Tony Joaquin discloses the following little-known facts about his uncle Nick Joaquin, National Artist for Literature, who is generally regarded as the greatest Filipino writer in English.
1. The very first edition of his Prose and Poems in 1953 containing his short stories and poems were among his best works. The soft cover issue is on its third or fourth re-edition already. (I was then the assistant of Chronicle editor Indalecio Soliongco when he asked me to review Joaquin’s book. The review appeared forthwith under Soliongco’s byline. RLO)
2. Nick’s latent generosity surfaced when he was bumped by a jeepney one night as he was crossing the street. Nick suffered minor bruises and contusions because of that accident and so was brought to the hospital by the people. When the police officer assigned to the case asked Nick whether he was filing charges against the jeepney driver, Nick said no and instead asked to see the driver and when Nick saw the hapless driver, he even offered him some money to take home to his family. The driver was speechless but very grateful for the gesture.
3. When Jose Rizal’s classic Ulitmo Adios was translated into English verse, Nick’s translation was acclaimed to be the best compared to others like that of Sen. Claro Recto who himself thought so.
4. A rare display of defiance and considered a heroic act was Nick’s “negotiating” with the late President Ferdinand Marcos that Nick could agree to being considered Philippine National Artist for Literature only if he released Nick’s buddy Pete Lacaba who was detained at the time. Nick got his wish and the rest is history.
5. Nick was said to be the ONLY writer who ”dared” to look into the lives of so-called Filipino heroes and won accolades for his having written the book A Question of Heroes.
6. Nick’s now classic stage play Portrait of the Artist as Filipino is now translated into two languages (Tagalog, Spanish) and presented as a play and as a movie.
7. Lamberto “Bert” Avellana stated that Nick’s short stories, if one were to read them, looked like screenplays and a movie director could shoot the plays outright.
Urgent personal appeal
Decades ago, I lent The Diary of Anne Frank, a book written by a Jewish girl who later became a victim of the Holocaust, to a staff member of the Manila Chronicle. The book was given to me by Chronicle publisher Oscar Lopez. If the borrower still has the book, she can send me an e-mail to email@example.com so I can have the book retrieved.
Decades ago, I also lent Goodnight, Sweet Prince! to desk editor Luis Mauricio. The book is a biography of John Barrymore, who, with his brother Lionel and sister, Ethel then made up America’s royal stage-and-screen-family. Mauricio has since passed away, but if any of his relatives reads this he can e-mail me as well so I can have the book retrieved.
Judicaël Perroy in Manila
Independent Philippine Art Ventures (iPav) and Alliance Français de Manille (AFM) present an outstanding French guitarist in a concert at 7 p.m. on November 12, Abelardo Hall, UP College of Music in Diliman.
Perroy is one of the most sought-after classical guitarists on the world stage. He has had rave reviews not only as a concertist but as an inspiring teacher as well. His students have also won the most prestigious international awards.
During his stay from November 11 to 15, Perroy will hold a master class for the country’s most promising young guitarists to teach them theory and technique in one-on-one sessions.
To open the concert are multi-awarded Filipino guitarists Roneil Santos and Aaron Aguila, from the UP College of Music.
IPav was founded by classical guitarists and enthusiasts and has formed a solid alliance with AFM and Ayala Museum, among others to promote classical music in the Philippines.