Capitol honors 1st Cebuano national artist

The Cebu Provincial Government on Monday, Nov. 5, hosted a testimonial dinner for Dr. Resil B. Mojares in honor of his conferment as the National Artist for Literature last month.

At least 100 guests, including members of his family and friends from the literary group, attended the affair held at the Capitol Social Hall.

Gov. Hilario P. Davide III, in his welcome message, said that when news about Mojares’ conferment as national artist came out last Oct. 24, he and his wife, Jobel, thought of hosting the testimonial dinner in honor of the first and only Cebuano to have been given such a distinction.

Davide said he also sought the help of Vice Gov. Agnes A. Magpale in organizing the event, who enthusiastically agreed to the idea.

Davide said he was grateful to Mojares for helping him and his family in coming up with a book as a gift for his father, Hilario Davide Jr., on his retirement in the Supreme Court in 2005. Mojares served as the editorial consultant.

“It gives us great pleasure to host this testimonial dinner in his honor,” the governor said.

Magpale, who delivered a testimony on the contributions and achievements of Mojares in the fields of history and literature, thanked the latter for his great help in the Capitol project on the definitive history of the Province of Cebu.

After encountering a few challenges, they finished the project and printed 55 volumes that covered 44 municipalities and seven cities, including Lapu-Lapu City and Cebu City, and a special book on the history of the Capitol.

“Tonight, we are honoring this man. The night of rejoicing for a Cebuano, who makes us all truly proud of his achievements in the field of literature. His literary works earned for him the highest recognition that the National Government could ever bestow upon Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions for the cultural heritage of the country,” Magpale said.

“Dr. Mojares as a writer, historian, and critic is a quintessence of a Filipino artist whose works reflect his intellectual ingenuity…The order of National Artist for Literature conferred upon Dr. Resil Mojares is a fitting recognition for his unclenching dedication to research and hardwork so that Philippine literary arts may live on. His conferment has now elevated him to the gallery of illustrious Filipino literary artists,” the vice governor added.

Magpale, together with some members of the Provincial Board (PB), namely, Raul Bacaltos, Jude Thaddeus Durano Sybico and Miguel Antonio Magpale, then presented a copy of the PB resolution congratulating Mojares for being officially conferred the distinction as National Artist for Literature by President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang Palace last Oct. 24.

“I think what’s really more gratifying that an award is hearing from friends, people you respect that their happy for you and that you deserve an award, because without such words an award is rather empty,” Mojares said in his response message, as he thanked everyone for celebrating with him in this milestone.

Mojares said that although he was born and raised in Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte in Mindanao, his roots can be traced back in Cebu.

He said his mother, Consolacion Cedenio Buagas, was born to an old family in Ginatilan. His father, Felipe Sanchez Mojares, was born in Tanjay town, Negros Oriental, of a mother who hailed from Mandaue City.

Mojares finished his university education at the University of San Carlos.

He said he established Cebu as his home after he got married in 1970 to his wife Sally.

“To have lived in Cebu, raising a family to what is now over half of my life has cemented the fact that Cebu is home. Perhaps more important than these details of personal life is the fact that being Cebuano is not just something that I kind of inherited. One, I found myself deeply involved in studies pertaining to Cebu and Cebuanos,” he said.

“I am deeply grateful to the Cebu Provincial Government, in particular to Gov. Junjun Davide, Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and the Provincial Board, and to all who are present this evening. Thank you! Daghan kaayong salamat!” the National Artist said.

Apart from Magpale, Delilah R. Labajo, chairperson of the USC Department of Anthropology, Sociology and History; Dr. Hope S. Yu, Cebuano Studies Center director; and Ma. Cristina C. Aboitiz, board member of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. also delivered their testimonial messages for Mojares.

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