Conrado V. Pedroche
Conrado V. "CV" Pedroche (Sept. 6, 1909 - May 19, 1980) was a Filipino writer in English. He was among the Filipino literary icons of the early 20th century.
Pedroche emerged at a time when there were only a handful of Filipino authors writing in English. Among his contemporaries who were recognized as pillars of Philippine literature were N.V.M. Gonzalez, Carlos Bulosan, Francisco Arcellana and D. Paulo Dizon, just to name a few.
His short stories and poems like the The Carabao Impersonator and Man upon the Cross have been anthologized in a number of books. He was known as a humorist because he always found laughter even in the most unfortunate situations. He also wrote poetry, but most of his works were short stories, usually combining fact and fiction. For example, he wrote Ray Stories, a compilation of "factoids" about his firstborn son, depicting him as a superboy who could fly and do extraordinary things like planting duck feathers that yielded eggs. He also wrote a collection of fairy tales entitled The Ginger Girl and Other Stories.
In his early years as a writer, he was a regular contributor to the old Philippine Free Press, Sunday Times Magazine and the Weekly Graphics where he earned his national renown as an author of short stories.
Pedroche attended the University of the Philippines where he earned the degree of bachelor of philosophy in 1932. Pedroche belonged to the second generation of Filipino writers in English who came after the likes of such pioneers as Paz Marquez Benitez and Jorge Bocobo. Although greatly influenced by American and European literatures because of the American occupation of the country, this group of writers was able to accomplish what their predecessors had not, or could not – write stories with more substance and, more importantly, stories with a clearly defined Philippine perspective.
Earlier in 1929, while a student of UP, he became a member of the UP Writer’s Club. Membership to the club was life-long and by invitation only, and was based on the merits of one’s works. Later, he became associate editor of the Literary Apprentice, the club’s official publication. Some of his famous contemporaries were Fernando Leaño, Salvador P. Lopez, Jose Garcia Villa, Loreto Paras-Sulit, and Manuel Arguilla.
Born on September 6, 1909 to parents Raymundo Sese Pedroche and Maria Francisca Dizon Villegas in Victoria, Tarlac, Pedroche moved to Manila after finishing high school at the Tarlac Provincial High School in Tarlac, Tarlac (now Tarlac City). At the prodding of his older brother Gaudencio, he took up Liberal Arts (Journalism) at the University of the Philippines where he discovered his special fondness for creative writing. Later in his life, he married a woman from Mexico, Pampanga named Avelina Pecson Gomez with whom he fathered five children: Edgardo Raymundo (Ray), Danilo (Dan), Joel, Alfonso (Al G. Pedroche) and Maria Adora (Doris).
CV, as he is better known, was one among twelve siblings of six boys and six girls. The eldest were three girls, the first two of whom died in infancy as in those days, infant mortality rate was very high in the Philippines since there were not many trained physicians available. CV's brothers, in their order, were Alfonso, Carlos, Gaudencio, Rafael,(CV came after Rafael) and Jose who is still alive today (2010).
Upon his graduation from the University of the Philippines, he took the Civil Service examinations (First Grade, a rating better than Second Grade). While waiting for the results of the test he was invited to live with his brother Gaudencio who was then stationed in San Fernando, Pampanga, as Adminstrative Officer of the District Engineer's Office. There CV worked for a branch of Heacock's, a big American corporation with central offices in Manila. It was while living with his brother in San Fernando that CV noticed a fair young lass named Avelina Pecson Gomez living some five or six houses away. It did not take long for the two of them to fall in love and get married.
When the results of the Civil Service test came out favorably,CV moved to Quezon City where he joined the City Treasurer's Office as a clerk. From there he movd on and eventually became the Director of the National Media Production Center.
CV's famous Ray Stories were all hatched up while residing in a small hut along Arayat St., Cubao, Q.C. That was when he worked just about a mile away in the City Hall of Quezon City.
A PAINTER, SCULPTOR AND A POTTER
After retiring at the age of 60, Pedroche dabbled in artistic pursuits such as sculpture, painting and ceramics. His works of art were not sold, but instead usually given away to special friends. CV had a strong passion for woods and rocks and (I don't mean rock music). As an almost full-time pre-occupation after retirement, he set-up a small workshop in his backyard where he spent his time chiseling and filing on either wood or rocks as if trying to free a being that has been imprisoned within. Alternately, he pounded on his typewriter to write articles or sat on his favorite armchair reading a book. He was a fan of William Saroyan, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), William Faulkner and TS Eliot. He also kept a potter's wheel and kiln where he did his ceramics, not really to earn extra bucks but to keep his frail nerves from breaking. He was hypertensive and later in his life, his heart slowly failed which caused his demise in 1980 at age 70.
He also did abstract paintings but unfortunately, not one of his works was preserved as far as this writer knows. It can only be presumed that perhaps, some of his close friends are keeping some of his works which he would give away for a song to people he liked.
These artistic pursuits he did unwaveringly as a way, I think, to escape from the rough and tumble of life. CV Pedroche viewed life like a fantasy. In fact he wrote a collection of fairy tales compiled into a book he titled "The Ginger Girl and other Stories."
The Little Creator, also known as "Ray Stories" were a compilation of CV's writings about his eldest son Ray which was a combination of facts and fancies, or "factoids" as he would put it. Being his firstborn, CV was quite doting about Ray when the latter was still a young boy, thus the book was written.
He passed away in his sleep on the night of May 19, 1980, just a few ticks away to midnight due to heart failure. He was 70 years old.