National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera passed away on Sept. 28, 2021 due to a stroke. He was 89.
A noted poet, critic, and dramatist, Lumbera was orphaned at an early age of five. His life in the arts started at the University of Sto. Tomas, where he studied and mastered literature. In 1968, he got his doctorate in Comparative Literature from Indiana University. This allowed him to teach literature, Philippines studies, and creative writing to students here and abroad.
During Martial Law, Lumbera worked on a number of musical theater plays. Among his famous musical dramas are “Tales of the Manuvu,” “Rama, Hari,” “Nasa Puso ang Amerika,” “Bayani,” “Noli Me Tángere,” and “Hibik at Himagsik nina Victoria Laktaw.”
Thanks to his master works, the artist from Lipa earned a Palanca Award for Literature in 1975, a 1999 Cultural Center of the Philippines Centennial Honors for the Arts, and was proclaimed National Artist in April 2006.