The Virgin

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"The Virgin" is a story written by Kerima Polotan Tuvera. It won two first prizes in 1952: The Philippines' Free Press Short Story, and the Palanca Awards. It is the story of a woman and her experience of desire and freedom.



  • Miss Mijares- a thirty-four-year-old woman who works at a job-placement agency
  • new man at the carpentry shop


Having spent most of her adult life caring for an ailing mother, Miss Mijares is past her youth. She realizes to her disappointment that love and marriage have eluded her. She lives a dull life and behaves with stiffness and aloofness, camouflaging her tiredness and loneliness with ruffled and pastel-colored clothes. When a new carpenter applied at her agency, she is unwittingly drawn to the man. After a confrontation, the two find themselves stranded on an unknown street in the rain, and Miss Mijares allows herself to be led by her feelings for the carpenter and responds to his invitation.

The Author

Kerima Polotan Tuvera was born Putli Kerima in Jolo, Sulu. She spent much of her life in Central Luzon, however. She taught at the Arellano University in Manila where she had taken up writing courses in her youth. During the Marcos era, she was founder and editor of FOCUS Magazine and Evening Post.

Her works include The Hand of the Enemy (1962), a novel which won the Stonehill Award, and the stories "The Keeper", "The Virgin", and "The Sounds of Sunday" which are included in her collection Stories (1968). She published a collection of essays in Adventures in a Forgotten Country (1975) and a collection of non-fiction works in Author's Choice: Selected Writings of Kerima Polotan (1971). She also edited the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature Winners. Her latest book published by the UP Press is a collection of essays about her childhood memories, The True and the Plain.

She won the Republic Cultural Heritage Award for Literature in 1963 and the City of Manila's Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award.


  • Abad, Gemino. The Likhaan Anthology of Philippine Literature in English from 1900 to the Present. Quezon City: UP Press, 1998.



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