Higaonon novelist and poet has passed away

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Telesforo Sugdan Sungkit Jr. at a student conference in 2014. Photo from TS Sungkit Jr’s Facebook page.

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/July 19) – Novelist and poet Higaonon Telesforo Sugdan Sungkit Jr. died on Tuesday morning.

Ramel S. Sungkit, an older brother, confirmed the information Tuesday noon. He said his brother died in Los Baños, Laguna, where he lived with his family.

Ramel said his brother’s ashes would be taken to his hometown, Malitbog, Bukidnon.

Sungkit, who describes himself as a farmer who writes, is the author of “Batbat Hi Udan” (2009), a Filipino-language novel. He also wrote “Mga Gapnod sa Kamad-an”, a Cebuano novel, which he translated into English.

He wrote in four languages, Higaonon, Cebuano, Filipino and English.

The 42-year-old Bukidnon-born writer won the 2009 National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) Writer’s Award for the Cebuano novel ‘Mga Gapnod sa Kamad-an’.

The publishing house of the University of Santo Tomas published the translation “Driftwood on Dry Land”.

Sungkit again won the 2013 NCCA Writers Prize for Cebuano’s novel ‘Ang Agalon sa mga Balod (Lord of the Waves)’.

Her Cebuano novel “Mga Tigmo sa Balagbatbat” won the 2014 National Book Development Board Trust Fund for Writers.

Bisaya Magasin published her novel “Mga Gapnod sa Kamad-an” in serial form.

The same Cebuano-language magazine serialized his new novel “Ang Bagani sa mga Tagna”.

His poem “I Higaonon” has been included in different anthologies and included in the Handbook of Contemporary Philippine Literature. His “Tula” (Cebuano for poems) can be read via www.balaybalakasoy.blogspot.com using his pseudonym Anijun Mudan-udan.

Bukidnon’s first published epic novel

In 2009, Sungkit launched his book “Batbat Hi Udan” (The Story of Udan) during the Kaamulan Festival, Bukidnon’s first epic novel. Written in Filipino, “Batbat Hi Udan” was once described as the Filipino version of “The Lord of the Rings.”

The novel tells the story of Udan (Binukid for “rain”), a young man, and his journey to a hidden world called Lidasan under the range of Mount Kitanglad, and his love for Ananaw (the beloved). The character’s journey setting in “Batbat Hi Udan” covers the present-day cities of Lantapan, Sumilao, and Impasugong, and the city of Malaybalay.

Sungkit had an agricultural engineering degree from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños. He set up a tutoring school in Laguna, but for six months in 2005 he wrote the first draft of Batbat. He was once based in the town of Malitbog, where he wrote and cultivated at the same time.

Sungkit is a former literary and native language editor and member of the management committee of BukidnonNews.Net.

In February 2022, Sungkit spoke as a guest speaker in an episode of the Cultural Heritage Lecture Series of Bukidnon Studies Center, a unit of Bukidnon State University. (MidaNews)

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