CEBU CITY, Philippines — A Cebu-based priest is among the nominees for the Order of National Artist (ONA).
Msgr. Rodolfo ‘Rudy’ Villanueva from the Archdiocese of Cebu is shortlisted for the country’s highest recognition given to Filipino artists, based on an Inquirer story written by author and short story writer Amadis Ma. Guerrero.
Published on April 8, Guerrero’s report disclosed some of the names of who will be contending for the National Artist Award.
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Villanueva, also known by his pen name Renato E. Madrid, is a candidate for literature and theater, said Guerrero.
“As a seminarian at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) during the 1980s, Villanueva shyly presented his stories to Nick Joaquin, then and now every young writer’s literary idol,” Guerrero added.
The Inquirer contributor also mentioned in his story how Joaquin, in 1986, described one of Villanueva’s literary pieces.
“I suppose I was expecting a wad of devotional gooey… What I got was stuff to make the flesh crawl,” Joaquin was quoted.
Other nominees for the ONA, said Guerrero, included novelist Jose ‘Butch’ Dalisay, Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, painter Rene Robles, and composer Jerry Dapdap.
Rudy Villanueva a.k.a. Renato E. Madrid
Villanueva, who is from the Archdiocese of Cebu, is the author of ‘Southern Harvest (1996)’, a collection of stories, and two novels titled ‘Devil Wings (1997)’ and ‘Mass for the Death of an Enemy’ (2000), according to the about section of his Facebook page.
“He was a long-time resident professor of Music and English at San Carlos Seminary College, has taught at the Silliman University school of music, the University of San Carlos graduate school, and is a lifetime visiting faculty at the Dipolog and Dumaguete Seminaries,” the page added.
“Mass for the Death of an Enemy,” published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press, is described as ‘a black comedy dealing with the social, moral, and theatrical quandaries of a small village in a large, hyperactive Cebuano town called Carcar, where most of the things described in the novel never happened.’
It was a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award.
Villanueva is also the recipient of multiple Palanca Awards and the National Book Award from the Manila Critics Circle.
Aside from his literary works, the priest has gained popularity within the Visayas-Mindanao area as a composer of liturgical music, and writer of plays in English and Cebuano languages.
The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) have yet to publish the official list of nominees for the National Artist Award.
On March 31, it can be recalled that the two state-run cultural institutions issued a statement, clarifying that they have not unveiled the names of those shortlisted for the ONA.
This after reports and news circulated online, apparently showing the list of the nominees.
“The list of recommended names for the Order of National Artist will be submitted to the Office of the President for the deliberation before the Office of the President makes its declaration of the new set of national artists,” they explained.
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