Vicente “Butch” Vivencio Bandillo, the Visayan poet-ambassador
CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - March 6, 2019 - 12:00am

Vicente, a namesake of the Father of the Cebuano Journalism, Language and Literature, Don Vicente Sotto, was born on February 9, 1957 in Alcantara, Cebu. He finished Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of San Carlos in 1979.


He became a Poetry Fellow during the Dumaguete National Writers Workshop in 1979 and a Literature Fellow and recipient of a travel grant to Dhaka, Bangladesh, from the Asia Foundation in 1987. He became a panelist of the Cornelio Faigao Annual Writers Workshop from 1984 to 1990 and consultant on Cebuano Literature at the Cultural Center of the Philippines from 1990 to 1992.

For his vast knowledge on poetry he became co-editor of the “Anthology of Cebuano Poetry (1940-1988)” published under the Cebuano Studies Center in 1988. He was also co-editor of “Cebuano Fiction (1941-2005)” printed under the Ateneo de Manila University Press. This book came out in 2009.

Ambassador Bandillo, presently the Philippines’ ambassador to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Maldives (concurrent jurisdiction) has an English poetry book, “Earth Alive, Moon Eternal” (released in 2001) translated into Italian. Among his works in Visayan are: “Ang Musimos Mismo” (2018), “Damgo ug Alimungaw” (2018), “Tsinelas nga Nalubong sa Danaw” (2009), and “Sanglitanan sa Kalipay ug Kasakit” (2003).

Ambassador Bandillo is a pillar of the PEN International-Cebu organized in 1982. He is also a three-time awardee of the Focus Annual Writing Contests for his poems in 1974, 1978, and 1981, and also a two-time awardee of the Bathalad-Sugbo, as Outstanding Cebuano Poet in 2006 and Writer of the Year in 2009.

Ambassador Bandillo’s contemporaries in Bathalad-Sugbo were the late Melito Baclay, Carmelo Lariosa, Leonilo Estimo, Israel Ybañez, Alfredo Cabinatan, Oliver Flores, Erlando Majan, Andres Estudillo, and Mariano Manus, Sr.

It was Ambassador Bandillo who initiated the first formal writers’ workshop by Bathalad in Boljoon, Cebu, sponsored by the Cultural Center of the Philippines on May 25 to 26, 1991. The panelists were Dr. Resil Mojares (the first Cebuano National Artist), Dr. Leoncio Deriada of UP Visayas-Iloilo, Atty. Simeon Dumdum Jr. (now a retired RTC judge), and Dr. Erlinda K. Alburo.

Ambassador Bandillo is a Don Vicente Sotto Memorial Awardee being included in the Top 15 Literary Writers in Cebuano in the Post-World War II Era during the Golden Jubilee Convention of Bathalad-Sugbo, on February 25, 2019.

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