By Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman

NATIONAL ARTIST for Literature Cirilo F. Bautista passed away on Sunday, May 6. He was 76.
Mr. Bautista was confined last month at the Philippine Heart Center for severe pneumonia. No further details of his wake has been announced as of this reporting.
Mr. Bautista was a poet, fictionist, essayist, teacher, columnist, and critic. His works include The Trilogy of Saint Lazarus, Sunlight on Broken Stones, Words and Battlefields, Kirot ng Kataga, and Galaw ng Asoge.
Born in 1941, Mr. Bautista received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and Master of Arts in Literature at St. Louis University in Baguio, graduating on both occasions magna cum laude. He was also Doctor of Arts in Language and Literature at De La Salle University (DLSU).
In between writing, he entered the teaching profession, becoming a professor at Waseda University in Japan and Ohio University in US. He also taught poetry and creative writing at DLSU, where he was Professor Emeritus, and was instrumental in establishing DLSU’s Bienvenido Santos Creative Writing Center.
The DLSU Department of Literature said on its Facebook page: “It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of our beloved professor/mentor and perhaps the greatest poet in the annals of Philippine literature — Dr. Cirilo F. Bautista. Rest in peace, our Moses, Gandalf, Nero Wolfe, Obi Wan Kenobi. ‘Til we meet again in Paradise.’”
At UST he had served The Varsitarian as a literary editor. He was also a longtime literary editor and columnist of Manila Bulletin’s Panorama magazine, where he published works by emerging and established writers.
Mr. Bautista also paved the way for the foundation of writing organizations in the country: the Baguio Writers Club, Philippine Literary Arts Council in 1981, and Iligan National Writers Workshop in 1993.
Mr. Bautista was also a Palanca Hall of Fame awardee and was a recipient of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Gawad CCP Para sa Sining and an Achievement Award from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in 2013.
For his part, Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said “Dr. Bautista’s contribution to the continuous growth and progress of Philippine literature will always be inscribed in the pages of our nation’s history. His teachings and literary works will live on forever.”