Rice by Manuel Arguilla

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By: Manuel Estabillo Arguilla

Submitted to: Mr Benjamin R. Sacla

Submitted by: Denmark S. Ambucay

I. Writers Background

He was born in Barrio Naguilian in Bauang, La Union on June 17, 1911. He was the fourth child of Crisanto Arguilla and Margarita Estabillo, hard-working farmer folk who owned a small piece of land. Aside from being a farmer, his father was also a carpenter; his mother, on the other hand, was an occasional potter.

When he was seven years old, he enrolled in a school in the neighbouring Barrio Calumbaya, where he was taught the cartilla by Alfredo Abuan. Later, he transferred to the public elementary school in Bauang, La Union and graduated in 1926.

Arguilla was a brilliant and active student. Aside from excelling in academics at the provincial high school in San Fernando, he edited as well the school’s official organ, the La Union Tab. A wide reader, he won in a vocabulary contest held in the school. He was a champion swimmer and an expert tango dancer, constantly winning in dance contests. He was known to have a “therapeutic” personality and was well-loved by everyone he knew; for he liked to listen to people tell him their stories. Anything that interested him became an almost intrinsic part of him. It took him only three years to complete his secondary education, graduating as class salutatorian in high school.

In 1926, he entered the University of the Philippines. While studying, he worked as a writer and printing assistant at the Carmelo and Bauermann office. He became a member of the UP Writers Club, and eventually led it in the school year 1932-1933. He also came to edit the Literary Apprentice. In 1933, he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Science in education. During the same period, he married Lydia Villanueva, another aspiring writer.

After graduating, he taught at the University of Manila while working at the Bureau of Public Welfare. The Arguillas’ home along M.H. Del Pilar in...
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