Novel in Rinconada-Bicol wins writer’s prize

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A story about a character whose body is mysteriously festered with scratches, won this year’s Writer’s Prize for the Novel in a contest sponsored by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

Written by poet Estelito Jacob, the novel titled Kamrang (Scratches) is in Rinco­nada, one of the languages of Bicol chosen by the Executive Council of the Committee on Literary Arts of the NCCA as one of the categories in the annual literary contest.

Jacob, who teaches at the Camarines Sur National High School in Naga City, was joined by two other winners: Domogo Gaongen, for Poetry in Kankana-ey; and Ritchie Pagunsan, for Drama in Kinariray-a.

All three received the first tranche of the P200,000 individual grants during the awarding ceremony held at Barbara’s Restaurant in Intramuros, Manila.


Jacob’s entry was judged by a panel of Rinconada speakers composed of poet and filmmaker, Kristian Cordero, book designer Vic Nierva; and Marifa Borja of the Ateneo de Naga University.

Rinconada is the language of an almost half-a-million inhabitants of the Fifth District of Camarines Sur composed of Iriga City and the towns of Bula, Baao, Nabua, Buhi, Bato and Balatan.

Some of its known native speakers include Nora Aunor, Senator Leila de Lima, former Senator Eddie Ilarde, actors Jaime Fabregas, Rez Cortes, the late Senator Joker Arroyo of Baao, and Miss Universe runner-up, Venus Raj.

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