October 27, 2011

MANUEL ARGUILLA


Manuel Arguilla

Manuel E. Arguilla was born on June 17, 1911 in Nagrebcan, Bauang, La Union to parents Crisanto Arguilla, a farmer, and Margarita Estabillo, a potter.Their mediocre living was not a hindrance for Manuel to attain his dreams especially in literature.

He finished his elementary school in his hometown and his high school in San Fernando where he became the editor-in-chief of his school's newsletter, the La Union Tab. He was also an athlete where he became champion in swimming events he joined.He entered the University of the Philippines where he joined the UP Writers Club and later became the president and the editor of the UP Literary Apprentce. He finished Education in 1933. He married Lydia Villanueva, a fellow artist and writer and lived in Ermita, Manila.Upon graduation, he practive his profession in University of Manila. He later joined the Bureau of Public welfare where he was the editor of Welfare Advocate, the bureau's publication.As a writer, his famous works were compiled in a book entitled How my Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife (And Other Stories) published by Philippine Book Guild in 1940. These stories were written when he was 22-29 years old. This collection of stories won first prize in short story category during the first Commonwealth Literary Contest in 1940.

When the Japanese invaded the country in 1941, Arguilla join the freedom forces of the country and led a division of the Marking's Guerillas. He was captured by the Japanese in 1944 and was imprisoned in Fort Santiago together with his family. His family was later freed but Manuel was sentenced to death. He was executed on October 1944 at age of 33.

Manuel Estabillo Arguilla (1911 – 1944) was an Ilokano writer in English, patriot, and martyr.
He is known for his widely anthologized short story "How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife," the main story in the collection "How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife and Other Short Stories" which won first prize in the Commonwealth Literary Contest in 1940.
Most of Arguilla's stories depict scenes in Barrio Nagrebcan, Bauang, La Union where he was born. His bond with his birthplace, forged by his dealings with the peasant folk of Ilocos, remained strong even after he moved to Manila where he studied at the University of the Philippines where he finished BS Education in 1933 and where he became a member and later the president of the U.P. Writer's Club and editor of the university's Literary Apprentice.

What i love most about Manuel Aeguillas stories depicts scenes on some barrio in Ilocos Sur, because I once leave in Ilocos sur when I was still studying my highschool years. Somewhere in Nangalisan Ilocos Sur, I stayed there for four years.

 He married Lydia Villanueva, another talented writer in English, and they lived in Ermita, Manila. Here, F. Sionil José, another seminal Filipino writer in English, recalls often seeing him in the National Library, which was then in the basement of what is now the National Museum. "you couldn't miss him", Jose describes Arguilla, "because he had this black patch on his cheek, a birthmark or an overgrown mole. He was writing then those famous short stories and essays which I admired." 

Manuel Arguilla, an Ilocano pride. His shown love to the country as a teacher, a writer, and a freedom fighter was a virtue of patriot who offered his talents and life for the country.

He became a creative writing teacher at the University of Manila and later worked at the Bureau of Public Welfare as managing editor of the bureau's publication Welfare Advocate until 1943. He was later appointed to the Board of Censors. He secretly organized a guerrilla intelligence unit against the Japanese.

In October 1944, he was captured, tortured and executed by the Japanese army at Fort Santiago.

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