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Monday, April 29, 2013

About | Santiago Villafania



Santiago Villafania is a bilingual Filipino poet who writes in English and in his native language of Pangasinan. Born in Tuliao, Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan on 31 January 1971, Villafania graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Pangasinan in 1991.

Villafania advocates for the resurgence of Pangasinan as a literary language. His works in the vernacular are some of the most representative, if not among the few that comprise that Pangasinan contemporary literary body. In his first book Balikas na Caboloan (Verses from Caboloan), the Pangasinan anlong resurfaces asserting its tradition amidst intersecting and pollinating genres and literary influences. His book of poems, Malagilion: Sonnets tan Villanelles, is an attempt to open the propylaea of literary renaissance in Pangasinan. This second book by Pangasinan’s leading poet today is impressive in both form and substance. Villafania has created 300 sonnets and 50 villanelles in his own language that attempt to reflect the primacy of native culture and return the poet to the central stage of social life.

Some of his poems have appeared in local and international print and web publications: Balon Silew, Sunday Punch, Philippines Free Press, Philippine Graphic, ANI, UNDER THE STORM: An Anthology of Contemporary Philippine Poetry, Crowns and Oranges: Works by Young Philippine Poets, Philippine Panorama, Manila Times / Sunday Magazine, Magnapoets, Poezia | ANUL XIV Nr. 4(50), Literary Apprentice, Taj Mahal Review, The Heron
s Nest, HaikuHuts Short Stuff, Ygdrasil, Crimson Feet, In Our Own Words 1 & 2, Picolata Review, MindFire, etc. His poetry collection in Pangasinan language Balikas na Caboloan is among the works published by the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) under its UBOD New Authors Series (2005).

His works have also been translated into Spanish, Italian, Hindi, and Arabic. His unpublished book of poems ‘Murtami’ was translated into Hindi entitled ‘Premanjali’ and was released in the New Delhi World Book Fair in 2013.

Villafania is one of the 11 Outstanding Pangasinenses conferred with the 2010 Asna Award for the Arts and Culture (Literature) during the first Agew na Pangasinan and also the 430th Foundation Anniversary of the province on 5 April 2010. His book, Malagilion was recognized by the National Book Development Board and Manila Critics Circle as Finalist for Best Book of Poetry in the 27th National Book Award. He is a member of the Philippine PEN and currently writes a literature and culture weekly column for the Sunday Punch.


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A Tao 道 Sign

Le poèt de Pangasinan

Santiago B. Villafania, a bilingual Filipino poet who writes in English and in his native language of Pangasinan, is the author of poetry collections Bonsaic Verses (2012), Pinabli and Other Poems (2012), Malagilion: Sonnets tan Villanelles (2007), and Balikas na Caboloan (Voices from Caboloan, 2005) published by the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) under its UBOD New Authors Series. He has been published in several countries and translated into several languages. Villafania is one of the 11 Outstanding Pangasinan conferred with the 2010 ASNA Award for the Arts and Culture (literature) during the first Agew na Pangasinan and also the 430th Foundation Day of the province on April 2010. He is a member of Philippine PEN writes a regular weekly column for the Sunday Punch.

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A collection of ghazals in Pangasinan language. Order now at Amazon.com


A collection of haiku, senryu, tanka, haiga, and other poems in English and Pangasinan language. Order now at Amazon.com


“Santiago Villafania is a searcher with a seemingly insatiable curiosity and endurance. His quest has brought him to explore world poetry from points East and West. He is no stranger to sophisticated verse forms such the Sapphic strophe nor to the diverse permutations of the Japanese haiku. But he is not a formalist, he has daringly explored Asian and Western cultures in a very personal way and writes his mind with a daring, invigorating, aesthetically pleasing ease. In his poetry Villafania displays not only a breadth, but it feels very much like a breath of fresh air.” – Ute Margaret Saine, poet, critic, translator, past president of PEN Orange County and the former editor of the California Poetry Quarterly

“Villafania’s emergence as a poet is a fine moment to celebrate. Another voice from the regions augurs a richer body of writing that Filipinos can hold up as a mirror of our native culture.” – Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature

The Beloved Idiom | A Reading of Villafania’s ‘Pinabli & other poems’ by Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo


LCCN.: 2010338612

Order your copy now at CreateSpace or Amazon.com :)

"The publication of Malagilion: Sonnets tan Villanelles by Santiago B. Villafania should be a source of rejoicing for readers of regional literatures. This second book by Pangasinan's leading poet today is impressive in both form and substance. Villafania has created 300 sonnets and 50 villanelles in his own language that attempt to reflect the primacy of native culture and return the poet to the central stage of social life."A Boost to Pangasinan Literature from Breaking Signs by Cirilo F. Bautista (Philippine Panorama, 16 Dec. 2007, pp.25-26)

"Villafania is not only a visionary poet, he is a linguistic philosopher who codifies the origin of language and culture, dissects the myths and the common beliefs of the people against the urban legends, juxtaposes the literary tradition against the modern influences by dialectically infusing them in his poetic revelation of truth."Poetic Revelation in Language and Culture by Danny C. Sillada (Manila Bulletin, 12 May 2008, pp. F1-F2)

Photos: Book Launching at the Pearl Manila Hotel, 5 Feb. 2008


"Santiago Villafania's Balikas ed Caboloan certainly has reinvigorated the anlong tradition of Pangasinan that for a long period of time suffered silence from the hands of writers more attuned to English writing. Characteristically anacbanua, Villafania's poetry echoes his predecessors and presages a promising era for young writers in Pangasinan." – Dr. Marot Nelmida-Flores

Thesis: Bilay ed Caboloan - Reconfiguration of Space using a New Historicist Lens by Ayesah Tecson

from Pangasinan 'Anlong': Oral tradition into the 21st century published in Manila Times / Sunday Magazine, March 13 & 20, 2011.

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In Many Tongues

Translations of Sonnet To A Pilgrim Soul in different languages.

Translations of Erolalia in German, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian, and Hindi language. And here is the 1st version of the poem published in The Sunday Times (Manila Times, 11.23.2003).

Six of my poems translated into Arabic by Prof. Abdul-Settar Abdul-Latif (English Dept., College of Education, University of Basrah, Iraq) and have been published in TEXT - the Cultural Monthly Journal, Issue No.13

Swansong of the sea with translations in Italian, Arabic, Hindi, and Spanish.

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