Southville Faculty Wins Palanca Award

Mr. Mark Adrian Ho of Southville International School and Colleges of Language and Humanities Department won 2nd prize in the Filipino one-act play category of 2016 Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature Contest.

His play entitled Billboard tells the story of billboard workers who witnessed a vehicular accident while atop their billboard structure. It was staged by DLSU’s Harlequin Theatre Guild last March 2016.

“I live in a condo along South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). The view from my balcony encompasses the highway and the many billboards that line it. One night, while thinking of a play that I needed to write, I stepped out into the balcony and saw the same familiar scene that I always see: men working atop one of the billboards. In that moment, I thought: what a wonderful way of looking at the world! That idea, plus the news about a truck that fell off the Skyway about a year or two ago, was the inspiration for “Billboard”—a one-act play that tells the story of two billboard workers who witness a vehicular accident while working twenty meters up the ground,” shared Mr. Ho.

A long-time TV teleserye writer, Mr. Ho takes inspiration in stories that offer a new perspective.

“I have always been fascinated by stories that offer a different way of looking at the world—a unique perspective on life. Every time I encounter such stories, either from TV or social media or from stories shared by other people, I get a little bit excited. My mind starts to both wonder and wander. I imagine the story taking shape in my head and I would decide on the best form—a poem, a short story or a play—through which the said story should be told. Then I start writing.”

He advises aspiring writers and budding Monarchs to always be open to new insights as good literature always offers new insights and different ways of looking at the world.

“This is my mantra: IDEAS EXPERIENCES = INSIGHTS. Open your senses, your mind and your heart to ideas and experiences. Don’t limit yourself to a single point-of-view. Talk to people. Travel when possible. Read as much as you can. Learn about other cultures. Know about how others think. Get acquainted with how others feel. People, travel and books are our best resources for insights—for new ideas and experiences.”

The Palanca Award or Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature is the most prestigious literary awards of the Philippines. Established in 1950 to inspire and recognize Filipino writers, including poets, playwrights and screenwriters, and writers for children, the Palanca Award is the “Pulitzer Prize” of the Philippines. Unlike the Pulitzers, however, entries to the Palanca competition are previously unpublished pieces in their manuscript form.

Mr. Ho will receive his award in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards Ceremony on September 2, 2016 at The Rigodon Ballroom of The Peninsula Manila.