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Alejandro Reyes Roces, better known as Anding Roces or Alejandro R. Roces, is a Filipino fictionist, essayist, dramatist and a National Artist of the Philippines for literature. He is also a short story writer and essayist. "Anding", as he is fondly called by friends and family, was born in Manila 13 July 1924. He is married to Irene Viola and has a daughter named Elizabeth. He received his elementary and high school education at the Ateneo de Manila University. He graduated from the State University of Arizona with a B.A. in Fine Arts and went on to get an M.A. from Far Eastern University.[1] He was a captain in Marking's Guerillas during World War II and later on ran a column in the Manila Chronicle and in the Manila Times. He was the former president of the Manila Bulletin, and presently runs a column titled "Roses and Thorns" in the Philippine Star. He was a former Secretary of Education and is now President of CAP College Foundation, a distance learning college in Makati City, Philippines. In 2001, he was appointed to as chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

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Writings

During his freshman year in the University of Arizona, Roces won Best Short Story for We Filipinos are Mild Drinkers. Along with We Filipinos are Mild Drinkers, My Brother’s Peculiar Chicken was also listed as Martha Foley’s Best American Stories among the most distinctive for 1948 and 1951. He has also received honorary doctorates from Tokyo University and Polytechnic University of the Philippines [1]. He has won numerous awards, including the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinlangan Award, the Diwa ng Lahi Award, the Tanging Parangal of the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining, and the Rizal Pro Patria Award. He was named National Artist of Literature in 2003. His books are Of Cocks and Kites (1959), Fiesta (1980), and Something to Crow About (2005). Of Cocks and Kites earned him the reputation as the country's best writer of humorous stories. It also contained a widely anthologized piece called “My Brother’s Peculiar Chicken”. "Fiesta", a book of essays, featured folk festivals such as Ermita's Bota Flores, Aklan's Ati-atihan, and Naga's Peñafrancia.

Roces is also the author of the critically-acclaimed play Something to Crow About. It the first Filipino zarzuela in English. This modern zarzuela was adapted from his collection of short stories with the same title. The story is about a poor cockfighter named Kiko who, to his wife's chagrin, pays more attention to the roosters than to her. His brother Leandro later becomes rivals against Golem, the son of a wealthy and powerful man, over the affections of a beautiful woman named Luningning. The solution? A cockfight, of course. Something to Crow About won the Aliw Award for Best Musical and Best Director for a Musical Production.

Regarding writing, Roces has said, "You cannot be a great writer; first, you have to be a good person".[2]

Awards

Among the awards he received are the Rizal Pro Patria Award, the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award in 1970 and the Diwa ng Lahi Award in 1988--both from the city government of Manila, and the Tanging Parangal of the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining in 1990.

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Alejandro Reyes Roces, better known to close friends and family as Anding, is a Filipino fictionalist, essayist, dramatist and a National Artist of the Philippines for literature. Infamous for his short stories, Anding was born in Manila on the 13th of July 1924. He is married to Irene Viola, and has a daughter named Elizabeth. Anding attended elementary and high school at the Ateneo de Manila University, before moving to the State University of Arizona for his tertiary education. He graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts and, not long after, attained his M.A. from Far Eastern University back in the Philippines.[1] Through his colorful youth, Roces was a captain in the Marking’s Guerilla during World War II and a columnist in Philippine dailies such as the Manila Chronicle and the Manila Times. He also once became President of the Manila Bulletin and the CAP College Foundation. To many Filipinos, Roces is best known for his stint as Secretary of Education and more recently, as Chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). At present, Alejandro Roces is a member of the Board of Trustees of GSIS (Government Service Insurance System) and expresses his passion for writing and educating the public by maintaining a column in the Philippine Star called Roses and Thorns.

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Literary works

During his freshman year in the University of Arizona, Roces won Best Short Story for We Filipinos are Mild Drinkers. Another of his stories, My Brother’s Peculiar Chicken, was listed as Martha Foley’s Best American Stories among the most distinctive for years 1948 and 1951. He has since received honorary doctorates from Tokyo University and Polytechnic University of the Philippines [1]. Roces did not only focus on short stories alone, as he also published books such as Of Cocks and Kites (1959), Fiesta (1980), and Something to Crow About (2005). Of Cocks and Kites earned him the reputation as the country's best writer of humorous stories. It also contained the widely anthologized piece “My Brother’s Peculiar Chicken”. Fiesta, is a book of essays, featuring folk festivals such as Ermita's Bota Flores, Aklan's Ati-atihan, and Naga's Peñafrancia.

