The lost golden age of Philippine literature


A golden age of Philippine literature was rescued from the void when Georgina Padilla y Zobel fulfilled her grandfather’s wish and made good on the promise she made to her parents, reports the Business World.

Que nunca muera el idioma Español en Filipinas” — that never shall the Spanish language die in the Philippines — was the behest of Enrique Zobel de Ayala, who established the Premio Zobel, “the oldest and noblest of literary awards in the Philippines” in 1920. Given to outstanding works written in Spanish, the award was Don Enrique’s attempt to ensure the survival of the language he loved.

National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin told the Philippines Free Press in 1961 that “… there is no other literary prize in the country that enjoys the aura, the distinction, the glory of the Premio Zobel. Filipino writers who write in English and have won the Commonwealth Award, the Palanca or the Stonehill do not realize the apotheosis of the awardee. To win a prize is simply news. To win the Premio Zobel is an event,” (as cited in Brillantes and Padilla, 2006). The last Premio Zobel was given in 2001.

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