Liwayway Arceo

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Liwayway Arceo (30 January 1924-3 December 1999) was a Filipino fictionist, radio scriptwriter, journalist, and editor. She garnered several different awards in the field of literature, radio, television, and film.

She married Manuel Principe Bautista, another Filipino writer and poet, on 31 June 1946. The two met while they were both writing for Liwayway magazine during the 1940s. They had six children: Florante, Isagani, Cecilia, Fleride, Ibarra, and Jayrizal.


Early life

She was born in Manila on 30 January 1924 to a distinguished family of writers. Her brother, Jesus Arceo, also published a number of works of fiction during the 1920s and 1930s.



Liwayway Arceo wrote a number of novels, including Canal de la Reina and Titser. She also authored collections of short stories like “Ang Mag-anak na Cruz”, “Mga Maria, Mga Eva”, and “Maybahay, Anak at iba pa”. Her story titled “Uhaw ang Tigang na Lupa” won second place as the Pinakamabuting Maikling Katha in 1943.

Most of Liwayway Arceo's books were published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press and the University of the Philippines Press.

In addition to her most noted works, Arceo wrote different books and novels. These include Maling Pook, Maling Panahon... Dito, Ngayon (1998), Mga Kwento ng Pag-Ibig (1997), and Liwayway. She also published a number of biographical works like Ako... Si Clara, which dealt with the life of Saint Claire of Assisi, and Francisco ng Assisi.

Arceo also translated a number of books into English, including two collections of essays by Socrates B. Villegas entitled Mahal ka ni Jesus and Si Jesus, ang Aking Ilaw.

Other publications

  • Mga Bathalang Putik
  • Sila: Kalipunan ng maiikling katha (Tagalog Edition), 2001
  • Mga bathalang putik (Women write series), 1998
  • Ina, maybahay, anak, at iba pa, 1990
  • Claret: Ang misyonero, 1988
  • Mga piling katha, 1984

Radio and television

Liwayway Arceo is known to be one of the earliest authors to write a soap opera for the radio. Her play Ilaw ng Tahanan aired on DZRH, DZMB, and DZPI, from March 1949 to July 1958.

Unknown to many, Arceo wrote the scripts for Dely Magpayo's Ang Tangi kong Pag-Ibig and Kasaysayan ng mga Liham ni Tiya Dely. She also conceptualized the scripts for Lovingly Yours, Helen, which aired in 1978. Aside from these, she also wrote television scripts for Sangandaan and Damdamin. Both shows were highly patronized by the public.


In addition to writing scripts for radio and television, Liwayway Arceo played a lead role in a film produced during World War II. The film was called Tatlong Maria, which was produced by X'Otic Pictures of the Philippines and Eiga Hekusa of Japan. It was released for screening in 1944. After this, she was offered another role for a new film. She declined, however, saying that she would prefer writing to acting.

In 1975, her short story entitled Lumapit, Lumayo ang Umaga was produced into a film by Ishmael Bernal. Elizabeth Oropesa received a FAMAS Best Actress Award for her lead role in the said film.

Awards and citations

For a number of her works, Arceo received several different awards, including a Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature for Short Story in Filipino in 1962; a Gawad CCO for Literature Award in 1993; a honoris causa Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of the Philippines in 1991; a Catholic Authors Award in 1990; and the Gawad Balagtas Life Achievement Award for Fiction in 1998. The last award that she received was the National Centennial Commission Award in 199(?) [check what year this is], given to her in recognition of her contributions in the field of Philippine literature.


After a short confinement at the Medical Center Manila, Arceo passed away at the age of 75. Many Filipino writers and publishers paid tribute to her in a service held at the Loyola Memorial Chapel in Guadalupe, Makati on 6 December 1999.




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