Manuel E. Arguilla, A Writer, A Patriot

799 words - 4 pages

MANUEL E. ARGUILLA
(1911-1944?)
Writer, Patriot, and Martyr Manuel E. Arguilla, acclaimed short story writer, patriot, and
guerilla hero, was born in Bauang,
La Union on June 17, 1911. He was the fourth child of Crisanto Arguilla and Margarita
Estabillo, hard-working farmer folk
who owned a small piece of land. Aside from being a farmer, his father was also a
carpenter; his mother, on the other
hand, was an occasional potter.
When he was seven years old, he enrolled in a school in the neighboring barrio, where
Alfredo Abuan taught him the
cartilla. Later, he transferred to the public elementary school in Bauang, La Union and
graduated in 1926.
Arguilla was a ...view middle of the document...

The Arguilla’s home
along M.H. del Pilar in Manila became a sanctuary for friends and fellow writers, such
as Estrella Alfon, Jose Garcia Villa,
N.V.M. Gonzales and A.V.H. Hartendorp.
Believing in the literature of social commitment, Arguilla did not remain a teacher for
long for he also believed that writers
were born, not made, and that a talent for writing was an innate attribute that could
never be taught or acquired. Before
leaving his students, he counseled them to just read volumes of stories. His only
collection of stories "How my Brother
Leon Brought Home a Wife" won first prize award for the short story (English) in the first
Commonwealth literary contest
in 1940.
In 1940, he became the managing editor of the Bureau of Welfare newsletter, the
Welfare Advocate. He worked at the
Bureau for three years until the latter half of 1943. By then, the country had been under
Japanese occupation for two
years. He was appointed to the Board of Censors and was asked to serve in the
Japanese propaganda agency. But
Arguilla had also just become an agent of the Markings Guerillas. Thus, while
apparently working for the Japanese, he
was actually heading the “Porch,” the Markings’ counter-intelligence and propaganda
unit operating in Manila.
It was not long before the enemy discovered his guerillas activities, and subsequently,
had him arrested in February
1944. Along with his...

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