2 Pinoy Teens Bag Top Spots at the 2021 Emirates Festival of Literature

Two Filipino teens, aged 17 and 14, were recently hailed as top winners in their respective categories and age brackets at the recently concluded Emirates Literature Festival for the Spoken Poetry and Story Writing competition.

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Dubai-based Hayden Christian Villarico emerged on top against 700 competitors from different nationalities across various UAE schools with his entry, Joy Harjo’s “Remember” for the spoken poetry competition, English category, under the 14-18 age group. Meanwhile, another young Filipino teen from Abu Dhabi, Charles Samuel Vitug, also won first place at the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition for 2021 for the 12-14-year-old age group for his piece, “Transforming the Narrative”.

2 Pinoy Teens Bag Top Spots at the 2021 Emirates Festival of Literature
CreditsL Emirates Lit Fest / Twitter

Pinoy Teens Bag Top Spots at Emirates Festival of Literature 2021

As featured by The Filipino Times, Hayden shared he chose the piece because of its relevance to the present times, with words that strike a chord with the masses and a message that centers on the importance of remembering and living your memories and the true value of an individual’s existence.

According to Hayden, “The success of writing a poem or reciting one does not rely solely on complexity and aesthetic, but rather the connection you as an artist have towards your own work. Though we are just restricted to words, this is an art form; you are in charge of adding color and shapes. Please write or recite from the heart, from what you are feeling; it can be uncomfortable, but you are offering a piece of yourself to a vast audience that are willing to listen and be healed with your message. If you are passionate, your capabilities will push you further in doing good.”

On the other hand, Charles said that he came up with his unique competition piece based on his experience, dealing with writer’s block, and how he managed to overcome the challenge.

This is what Charles has to say to young Filipinos who also would like to improve their writing and passion for their craft: “Read a lot. Read everything you can read. Read the good, the bad, and everything in between. Learn how to recognize what makes stories enjoyable, and what makes them not. Most importantly, take your time, it took me an entire day just to write 960 words. Diamonds may be formed under pressure, but dough rises when you let it rest. Don’t worry if it seems like your skill is lacking, you CAN improve.”

Indeed, creativity is such a beautiful thing, especially when we see it flourish from fresh young minds. To both Charles and Hayden, we are very proud of what you have accomplished at such a very young age. We know that you two will go far in life. Just continue to hone your God-given talents and skills and never give up on your dreams. You two are such an inspiration to the youth and Filipinos, in general. Again, congratulations!

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