/ 11 August 2023

A PROFESSOR emerita from the University of Santo Tomas was the recipient of the prestigious South East Asian Write Award.

Dr. Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo joined fellow Philippine literary titans such as National Artists for Literature Nick Joaquin, the late UST College of Arts and Letters Dean Ophelia Alcantara Dimalanta, Rebecca T. Añonuevo-Cunada and Michael Coroza who also received the award.

Pantoja-Hidalgo is the director of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies and professor at the Graduate School.

“While there were no formal creative writing courses then, it helped that I had wonderful Literature teachers (like Erlinda Francia Rustia, Ophelia Alcantara, and in graduate school, Carolina Garcia),” UST quoted the UST professor as saying.

“They simply assumed that we, their students, loved reading, and encouraged us to delve deeper into books. As we all know, for writers, this love for and familiarity with, good books, is essential,” she explained.

“It also helped that most of the students around me were, or dreamt of being, writers. Some were already working for the national papers and magazines. In that sense, Philets was a true writing school. And I feel owe it a great deal,” Pantoja-Hidalgo added.

Pantoja-Hidalgo has published more than 40 books, including novels, short stories, and creative nonfiction collections.

She has received three Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, including the Grand Prize for her novel “Recuerdo.”

The SEA Write Award is presented annually to poets and writers in Southeast Asia. The awards are given to a writer from a country that is part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations though not all countries in ASEAN have been represented every year.