Evelyn Estrella-Sebastian

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Four-time winner of the Don Carlos Palanca Jr. Memorial Awards for Literature-Mrs. Evelyn Estrella-Sebastian

Evelyn Estrella-Sebastian is an established professional writer and a regular contributor to Liwayway Magazine. She is a four-time winner of the Don Carlos Palanca Jr. Memorial Awards for Literature for the short story and teleplay category.

Biography

Life, Career and Education

Evelyn Estrella Sebastian is the fifth of sixth children of the late Eugenio R. Estrella and Maria Lomotan of Malolos, Bulacan. Her elementary schooling was at Malolos Elementary School, while her high school studies were at Marcelo H. del Pilar High School where she was a prize-winning orator. After finishing secondary education, she went to University of the East to pursue a Business Administration degree, major in accounting, at a time when courses in UE were offered on a quarterly basis. Thus, she finished college in just over thee years.

Mrs. Sebastian’s earliest recollection of an awakened interest in writing was wher her Grade V teacher wrote a short story which was published in Liwayway. This inspired the young Evelyn so much that she confided to her mother that someday she, too, would like to be a writer whose stories would be published and would be enjoyed by readers.

It is often said that a prolific writer is first and foremost a voracious reader. This was true of Mrs. Sebastian who loved to read. This honed her facility in the use of words and most certainly widened her vocabulary. Curiously, although her Palanca awards were her literary pieces in Filipino, her readings were mostly in English. But then, when one has been gifted y the Divine Giver with the potential to write, that potential, if tapped and motivated, will eventually develop, ‘bloom’, and manifest itself in the language of one’s choice; provided that one has to be adept in the use of that language.

At that time when the writing bug hit her really hard, so to speak, there was a column in the Liwayway magazine for new writers. The column was tagged, Pitak ng Bagong Dugo. The first short story she was interested to see published was sent to that column. Overnight, Mrs. Sebastian became a celebrity at their dormitory.

Motivated, she wrote another short story this time about a dormitory resident. Although fiction, it was so realistically written that any dorm inmate could easily relate to the situations treated in the story. Again, it was published in Liwayway, but this time, no longer in the section for new writers. Instead, her short story was placed with those of established professional writers.

Today, Mrs. Evelyn Estrella Sebastian still writes for the Liwayway magazine and gets tons of praises from well-known people. Her stories still revolve around the reality of life; with her realistic-setting stories, she hopes to inspire the young generation.

Winning Don Carlos Palanca Jr. Awards

Eveyln Estrella-Sebastian is notably known for her outstanding achievements. She was awarded four times –twice as a first prize winner in the Filipino short story category, once as the second prize winner, also for her short story in Filipino and once as the third prize winner for her teleplay. Considering that this multi-awardee is a College of Business Administration graduate whose studies did not train her to attain what she has accomplished in the field of writing.

Evelyn Estrella-Sebastian is known for winning several Don Carlos Palanca, Jr. awards especially in the short stories category. In 1987, her short story, "Isang Pook, Dalwang Panahon," was her first story that won the Palanca award.She won second place for her short story entitled “Si Regina at Ako” in 1992. She received the third prize for winning in the teleplay category with her, “Isang Araw sa Isang Bahay Ampunan” in 1994. In 1998, her story, “Ipanalangin Mo Siya, Ipanalangin Mo Ako,” won first prize in the same category. Other than these award-winning masterpieces, she also wrote other stories.

Interview

  • Here are few interesting facts regarding her inspirations, works, and career.

Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo are some of the novels that inspired her to write. Her stories are unique in a sense that she wants her readers to feel that they can relate to the story or to the main character. Her works are stories where readers can identify themselves with the characters. Also, She's the kind of writer who creates stories that doesn't have the antagonists or there's no much drama. She said, "Walang kontrabida, walang masyadong drama." She writes realistic stories; "Slice of life kumbaga." Her favorite part of being a writer would be the people who appreciates her stories. They're the ones whom she really don't expect. She's surprised that people like other authors, who have published several books, appreciate and would like to read her stories. One author said to her, "'Di lang ako tagahanga mo, presidente pa ako ng Evelyn Estrella fans club!" In general, writing for her is not about making money but more of self-rewarding.

Some Works

Si Regina at Ako (1992)

Her story, "Si Regina at Ako," won second place for the Don Carlos Palancas Jr. awards in the short story category in 1992.

Synopsis

This story is about a maid, Regina, who asked her boss, a female writer, to write a story where Regina is the main character. The writer taught about it. As the author reflects upon the possible things that she can write for the story, she was able to look back at the times where Regina was still new, how the writer was able to hire Regina, the problems that faced Regina until the present and more.

