Eliezar Iñigo is a former instructor at University of the Philippines Los Baños. He has a bachelor’s degree in Philippine Studies from UP Diliman. A former participant of Darmasiswa Scholarship Republik Indonesia from 2019-2020, he is now a graduate student of applied linguistics at Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta. His undergraduate research, dealing with the life and work of Rene O. Villanueva, will be published this year by the University of the Philippines. E-mail: eliezar.inigo@yahoo.com


Nightmarish Futures and Grim Realities: Glimpses of Somber Themes in Rene O. Villanueva’s Stories for Children

Abstract: Rene O. Villanueva (1954-2007) was a Filipino writer regarded as “the father of modern children’s literature in the Philippines.” During his long career, Villanueva wrote around a hundred storybooks, children’s poems, and young adult novels. He often wrote about myths, legends, lives of heroes, and historical events. He was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2002. This paper introduces Villanueva as writer and legend in the field of children’s literature in the Philippines and gives a preview of his works. Alongside his usual themes, Villanueva’s creativity and brilliance in story writing is shown by his treatment of dystopia, human rights, and sustainability. He was also able to combine the futuristic, the mystical, and the grave, while illuminating and enlightening its intended readers. The paper will focus on the stories “Blip!” “Emang Encantada at ang Tatlong Haragan,” and “Nemo, ang Batang Papel.” This study aims to show the charm and power of Villanueva’s writings, while contributing to the scholarship about children’s literature in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
Keywords: Rene O. Villanueva, Philippine literature, children’s literature, storybook, Philippines