Pillar of Ilokano Literature Dies, 91

SANTA MARIA, ILOCOS SUR–Dr. Dedicacion Agatep Reyes, the other half of the so-called Main Pillars of Ilokano Literature, died of a lingering illness last Saturday in her hometown here.

Dr. Reyes was the first president of the University of Northern Philippines based in Vigan City, which is celebrating this year its 50th anniversary.She was the widow of Dr. Godofredo S. Reyes, 13-time president of Gunglo dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano-Filipinas, the national association of Ilokano writers, who died several years ago, also in Sta. Maria.

Dr. Cion, as she was popularly known, had been also Vice-Governor of Ilocos Sur. She will be buried here on October 30.

The Reyes couple used to host the annual Ilokano writing seminars and conferences at their beach resort in the coastal village of Suso.

Ilokano literary luminary, Dr. Aurelio Solver Agcaoili of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who is currently in the country in connection with the Mother Language Education Program, said in a statement:

“She was a pillar of Ilokano life, letters, language and academic life. As president of the University of Northern Philippines, she worked through the filth and mud, and nonetheless, made it sure that her province would have its share of the best in thought and professional training for its young. Today, the university ranks as one of the best in the country.

“Through Nana Cion and Dr. Godo Reyes, who was also Ilocos Sur governor and Congressman, Ilokano writing had its heyday, opening their home and their Suso Beach Resort for those numberless gatherings where we had to talk about the lyricism of our sad, sad, sad Ilokano lives.”

US-based journalist and creative writer, Peter La. Julian, in an e-mail message, said that the Reyes spouses left a wide void in Literatura Ilokana that would be hard to fill in the coming years. “They had always been supportive of Ilokano writing since the inception of seminars and conferences as activities for the improvement of the regional literature,” he said. Guerrero Coloma/NorthboundPH