Nick Joaquin

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Nick Joaquin
Born May 4, 1917
Paco, Manila
Parents Leocadio Y. Joaquin and Salome Joaquin

Nicomedes Márquez Joaquín, popularly known as Nick Joaquin, (4 May 1917 – 29 April 2004) is a Philippine poet, novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, biographer and a National Artist of the Philippines for Literature. He is considered to be the best postwar author in the country. Most of his writings were about the Spanish colonial period and the diverse heritage of the Filipino people.


Early life and education

Nick was born on May 4, 1917 in Paco, Manila. His parents are Leocadio Y. Joaquin, a lawyer and colonel during the Philippine revolution, and Salome, a schoolteacher. He studied at Mapa High School for three years then dropped out of school to work. He read at the National Library during his spare time. During his time, in 19898, English was the official medium of instruction. Due to the emergence and popularity of short story writers in English, all Spanish literature somehow ceased in production.


His first job was to be a proofreader at the Philippine Free Press. He was then promoted as a contributing editor and essayist under the pen name “Quijano de Manila” which means Manila Old Timer. He worked as a journalist and gained fame as a reporter for the Free Press after the World War II. He left the company and entered Asia-Philippine Leader as an editor. After the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, he was suspended. He later became the editor of the Philippine Graphic Magazine and publisher of the Women's Weekly.

He started to write short stories, poems and essays in 1934. Most of his works were published in Philippine magazines although some of them were published in foreign journals and magazines. His work appeared in Tribune in 1935. His essay “La Naval de Manila” which talks about the defeat of a Dutch fleet by the Spaniards off the Philippines made in 1646 earned him a scholarship to study in Albert College in Hong Kong in 1947. He was also awarded an Associate in Arts Certificate by the Dominicans in UST.

His studies for priesthood were the reason behind the Christian setting of most of his stories and for the constant attention to practices and superstitions of his characters. Due to the rigid rules imposed upon studying for priesthood, he left the seminary in 1950.

Together with writers Stevan Javellana, N.V.M. Gonzalez, Celso Al. Carunungan and Kerima Polotan Tuvera, Joaquin influenced the development of the Philippine novel and short story. His writing became a bridge connecting modern literature and themes of Spanish heritage and primitive beliefs.

Published works

  • Prose and Poems, 1952
  • The Woman Who Had Two Navels, 1961
  • Selected Stories, 1962
  • La Naval de Manila and Other Essays, 1964
  • A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino, 1966 - film 1965, dir. by Lamberto V. Avellana, starring Daisy H. Avellana and Naty Crame Rogers
  • Tropical Gothic, 1972
  • Reportage on Crime, 1977
  • Reportage on Lovers, 1977
  • Nora Aunor and Other Profiles, 1977
  • A Question of Heroes, 1977
  • Stories for Groovy Kids, 1979
  • Tropical Baroque, 1979
  • Manila: Sin City and Other Chronicles, 1980
  • Reportage on the Marcoses, 1979, 1981
  • The Ballad of the Five Battles, 1981
  • Cave and Shadows, 1983
  • The Aquinos of Tarlac, 1983
  • Collected Verse, 1987
  • Manila, My Manila, 1990
  • The Woman Who Had Two Navels, 1991
  • Prose and Poems, 1991
  • La Orosa: The Dance-Drama that is Leonor Goquingco, 1994
  • One Woman's Liberating: The Life and Career of Dr. Estefania Aldaba-Lim, 1996

Awards and recognition

  • Republic Cultural Heritage Award, 1961
  • Stonehill Award for the Novel, 1960
  • first prize, Philippine Free Press Short Story Contest, 1949
  • first prize, Palance Memorial Award, 1957-58
  • Jose Garcia Villa's honor roll, 1940
  • National Artist Award, 1976


External Links



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