in the island of Banton in Romblon in 1908, Cornelio Faigao y Festin
was a poet, a writer, an educator and a newspaperman. Along with Romblon-born,
National Artist awardee and writer N.V.M. Gonzales and contemporary
writer, Jose Dalisay, Faigao is the province's proud contribution
to Philippine literature.
however lived out most of his professional and writing career in Cebu
City where he came to live at the age of 21. Fresh with an education
degree from the University of the Philippines, he started his teaching
career at the Cebu Provincial High School, Southern Insititute and
finally, the University of San Carlos where he eventually became the
chairman of the English Department.
Aside from teaching,
Faigao was also an active journalist, editor and columnist of several
newspapers in the city and was one-time a president of the Cebu Press
Club. His poems and essays appeared in big national publications like
Free Press, Graphic, Tribune, etc.
He died young
in 1959 at the age of 51.
In 1984, the University
of San Carlos' Cebuano Studies Center, through its chairman and leading
Filipino scholar in Cebu literature, Dr. Resil Mojares founded the
Cornelio Faigao Memorial Writers Workshop. It has been held annually
since then and has been an influential instrument in the development
of young and budding writers in the city and the region.
Last April 27-29, 2002, it was time for Cornelio to come home to his
birth province. Together with Dr. Mojares, a group of panelists, writing
fellows and observers came to hold a memorable 19th C. Faigao writers
workshop in Talipasak, Romblon, Romblon. The workshop was made possible
by the Romblon Discussion List group (RDL-CLEAR), a non-advocacy,
non-political grouping of globally-based Romblomanons. Together with
English, Cebuano and Filipino, the workshop for the first time included
a Romblomanon language, Asi. It has been noted that succeeding workshops
that could possibly be held in the province, specifically in his hometown
in Banton would definitely include the other languages in the province,
Onhan and Romblomanon.
It is hoped that
Cornelio Faigao would be proud to see the writers workshop in his
name finally find its way home and be proud of it; just as he had
made Romblom proud of his achievements and contributions to Philippine
The panelists included Resil Mojares, Erlinda Alburo, Mila Aguilar,
Rosario Lucero and Jose "Butch" Dalisay. The fellows were
Cherrie Lee de Guzamn, Heidi Palapar, Michael Obenieta, Arlaine Jayo-Obenieta,
Henryl Moreño and Jeneen Garcia (Cebu), Vivian Limpin, Erwin
Lareza, Michelle Correa, Gabriela Dans Lee, Roselle (Manila) and Abner
Faminiano (Romblon). Rodil Fadri and myself (Aline Parrone) came as