Early life and education
Joaquín was born in Paco, Manila, one of ten children of Leocadio Joaquín, a colonel under General Emilio Aguinaldo in the 1896 Revolution, and Salome Márquez, a teacher of English and Spanish. After being read poems and stories by his mother, the boy Joaquín 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, Joaquín became interested in writing. At age 17, Joaquín 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 Joaquín 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. Career
After returning to the Philippines, Joaquín 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. Joaquín deeply admired José Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines. Joaquín 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!" Joaquín 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, Joaquín delivered an invocation to Mariang Makiling, the mountain's mythical maiden. Joaquín touched on the importance of freedom and the artist. After that, Joaquín was excluded by the Marcos regime as a speaker from important cultural events. Joaquín died of cardiac arrest in the early morning of April 29, 2004, at his home in San Juan, Metro Manila. He was then editor ofPhilippine 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 Inquirerand Isyu, an opinion tabloid.
May Day Eve
By Nick Joaquin
The old people had ordered that the dancing should stop at ten o’clock but it was almost midnight before the carriages came filing up the departing guests, while the girls who were staying were promptly herded upstairs to the bedrooms, the young men gathering around to wish them a good night and lamenting their ascent with mock signs and moaning, proclaiming themselves disconsolate but straightway going off to finish the punch and the brandy though they were quite drunk already and simply bursting with wild spirits, merriment, arrogance and audacity, for they were young bucks newly arrived from Europe; the ball had been in their honor; and they had waltzed and polka-ed and bragged and swaggered and flirted all night and where in no mood to sleep yet--no, caramba, not on this moist tropic eve! not on this mystic May eve! --with the night still young and so seductive that it was madness not to go out, not to go forth---and serenade the neighbors! cried one; and swim in the Pasid! cried another; and gather fireflies!...