Regina was hired by the writer with the help of a friend. She told the writer that Regina is very hardworking, obedient, kind, cheerful and most importantly, a person whom the writer can trust. Regina went to Manila to earn more money for her family in the province. Exposed to a new and different environment, She tried to learn how to speak in English by reading books. She also went to school and studied cosmetology. The story progresses as the writer narrates the experiences of Regina working for her. After she remembered these events, she realized that these things made Regina's life unique from everyone. The story ends when the writer decided to write a story for Regina.

May E-mail Ka (2005)

This story was publish in two Liwayway Magazine Issues.

Synopsis

The story is about a writer Erika, who was just new in using computers. She was used to using the old typewriters in creating her stories. Her main problem was that she can’t start writing her new story. One thing she loved about the new technology is E-mail messaging because she uses it as a way to communicate with her realtive in abroad. When she opened her E-mail, she received a message from a stranger named Tony. Forgetting her child’s reminder not to open messages from strangers, she opened and read it. The message said that Tony met her in the bank but she didn’t say hi to him. She began to wonder whether she went to the bank in the past few days. Thinking that it maybe just a spam, she deleted the message. A few days later, she received another message from a woman named Mariel replying to the message of Tony. She was wondering how come two people were communicating and sending their responses in her E-mail. With this, she started to create, and weave new ideas about her new story. As she writes her story, E-mail messages from Tony and Mariel fill her inbox. She used these messages as guides in creating the plot of her new story.

Ipanalangin Mo Siya, Ipanalangin Mo Kami (1998)

"Ipanalangin Mo Siya, Ipanalangin Mo Kami," was Evelyn Estrella-Sebastian's latest award-winning short story. This story won first place in 1998 for the Don Carlos Palanca Jr. Awards for Filipino Writers.

Synopsis

‘Ipanalangin Mo Siya, Ipanalangin Mo Kami’ is a Filipino short story by Mrs. Evelyn Estrella Sebastian which speaks about how a mother loves. The story takes place in the province and starts in the burial of the mother. The children then explain what their mother did for them –she went to the United States of America to work as an immigrant. The mother left them and after some time, she sent them chocolates, money, and provided her everything she could (except for one). Years have passed and the mother died.

At the burial, the children recalled the time when they were with their mother in the airport before she left for America. They saw a working Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) embracing her mother. They realized that all that they had –chocolates, money, and all –were nothing compared to the sweet caress of a mother.

Isang Pook,Dalawang Panahon (1987)

"Isang Pook, Dalawang Panahon," was her first short story that won in the Don Carlos Palanca Jr. Awards for Filipino Writers.

Synopsis

Mrs. Evelyn Estrella Sebastian’s 1987 first prize winner in the Filipino Short Story Division entitled ‘Isang Pook, Dalawang Pook’ is a story about a mother telling her experiences about her dorm life during her college days in UE. She tells her what the dorm looked liked in their time, what was happening before, how he met some college guys there, things what to do and what not to do, and about the condition of the Philippines back then. The daughter counters her mother that the dorm looks awful today. The floors are squeaking, the floors are dirty, and the glass windows are broken. She added that the present generation has changed –from studying to courting –almost everything changed. She even told her mother that she joined a rally because she wants to change the awful system here.

Contribution to the Society

Evelyn Estrella-Sebastian’s contribution to society would be clearly seen through the Filipino short stories she had written. What makes her stories deserving of all sorts of accolades are two points: (1) because of her very realistic setting; and (2) the core of her stories is reality. According to Mrs. Sebastian, whenever she writes a story, she always incorporates her past experiences or knowledge into a story. She uses the realistic setting for her fictional characters. That is why the description for a particular location is detailed. Another thing that makes her work a contribution to the society is that her stories ground on reality. She doesn’t belong to the group of writers whose stories end with the ‘happily-ever-after’ phrases. Because of these reasons, Evelyn Estrella-Sebastian is a kind of Filipino author who has contributed a lot to our society.

Links

A series of YouTube videos of interview with the writer:

Multiply page- Photos, Videos, Reviews and more...

References

  • The videos of the interview are uploaded. You may view them by clicking the links above.
  • Several photos of the interview were taken and also uploaded in a multiply page. you can also view the same videos in this multiply page. Click the last link above to view them.
  • UE Today: National Arts Month. Vol.13 / No. 2 / February 2004 / issn D118-3931
  • Liwayway Magazine. July 4, 2005 issue
  • Liwayway Magazine. July 11, 2005 issue
  • Don Carlos Palanca Jr. Main Office for copies of her winning works.

Credits

  • Biography: Life, Career and Education by Robi Domingo.
  • Synopsis for "Si Regina at Ako," and "May E-mail Ka" by Nico Mallillin.
  • Synopsis for "Ipanalangin mo Siya, Ipanalangin Mo Kami, " and "Isang Pook, Dalwang Panahon" by Robi Domingo.
  • Photos and videos edited, uploaded and linked by Nico Mallillin.
  • Wikipage created and edited by Nico Mallillin.

Citation

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