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Bonifacio Ilagan

For decades, Bonifacio P. Ilagan has immersed himself in non-government organization work in the different media since the 1970s while studying at the University of the Philippines.

Ilagan worked as editor, reporter and researcher, and also taught at the Philippine High School for the Arts, National Arts Center. He was executive editor of The Review Philippines magazine, a publication of the Philippine Education Company. As editor-translator, he has been commissioned by many outfits in the public and private sectors. Among his published translation works were the plays in the book The Filipino Drama (1905), by the Intramuros Administration in 1981.

He is a multi-awarded playwright, winning in such tilts as the Don Carlos Palanca Awards for Literature, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Literary Contest and the Palihang Aurelio V. Tolentino. Two of his plays are featured in the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art as major works in Philippine theater. As film and television writer, his scripts have won in the Catholic Mass Media Awards, Philippine Movie Press Club Star Awards, Film Academy of the Philippines and Gawad CCP.

In the commemoration of the centennial of Philippine independence, Ilagan was  conferred the CCP Centennial Honors for the Arts, one among the 100 awardees chosen from among ‘the most outstanding Filipino artists and cultural advocates in the last 100 years for their contribution to the development of the nation through cultural work and the arts.’ Part of the citation reads: ‘Ilagan firmly committed his craft to a nationalist line and fearlessly reinvented the theatrical stage into a potent venue for expressing the democratic aspirations of the Filipino people against a repressive martial rule.’

Realizing the power and potential of information technology, Ilagan ventured into video production and has written, directed and produced documentaries on Philippine history, politics, environment, values formation, etc

Boni was one of the founders of the Kabataang Makabayan in UP, and became a highly respected writer of historical plays for the stage and television. In 2001, he was elected first president of the First Quarter Storm Movement, whose aim is to keep alive the legacy of that high tide in political awareness and social involvement which led thousands of Filipinos to contribute the best part of their youth, for a cause that traces its origins to the revolutionary struggle of the Katipunan, and the earliest stirrings of anti-colonial patriotism in the Philippines.

National Artist for Literature: 
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