Biography

Juan S.P. Hidalgo, Jr., born July 12, 1936, is an Ilocano fiction writer (short story, novel), poet, editor, translator, and painter. He was former managing editor of Bannawag, a weekly Ilocano magazine. During his 37-year stint (1961-1998) as senior literary editor at Bannawag, he guided, encouraged and trained young and old Ilocano writers to produce quality Iloco literary works.

Hidalgo was responsible for the founding of GUMIL Filipinas (Gunglo dagiti Mannurat nga Ilocano iti Filipinas). The top national organization of Iloco writers, GUMIL now boasts of chapters in Guam, Greece, California, and Hawaii.

Considered by his peers as a “prodigy in Iloco literature,” Hidalgo published in 1969 the now classic Iloco anthology, “Bituen ti Rosales ken Dadduma Pay a Sarita” (“Star of Rosales and Other Stories”), a collection of 20 selected short stories. This book became, as Iloco literary critics and scholars acknowledge, the “official textbook of contemporary Iloco writers” because of its influence on the serious Iloco writer.

As editor and translator, he published other anthologies of selected Iloco short stories; he translated a number of novels and short stories written in German or Japanese into Iloco. Even as he toiled as literary editor at Bannawag and saw to it that the quality of the literary output improved, he simply could not ignore the writing bug that got him early on: he published 7 novels, 3 novellas, 4 biographies about Virgin Mary, and numerous poems, short stories and essays.

He started painting in 1979 and he was a founding member of the U.P. Campus Sunday Group, an association of painters at the University of the Philippines. His paintings were included in various art exhibits in Metro Manila and in the provinces.

Born in Intramuros, Manila, Hidalgo spent his childhood in Rosales, Pangasinan. His parents were the late Juan Peralta Hidalgo of Dingras, Ilocos Norte and Felisa Alberto Sanchez of Tomana, Rosales, Pangasinan.

He married Namnama Garma Prado of Piddig, Ilocos Norte, a former head librarian at the UP-Diliman. They have three daughters: Maria Bituen (b. 1970), Patricia Amor (b. 1971), and Marie Sol (b. 1973).

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