AWARD-WINNING writer Sylvia L. Mayuga passed away on Dec. 31, 2019 her friends and relatives announced through posts on social media. She was 77.
She was also a journalist, poet, and documentary filmmaker at various times in her life.
Ms. Mayuga was perhaps best known as a member of Women Writers in Media Now (WOMEN), a group of women writers who wrote about pressing issues of the country during Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law.
Through the years she contributed to various publications including the Manila Bulletin, Rappler, the Philippine STAR, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and GMA News Online. She served for a time as desk editor for INQUIRER.net.
Three of her books won National Book Awards: Spy In My Own Country (1981); Earth, Fire, And Air (1992); and Huling Ptyk: The Art and Life of Nonoy Marcelo (2005).
In a statement, WOMAN announced her passing and wrote: “A writer, Sylvia remembered first scribbling a script for a cartoon strip when she was eight years old… Consistently, she wove biography and autobiography with threads of the larger histories of her country and the world, revealing a visionary strain as she wanders Between the Centuries (the title of her last book of essays).”
Born in 1943, Ms. Mayuga studied at St. Scholastica’s College and St. Theresa’s College in Manila, and earned a degree in comparative journalism from Columbia University in New York where she graduated magna cum laude.
Journalist Inday Espina-Verona wrote on Facebook: “Never goodbye, Mader Sylvia Mayuga! So glad we managed that leisurely lunch date last Oct. 27 when you had a brief spurt of energy. Though you gave a scare by almost toppling over while trying to open your front door after stubbornly brushing off efforts to help. Even while talking of great challenges, your humor shone so that a times it seemed it was a wild, impish, fey flower child across the table, instead of someone who intimated ‘this may be goodbye.’ As we parted, you said, ‘remember me this way, with laughter.’ And we did have a good laugh poring over these old FB photos I took of you and the changing context of the times. Godspeed, you wild morningstar. Give HIM some trouble up there, will you?”
Ms. Mayuga is lying in state at the Sampaloc Chapel at La Funeraria Paz in Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque City until Jan. 4. The cremation and inurment will likely be on Sunday to allow her sister Cristie to fly home to catch the final rites, said fellow writer and friend Joel Pablo Salud in a Facebook post.
Ms. Mayuga is survived by her son Aya, two sisters, and two brothers. — MAPS