philippine literature, the Foundation holds steadfast to its mission of providing nourishment for the national spirit.