MANUEL E. ARGUILLA
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 brilliant and active student. Aside from excelling in academics at the
provincial high school in San
Fernando, he edited as well the school’s official organ, La Union Tab. A wide reader,
he won in a vocabulary contest held
in the school. He was a champion swimmer and an expert tango dancer, constantly
winning in dance contests. He was
known to have a “therapeutic” personality and was well loved by everyone he knew, he
liked to listen to people tell him
their stories. Anything that interested him became an almost intrinsic part of him. It
took him only three years to complete
his secondary education, graduating as class salutatorian in high school.
In 1929, he entered the University of the Philippines. While studying, he worked as a
writer and printing assistant at the
Carmelo and Bauermann office. He became a member of the UP Writers Club, and
eventually led it in the school year
1932-1933. He also came to edit the Literary Apprentice. In 1933, he received the
degree of Bachelor of Science in
education from UP. During the same period, he married Lydia Villanueva, another
After graduating, he taught at the University of Manila while working at the Bureau of
Public Welfare. The Arguilla’s home
along M.H. del Pilar in...