‘Mananatiling inspirasyon’: Tributes flow for National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera

September 28, 2021 - 5:53 PM
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Bienvenido Lumbera (CCP/Facebook)

Fellow Filipino writers and various organizations mourned the death of National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera following his passing on September 28.

In a report by The Varsitarian, the official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas, Lumbera’s daughter Tala stated that the renowned essayist passed away at 9:15 a.m. He was 89 years old.

As of writing, no other details were provided on the cause of his death.

Lumbera was a recipient of prestigious awards such as the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communications, and the Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature.

He was conferred the Order of National Artist in 2006

Aside from these recognitions, he was also known for teaching at UST, the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University and the University of the Philippines Diliman.

The late national artist earned his Litt. B. Journalism as cum laude from UST in 1957 and became a literary editor of the Varsitarian in 1953.

Lumbera was a detainee during the Martial Law in January 1974. He was released in December of the same year.

In 1977, he then served as an editor for the Diliman Review, which was one of the most critical publications during that period.

Tributes and goodbyes

As soon as the news of his deaths circulated online, Lumbera’s friends and other Filipino writers lamented his passing and bid goodbye to the acclaimed poet, critic and dramatist.

Writer Vladimeir Gonzales shared a tribute graphic on his farewell tweet for the writer.

“Posting para sa mga kaibigan, tagahanga at nakasubaybay sa mga pagtuturo at naisulat ni Sir Bien. Mami-miss ko ang mga salubungan at chikahan sa opis, at di na rin pareho ang UPNWW experience kahit magbalik ito sa Baguio sa mga kasunod na taon,” Gonzales said.

Novelist Edgar Calabia Samar and editor-professor Rolando Tolentino also shared this graphic on their posts.

“Nagluluksa at nakikiramay sa lahat ng naiwan. (sad emoji, prayer emoji and heart emoji) Maraming salamat sa lahat, Doc Bien! Isang biyaya na maging guro kayo. Mahal namin kayo,” Samar said.

“Ang sakit ng pagyao ng Artista ng Bayan. Maraming salamat, Bienvenido Lumbera,” Tolentino said.

Writer and UST professor Joselito Delos Reyes bid his farewell to Lumbera by sharing a photo of the artist speaking at an event in the university.

“Paalam, dakilang tomasino at pambansang alagad ng sining sa panitikan, bien lumbera. bukal ng karunungan at kabutihan. Hanggang sa muli,” Delos Reyes wrote.

Award-winning writers Jerry Gracio and Lualhati Baustista similarly lamented the sudden passing of their friend.

“Hindi ko mailalarawan ang nadaramang lungkot. Paalam Dr Bienvenido Lumbera (1932-2021), manunulat, kritiko, guro, Pambansang Alagad ng Sining sa Panitikan. Mahal na mahal ka namin,” Gracio said.

“Paalam, Bien, (Bienvenido Lumbera), Pambansang Alagad ng Sining. Isa ka sa mga taong mahal ko talaga. Pakikiramay sa iyo, Cynthia, sa pamilya, sa lahat ng manunulat, estudyante, at mga kaibigan. Dala mo ang aming taos-pusong pagpupugay,” Bautista said.

The Tanggol Wika or Alyansa ng mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino also declared a day of mourning to honor Lumbera.

The group also expressed condolences to his family.

“Taus-pusong pakikiramay ang ating ipinapaabot sa kanyang pamilya. Mananatili pong inspirasyon sa amin ang inyong buhay, mga sinulat, at adhikaing makabayan,” read their post.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Cultural Center of the Philippines likewise honored the late national artist and remembered his legacy.

Meanwhile, other Filipinos who looked up to Lumbera and fans of his works also expressed their grief online.

“Ang ‘Wikang Filipino at ang Banta ng Globalisasyon’ ni Ka Bien ang naging basehan ko sa aking isinumiting papel para ako ay makapasok sa UP Diliman. Walang hanggang pasasalamat sa lahat ng iyong likhang-obra. Pagpupugay sa’yo Bienvenido Lumbera!” one user said.

“Back when we were young(er), there was no one greater in looking for ‘lipunan’ in analyzing films than Bienvenido Lumbera. He was and will always be the one we look up to. Your guidance will be missed, Doc Bien. Rest well in paradise,” another user wrote.