About Nick Joaquin

Topics: Philippines, José Rizal, Manila Pages: 5 (1057 words) Published: February 20, 2012
About Nick Joaquin

Nicomedes Marquez Joaquin (May 4, 1917–April 29, 2004) was a Filipino writer, historian and journalist, best known for his short stories and novels in the English language. He also wrote using the pen name Quijano de Manila. Joaquin was conferred the rank and title of National Artist of the Philippines for Literature.

He is considered the most important Filipino writer in English, and the third most important overall, after José Rizal and Claro M. Recto.


Early life and education

Joaquin was born in Paco, Manila, one of ten children of Leocadio Joaquin, a colonel under General Emilio Aguinaldo in the 1896 Revolution, and Salome Marquez, a teacher of English and Spanish. After being read poems and stories by his mother, the boy Joaquin read widely in his father's library and at the National Library of the Philippines. By then, his father had become a successful lawyer after the revolution. From reading, Joaquin became interested in writing.

At age 17, Joaquin had his first piece published, in the literary section of the pre-World War II Tribune, where he worked as a proofreader. It was accepted by the writer and editor Serafín Lanot. After Joaquin won a nationwide essay competition to honor La Naval de Manila, sponsored by the Dominican Order, the University of Santo Tomas awarded him an honorary Associate in Arts (A.A.). They also awarded him a scholarship to St. Albert's Convent, the Dominican monastery in Hong Kong.


After returning to the Philippines, Joaquin joined the Philippines Free Press, starting as a proofreader. Soon he attracted notice for his poems, stories and plays, as well as his journalism under the pen name Quijano de Manila. His journalism was both intellectual and provocative, an unknown genre in the Philippines at that time, and he raised the level of reportage in the country.

Joaquin deeply admired José Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines. Joaquin paid tribute to him in books such as The Storyteller's New Medium - Rizal in Saga, The Complete Poems and Plays of Jose Rizal, and A Question of Heroes: Essays in Criticism on Ten Key Figures of Philippine History. He translated the hero's valedictory poem, in the original Spanish Mi Ultimo Adios, as "Land That I Love, Farewell!" Joaquin represented the Philippines at the International PEN Congress in Tokyo in 1957, and was appointed as a member of the Motion Pictures commission under presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Ferdinand E. Marcos.

After being honored as National Artist, Joaquin used his position to work for intellectual freedom in society. He secured the release of imprisoned writer José F. Lacaba. At a ceremony on Mount Makiling attended by First Lady Imelda Marcos, Joaquin delivered an invocation to Mariang Makiling, the mountain's mythical maiden. Joaquin touched on the importance of freedom and the artist. After that, Joaquin was excluded by the Marcos regime as a speaker from important cultural events.

Joaquin died of cardiac arrest in the early morning of April 29, 2004, at his home in San Juan, Metro Manila. He was then editor of Philippine Graphic magazine where he worked with Juan P. Dayang, who was the magazine's first publisher. Joaquin was also publisher of its sister publication, Mirror Weekly, a women’s magazine. He also wrote the column (“Small Beer”) for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Isyu, an opinion tabloid.


Tatarin (2001), a movie based on Joaquin’s short story "The Summer Solstice", was directed by Amable “Tikoy” Aguiluz. The screenplay was written by Ricardo Lee. Joaquin was consulted on the film. The cast included notable Filipino actors Edu Manzano (as Paeng Moreta,) Dina Bonnevie (Lupe Moreta), Rica Peralejo (Amada), and Raymond B. Bagatsing.


• May Day Eve (1947)
• Prose and Poems (1952)
• The Woman Who had Two Navels (1961)
• La Naval de Manila and Other Essays (1964)
• A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino (1966)...
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