El Campeon

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El campeón”, an unpublished novel of Filipino writer Antonio M. Abad, is set to make its debut in the Ateneo de Manila University at 4:30pm. This novel will be the third instalment in the collection Clásicos Hispanofilipinos, an initiative by Instituto Cervantes to preserve the works of Filipino authors written in Spanish.

Antonio M. Abad (1894-1970) is a poet, playwright, essayist and novelist born in Cebu and is frequently referred to as “the greatest Hispanic Filipino novelist after Rizal”. In 1927, he published his first novel “El último romantico” and two years after, he won the Premio Zobel, said to be the most prestigious award in the field of Filipino literature for the novel “La oveja de Nathan”.

The novel “El campeón” is told from the point-of-view of the rooster Banogon who, after suffering a crippling injury in a cockfight, had been destined for the chopping board. However, because of his fame as a cockfighting champion, he is instead brought to a farm where he was to guard the mother hens from preying hawks. There, he befriends the caretaker, with whom he shares the tales of his reign as a national champion and the story of his first great love, Baikiki, whom he eventually meets again in the den where he was destined to spend his remaining days as a cripple. To fully appreciate the genius that Abad had created, it must be noted that “El campeón” was written during a time when the American colonial government had been pushing for the eradication of cockfighting in the Philippines. The novel was Abad’s reflection on the polemic that was resonating in the streets of Manila then. In reply, Abad wrote about the art inherent in this sport that many Filipinos, up to this very day, take delight in.

“El campeón” will be available at the Ateneo University Press as well as in other selected bookstores as well as at Instituto Cervantes.

Ateneo de Manila University
Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Tuesday March 5, 2013
4:30 PM


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