Thursday, September 27, 2012

LIGAYA VICTORIO FRUTO - Pre-war Filipina Writer and Magazine Editor

LIGAYA VICTORIO FRUTO (b 1914- d 2001) was born and raised in the Philippines. She was trained as a teacher at the Philippine Normal School. While still in her teens, she began teaching and writing stories which were published in leading national publications. "She won several short story awards, one for a story she whipped up while trying out a new typewriter," according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

She taught in Baguio and her early stories were about the people of the mountain region. As a journalist Fruto worked for the pre-war Tribune, forerunner of the Manila Times.

In the 1930s in Manila, she was, as the Honolulu Star Bulletin says, "a rising star in literary and journalistic circles until the war intervened."  During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, despite fear that the Japanese would pick her up, Fruto wrote wartime editorials urging calm until the Americans returned.

She married a newspaper reporter, Ramon Reyes, who died during World War II.

In 1946, she joined the press office of the Philippine President Manuel Roxas. Shortly after, she went to Hawaii to help start the Philippine Consulate there. She married Honolulu Engineer Lorenzo Fruto and lived in Hawaii until her death in 2001.

In Honolulu, she was a feature writer for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin from 1952-1968. 

She was a strong opponent of the Marcos regime and was a key supporter for Cory's presidency.

She and her husband established a scholarship fund for civil engineering students and helped start the Newman Center at the University of Hawaii.

She wrote two books: Yesterday and Other Stories, and One Rainbow for the Duration. Her short story, "The Fan" is part of Fiction by Filipinos in America (New Day , 1993).

She died in 2001 in Redwood City, California, at the age of 87.

Other information re Ligaya Fruto:

Honolulu Star-Bulletin Hawaii News re Fruto's Passing

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