Nick Joaquin

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Nick Joaquin
Nick Joaquin 2010 stamp of the Philippines.jpg
Joaquin on a 2010 stamp of the Philippines
Born Nicomedes Márquez Joaquín
(1917-05-04)May 4, 1917
Manila, Philippine Islands
Died April 29, 2004(2004-04-29) (aged 86)
San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines
Occupation Novelist

Nicomedes Márquez Joaquín (May 4, 1917 – April 29, 2004) was a Filipino writer, historian and journalist, best known for his short stories and novels in the English language. He also wrote using the pen name Quijano de Manila. Joaquín was conferred the rank and title of National Artist of the Philippines for Literature. He has been considered one of the most important Filipino writers in English, along with José Rizal and Claro M. Recto.


Early life and education[edit]

Joaquín was born in Paco, Manila, one of ten children of Leocadio Joaquín, a colonel under General Emilio Aguinaldo in the 1896 Revolution, and Salome Márquez, a teacher of English and Spanish. As a boy, after being read poems and stories by his mother, Joaquín read widely in his father's library and at the National Library of the Philippines. By then, his father had become a successful lawyer after the revolution. From reading, Joaquín became interested in writing.

At age 17, Joaquín had his first piece published, in the literary section of the pre-World War II Tribune, where he worked as a proofreader. It was accepted by the writer and editor Serafín Lanot. After Joaquín won a nationwide essay competition to honor La Naval de Manila, sponsored by the Dominican Order, the University of Santo Tomas awarded him an honorary Associate in Arts (A.A.) and a scholarship to St. Albert's Convent, the Dominican monastery in Hong Kong.


After returning to the Philippines, Joaquín joined the Philippines Free Press, starting as a proofreader. He soon attracted notice for his poems, stories and plays, as well as his journalism under the pen name Quijano de Manila. His journalism was both intellectual and provocative, an unknown genre in the Philippines at that time, and raised the country's level of reportage.

Nick Joaquin is interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Joaquín deeply admired José Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines, paying him tribute in such books as The Storyteller's New Medium – Rizal in Saga, The Complete Poems and Plays of Jose Rizal, and A Question of Heroes: Essays in Criticism on Ten Key Figures of Philippine History. He translated the hero's valedictory poem, in the original Spanish Mi Ultimo Adios, as "Land That I Love, Farewell!"

Joaquín represented the Philippines at the International PEN Congress in Tokyo in 1957, and was appointed as a member of the Motion Pictures commission under presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Ferdinand E. Marcos.

After being honored as National Artist, Joaquin used his position to work for intellectual freedom in society. He secured the release of imprisoned writer José F. Lacaba. At a ceremony on Mount Makiling attended by First Lady Imelda Marcos, Joaquín delivered an invocation to Mariang Makiling, the mountain's mythical maiden. Joaquín touched on the importance of freedom and the artist. After that, Joaquín was excluded by the Marcos regime as a speaker at important cultural events.

Joaquín died of cardiac arrest in the early morning of April 29, 2004, at his home in San Juan, Metro Manila. He was then editor of Philippine Graphic magazine, where he worked with Juan P. Dayang, the magazine's first publisher. Joaquín was also publisher of its sister publication, Mirror Weekly, a women’s magazine, and wrote the column “Small Beer” for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Isyu, an opinion tabloid.


  • Tatarin (2001), a movie based on Joaquín’s short story "The Summer Solstice", was directed by Amable “Tikoy” Aguiluz. The screenplay was written by Ricardo Lee. Joaquín was consulted on the film. The cast included notable Filipino actors Edu Manzano (as Paeng Moreta,) Dina Bonnevie (Lupe Moreta), Rica Peralejo (Amada), and Raymond B. Bagatsing.
  • Ang Larawan (2017), won the best picture award in the 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival. It is a screen adaptation of Joaquin's A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino. It was translated to Filipino and written as a libretto by Rolando Tinio. The music was set by Ryan Cyabyab.


  • May Day Eve (1947)
  • Prose and Poems (1952)
  • The Woman Who had Two Navels (1961)
  • La Naval de Manila and Other Essays (1964)
  • A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino (1966)
  • Tropical Gothic (1972)
  • A Question of Heroes (1977)
  • Joseph Estrada and Other Sketches (1977)
  • Nora Aunor & Other Profiles (1977)
  • Ronnie Poe & Other Silhouettes (1977)
  • Reportage on Lovers (1977)
  • Reportage on Crime (1977)
  • Amalia Fuentes & Other Etchings (1977)
  • Gloria Diaz & Other Delineations (1977)
  • Doveglion & Other Cameos (1977)
  • Language of the Streets and Other Essays (1977)
  • Manila: Sin City and Other Chronicles (1977)
  • Pop Stories for Groovy Kids (1979)
  • Reportage on the Marcoses (1979)
  • Language of the Street and Other Essays (1980)
  • The Ballad of the Five Battles (1981)
  • Reportage on Politics (1981)
  • Tropical Baroque (1982)
  • The Aquinos of Tarlac: An Essay on History as Three Generations (1983)
  • Almanac for Manileños
  • Cave and Shadows (1983)
  • The Quartet of the Tiger Moon: Scenes from the People Power Apocalypse (1986)
  • Collected Verse (1987)
  • Culture and History: Occasional Notes on the Process of Philippine Becoming (1988)
  • Manila, My Manila: A History for the Young (1990),
  • The D.M. Guevara Story (1993),
  • Mr. F.E.U., the Culture Hero That Was Nicanor Reyes (1995).
  • Rizal in Saga (1996)
  • ABE: A Frank Sketch of E. Aguilar Cruz (2004)


  • José García Villa's Honor Roll (1940)
  • Philippines Free Press Short Story Contest (1949)
  • Ten Most Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM), Awardee for Literature (1955)
  • Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Literary Awards (1957–1958; 1965; 1976)
  • Harper Publishing Company (New York, U.S.) writing fellowship
  • Stonehill Award for the Novel (1960)
  • Republic Cultural Heritage Award (1961)
  • Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award from the City of Manila (1964)
  • National Artist Award (1976).
  • S.E.A. Write Award (1980)
  • Ramon Magsaysay Award for Literature (1996)
  • Tanglaw ng Lahi Award from the Ateneo de Manila University (1997)
  • Several ESSO Journalism awards, including the highly covetedJournalist of the Year Award.
  • Several National Book Awards from the Manila Critics' Circle for The Aquinos of Tarlac: An Essay in History as Three Generations; The Quartet of the Tiger Moon: Scenes from the People Power Apocalypse; Culture and History: Occasional Notes on the Process of Philippine Becoming; The World of Damian Domingo: 19th Century Manila (co-authored with Luciano P.R. Santiago); and Jaime Ongpin: The Enigma: The Profile of a Filipino as Manager.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]