Monday, September 24, 2012

ESTRELLA D. ALFON - Prolific Filipina Writer from Cebu

ESTRELLA D. ALFON - Prolific Filipina Writer from Cebu (1917-1983)

I'm shining the spotlight on Estrella D. Alfon who was born in Cebu on July 18, 1917.  She was a good friend of another Cebuana writer, Lina Espina-Moore.  Alfon grew up on Espeleta Street near San Nicolas Church, Cebu City. She was only a student when she started getting her fiction published in the Graphic Weekly Magazine, Philippine Magazine, and the Sunday Tribune.

She was in medical school when she was misdiagnosed as having tuberculosis; she left medical school and acquired an AA degree.

When the Alfon family moved to Manila, Estrella became part of the Veronicans, the legendary writers group led by Francisco Arcellana and H.R. Ocampo. She reportedly was the only woman member.

Before World War II, Alfon married Captain Bernardino Rivera; they had five children and ten grandchildren.

Separated from Rivera, Alfon pursued her literary career. She wrote short stories, which Lina Espina-Moore collected -  "Stories of Estrella Alfon" Giraffe, 1994. Her stories won awards: the Arena Theater Play Writing Contest, several Palanca Awards, among others.

She was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of the Philippi8nes; she was a member of the UP Writers Club, and  in 1979, she received the National Fellowship in Fiction post at the U.P. Creative Writing Center.

She died on December 28, 1983 from a heart attack.

Here are links to one of her short stories, "Magnificence"

Feedback from Louie Nacorda:
Louie Nacorda BB, I met her as a boy, as she was a good friend of my mom. I read her works in high school and she was one of those who inspired me to attempt writing. I even interviewed her for our assignment in Literature to feature a Filipino writer in English, and she graceiously answered all the questions I asked. I would place her beside the French writer Guy de Maupassant in terms of describing with full emotions the characters of her stories. I even used her description of Guadalupe river in pre-WW2 times, (O Perfect Day!), in my doctoral dissertation (River Management). In that article, she described how Cebuanos would go to Guadalupe to picnic and bath in the then pristine river, behind the church, which today, is sadly, a biologically dead river. But her Magnificence was what struck me vividly in our high school Literature class. May her soul rest in peace+

I think Tita Esther also published a magazine back in the 60's. I remember my mom bringing home some copies. I think it was called "ESTRELLA's MODES AND MOVIES". I never got to read a copy though.

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