Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu, Governing Board and DOST-NRCP Chair of Division of Humanities, was named as one (1) of the 11 recipients of the “2020 Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas” (Gawad Balagtas).

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The Gawad Balagtas is a lifetime Achievement Award for a Filipino writer given by the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) or Writers Union of the Philippines.

Launched in 1988, Gawad Balagtas awardees will receive a citation and a sculpted hardwood trophy by world renowned Filipino artist, Manuel Baldemor.

Dr. Yu is being honored for her works in Fiction, Essay, and Translation in Cebuano.

The awarding ceremonies that was originally scheduled on April 25 was postponed indefinitely because of the declaration of the enhanced community quarantine due to COVID-19 pandemic. The schedule and venue of the awarding will be announced later.

Dr. Yu is an advocate on the promotion and preservation of the Cebuano culture and heritage. She led the DOST-NRCP-funded research project on the compilation of extant Cebuano songs with music transcription and analysis. The results of her project has been translated into a Policy Brief on the preservation of the country’s most intangible heritage – music - for possible use by policymakers, students and those in the culture and arts sector.

“If at present we know only bits and pieces of what are expressive of our collective community as Visayans, then it matters very much that we begin the collection, documentation, music transcription/notation and possibly provision of the historical background and analysis of what makes Visayan song distinctive and expressive of the Visayan spirit” Dr. Yu said when she presented the results of her project during the NRCP Policy Forum on Valuing Music Heritage as Learning, Entertaining, and Sustainable Resources on November 20, 2019 at the University of San Carlos, Cebu City.

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Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu shares the results of her research on valuing musical heritage during the DOST-NRCP Visayas Policy Forum on Valuing Music Heritage as Learning , Entertaining, and Sustainable Resources on November 20, 2019 at the University of San Carlos, Cebu City.

Dr. Yu has authored various books. Among of these are: Beads (2002), Things to Take on a Journey (2004), Women’s Common Destiny: Maternal Representations in the Serialized Cebuano Fiction of Hilda Montaire and Austregelina Espina-Moore (2009), Paglaum, (2000), Small Wonder (2010), Institutionalizing Motherhood in Cebuano Literature (2011), Bridging Cultures: The Migrant Philippine Woman in the Works  of Jessica Hagedorn, Fatima Lim-Wilson and Sophia Romero (2011), and Kulokabildo: Dialogues with Cebuano Writers.

Currently, she is the Director of the University of San Carlos Cebuano Studies Center. She earned her doctorate degree in Comparative Literature from the University of the Philippines Diliman and her Master of Arts in English from the University of Calgary.

The other recipients of the 2020 Balagtas Award are Fray Paolo Diosdao Casurao (Play in Waray), Crisanta Nelmida Flores (Literacy Criticism in Filipino), Eric Gamalinda (Poetry and Fiction in English), Marra PL. Lanot (Poetry and Essay in English), Priscelina Legasto (Literacy Criticism in English), Glenn Sevilla Mas (Play in English), Jose Javier Reyes, Screenplay), and Augie Rivera (Children’s Literature in English), Aida Santos (Poetry in Filipino).

The Executive Board of UMPIL is composed of Michael Coroza as chair, Susan Lara as vice chair, John Iremi Teodoro as secretary general, Louie Jon Sanchez as treasurer, Aldrin Pentero as auditor; Romulo Baquiran, Jr., Karina Bolasco, Celina Cristobal, Marne Kilates, Joey Tabula, and John Enrico Torralbo as members; and John Bengan, Dulce Maria Deriada, Grace Chong, Joaquin Sy, and Ariel Tabag as sectoral representatives. (Jenny Leigh Daquioag)