Something to Crow About, on the other hand, is a collection of Roces’ short stories. The book has been recently brought to life by a critically-acclaimed play of the same title; the staged version of Something to Crow About is the first Filipino zarzuela in English. This modern zarzuela tells the story of a poor cockfighter named Kiko who, to his wife's chagrin, pays more attention to the roosters than to her. Later in the story, a conflict ensues between Kiko’s brother Leandro and Golem, the son of a wealthy and powerful man, over the affections of a beautiful woman named Luningning. The resolution? A cockfight, of course. Something to Crow About won the Aliw Award for Best Musical and Best Director for a Musical Production.

Through the years, Roces has won numerous awards, including the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award, the Diwa ng Lahi Award, the Tanging Parangal of the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining, and the Rizal Pro Patria Award. He was finally bestowed the honor as National Artist of Literature on the 25th of June 2003.

When once asked for a piece of advice on becoming a famous literary figure Roces said, "You cannot be a great writer; first, you have to be a good person".[2]

Awards

  • National Artist Award for Literature, Republic of the Philippines – 2003
  • The Rizal Pro Patria Award, Republic of the Philippines
  • Grand Cross for Distinguished Service with Star and Epaulement of the Order for Distinguished Service of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Orden de Isabel la Catolica, Spain
  • Gran Cruz la Orden del MeritoCivil, Spain
  • Orden de la Aguila Azteca, Mexico
  • Tanda Kehormatan Bintang Mahaputera, Republic of Indonesia
  • Grand Maitre de L’Ordre National, Republic of Malagasy
  • Order of the White Elephant, Kingdom of Thailand
  • Order of the Brilliant Star, China
  • One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines, chosen by the Junior Chamber of Commerce for distinction in Journalism
  • Awarded, Patnubay ng Kalinangan (Vanguard of Cul*ture), City of Manila – 1988
  • Granted the Conde de Foxa Award for El Llegado and La Campana de Baler at the Certamen Cine Documental Ibero-Americano y Filipino, Bilbao, Spain
  • Awarded, Diwa ng Lahi (Spirit of the Race), City of Manila – 1988
  • Appointed Honorary Ambassador-at-Large for Guam - 1998
  • Awarded the Tanging Parangal ng CCP, Gawad CCP Para sa Sining – 1990
  • Philippines S.E.A. Write Awardee – 1997
  • Recipient of Plaque of Recognition, The Royal and Pontifical, University of Santo Tomassss (UST) - 1999
  • Recipient of Green and Gold Artist Award, Far Eastern University (FEU) – 1994
  • Recipient of Special Plaque of Recognition from the Consulate General of the Philippines to Guam
  • Recipient Plaque of Appreciation from the Korea Art Culture Association of the Republic of South Korea
  • Recipient of Plaque of Recognition from the Filipino-American Service Group, Inc. – 2007
  • Recipient of Mayor’s Commendation, City of Glendale, CA, USA – Given by Mayor Ara Njarian- 2007
  • Recipient of the Certificate of Recognition given by the County of Santa Clara, CA, USA – 2007
  • Recipient of Plaque of Appreciation, Philippine National BANK (PNB) – 2007
  • Recipient of Plaque of Recognition, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) – 2003
  • Recipient of Outstanding Citizen Award, City of Makati, 1997
  • Recipient of Plaque of Appreciation from the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) – 1994
  • Recipient of Plaque of Appreciation from the Philippine Association of Management Accountants – 1997
  • Recipient of Plaque of Appreciation from the League of Vice Governors of the Philippines – 1999
  • Recipient of Plaque of Appreciation from the Philippine British Society – 2003
  • Recipient of Plaque of Appreciation from the Consular Corps of the Philippines – 2006
  • Recipient of Plaque of Gratitude from the Diwa Scholastic Press, Inc. – 2005
  • Recipient of the Statuette of Fr. Theopiel Verbist, Founder of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Louis University – 2004
  • Recipient of the Maria Clara Legacy Award – 2006

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