Lualhati Bautista

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Lualhati Bautista
Born Lualhati Torres Bautista
(1945-12-02) December 2, 1945 (age 68)
Tondo, Manila, Philippines
Occupation Novelist, film and television screenwriter

Lualhati Torres Bautista (born December 2, 1945) is one of the foremost Filipino female novelists in the history of contemporary Philippine Literature. Her novels include Dekada '70, Bata, Bata, Pa'no Ka Ginawa?, and ‘GAPÔ.

Biography[edit]

Bautista was born in Tondo, Manila, Philippines on December 2, 1945 to Esteban Bautista and Gloria Torres. She graduated from Emilio Jacinto Elementary School in 1958, and from Torres High School in 1962. She was a journalism student at the Lyceum of the Philippines, but dropped out even before she finished her freshman year.

Despite a lack of formal training, Bautista as the writer became known for her honest realism, courageous exploration of Philippine women's issues, and her compelling female protagonists, who confront difficult situations at home and in the workplace with uncommon grit and strength.

Works as novelist[edit]

Lualhati garnered several Palanca Awards (1980, 1983 and 1984) for her novels ‘GAPÔ, Dekada '70 and Bata, Bata… Pa’no Ka Ginawa? exposing injustices and chronicling women activism during the Marcos era.

‘GAPÔ, published in 1980, is the story of a man coming to grips with life as an Amerasian. It is a multi-layered scrutiny of the politics behind US bases in the Philippines, seen from ordinary citizens living in Olongapo City point of view.

Dekada '70 is the story of a family caught in the middle of the tumultuous decade of the 1970s. It details how a middle class family struggled and faced the changes that empowered Filipinos to rise against the Marcos government. These series of events happened after the bombing of Plaza Miranda, the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, the proclamation of martial law and the random arrests of political prisoners. The oppressive nature of the Marcos regime, which made the people become more radical, and the shaping of the decade were all witnessed by the female protagonist, Amanda Bartolome, a mother of five boys.

Bata, Bata… Pa'no Ka Ginawa?, literally, "Child, Child… How Were You Made?", narrates the life of Lea, a working mother and a social activist, who has two children. The novel begun with an introductory chapter about the graduation day from kindergarten of Maya, Lea’s daughter. A program and a celebration were held. In the beginning, everything in Lea’s life were going smoothly – her life in connection with her children, with friends of the opposite gender, and with her volunteer work for a human rights organization. But Lea’s children were both growing-up – and Lea could see their gradual transformation. There were the changes in their ways and personalities: Maya’s curiosity was becoming more obvious every day, while Ojie was crossing the boundaries from boyhood to teenage to adulthood. In the end, all three, and especially Lea, have to confront Philippine society’s view of single motherhood; and the novel itself brazens out to the questions of how it is to be a mother, and how a mother executes this role through modern-day concepts of parenthood.

Short stories[edit]

Two of Bautista's short stories won the Palanca Awards, namely "Tatlong Kuwento ng Buhay ni Juan Candelabra" (Three Stories in the Life of Juan Candelabra), first prize, 1982; and "Buwan, Buwan, Hulugan mo Ako ng Sundang" (Moon, Moon, Drop Me a Sword), third prize, 1983.

As screenwriter[edit]

Lualhati Bautista's venture as screenwriter produced several critically acclaimed works. Her first screenplay was Sakada (Seasonal Sugarcane Workers), 1976, which exposed the plight of Filipino peasants. Her second film was Kung Mahawi Man ang Ulap in 1984, which was nominated for awards in the Film Academy of the Philippines. One of her best screenplays, also written during the same year was Bulaklak ng City Jail based on her novel about imprisoned women, has won almost all awards for that year from various awards guilds including Star Awards and Metro Manila Film Festival.

Other honors[edit]

She became a national fellow for fiction of the University of the Philippines Creative Writing Center in 1986. Bautista also served as vice-president of the Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines and chair of the Kapisanan ng mga Manunulat ng Nobelang Popular.

She was the only Filipino included in a book on foremost International Women Writers published in Japan in 1991.

Bautista was honored by the Ateneo Library of Women's Writings on March 10, 2004 during the 8th Annual Lecture on Vernacular Literature by Women. In 2005, the Feminist Centennial Film Festival presented her with a recognition award for her outstanding achievement in screenplay writing. In 2006, she was recipient of the Diwata Award for best writer by the 16th International Women's Film Festival of the UP Film Center.[1][2]

Translations of her novels[edit]

Excerpts from Lualhati Bautista's novels have been anthologized in Tulikärpänen a book of short stories written by Filipino women published in Finland by The Finnish-Philippine Society (FPS), a non-governmental organization founded in 1988. Tulikärpänen was edited and translated by Riitta Vartti, et al. In Firefly: Writings by Various Authors, the English version of the Finnish collection, the excerpt from the Filipino novel Gapô was given the title "The Night in Olongapo" while the excerpt from Bata, Bata, Pa'no Ka Ginawa? was titled "Children's Party".[3][4][5][6]

A full translation of Bautista's best works could better represent the characteristics of Filipino writing in international publishing. Some speculate, however, that no such translations have been published because her use of simple yet incisive language to describe complex social and spiritual conditions in the Philippines is often dismissed in Philippine literary circles.[3]

Works[edit]

Short fiction collections[edit]

  • Buwan, Buwan, Hulugan Mo Ako ng Sundang: Dalawang Dekada ng Maiikling Kuwento
  • Desaparesidos

Screenplays[edit]

  • Sakada
  • Kung Mahawi Man ang Ulap
  • Bulaklak sa City Jail
  • Kadenang Bulaklak
  • The Maricris Sioson Story
  • Nena
  • Bata, Bata...Pa'no Ka Ginawa?: The Screenplay
  • Dekada '70
  • Ang Tondo ay May Langit din - Khonde

Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1984 Metro Manila Film Festival [7] Best Story Bulaklak sa City Jail Won
Best Screenplay Won

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]