National Artist Edith Tiempo's legacy 'an eternal flame'

Posted at 08/22/2011 3:26 PM | Updated as of 08/22/2011 6:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Edith Tiempo, widely acknowledged as the Mother of Philippine Literature, passed away on Sunday afternoon. She was 92.

Newspaper reports said Tiempo died of a myocardial infarction, or the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart. Doctors at the Silliman Medical Center in Dumaguete City pronounced her dead at 5:35 p.m.

She is survived by son Maldon, daughter Rowena, son-in-law Lemuel, and grandchildren.

Some of Tiempo's works include novels A Blade of Fern, His Native Coast and One, tilting leaves, short story Abide, Joshua and Other Stories, and The Tracks of Babylon and Other Poems, among others.

She was conferred the National Artist Award for Literature in 1999.

'Most brilliant of writers'

Silliman University said on Monday that Tiempo's legacy is "an eternal flame, a permanent fixture in Silliman history."

"Memories of her heartwarming smile, soft-spoken personality and the nurturing touch of her hands will forever spark the brilliance in both established and budding creative writers in the Philippines and beyond," university president Dr. Ben Malayang III said in a statement.

"As we move ahead, Dr. Tiempo remains to twinkle above us and our memories of her sparkle in her hearts."

Tiempo, together with her husband Edilberto, founded the Silliman National Writers' Workshop, the longest-running literary workshop in Asia.

Malayang said Silliman will remember Tiempo as the university celebrates its 110th Founders' Day.

"Silliman extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Dr. Tiempo. We join the Silliman community and the country in prayer," he said.

Palace, Pinoys mourn writers' deaths

Malacañang on Sunday mourned the deaths of Tiempo and 85-year-old writer and journalist Kerima Polotan Tuvera, who died of a lingering illness on Friday.

"It is a sad weekend for the Philippine literary community as two of its most eminent elders, National Artist for Literature Edith Tiempo and renowned fictionist and essayist Kerima Polotan Tuvera, passed away within a day of each other. The Aquino administration is united in grief with a country that mourns their passing," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.

"Both stalwarts have influenced generations of writers through their mentoring and through their own works, inspired countless others to tread the same path. We are certain that coming generations of Filipinos will likewise find a timeless vibrancy in the wealth that they contributed to our culture, our collective memory, and our nation's story."

Others, meanwhile, also expressed sadness over the deaths of Tiempo and Tuvera through social networking sites.

"The passing of Edith Tiempo and Kerima Polotan leaves all writers diminished," Manuel Quezon III, undersecretary of presidential communications development and strategic planning, said on his Twitter account.

"#Philippines just lost two literary titans this week: Kerima Polotan Tuvera and Edith Tiempo," said Twitter user Arvin Reyes.

"All that I love / I fold over once / And once again / And keep in a box / Or a slit in a hollow post / Or in my shoe (Bonsai - Edith Tiempo)," said Twitter user Faith Raagas.