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Alejandro Reyes Roces was a Filipino author, essayist, dramatist and a National Artist of the Philippines for literature. He served as Secretary of Education from 1961 to 1965, during the term of Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal.




Noted for his short stories,the Manila-born Roces was married to Irene Viola, with whom he has a daughter named Elizabeth. Anding attended elementary and high school at the Ateneo de Manila University, before moving to the Arizona State Universityfor his tertiary education. He graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts and, not long after, attained his M.A. from Far Eastern University back in the Philippines.[1] He has since received honorary doctorates from Tokyo University, Baguio's St. Louis University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and the Ateneo de Manila University. Roces was a captain in the Marking’s Guerilla during World War II and a columnist in Philippine dailies such as the Manila Chronicle and the Manila Times. He was previously President of the Manila Bulletin and of the CAP College Foundation.

In 2001, Roces was appointed as Chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). Roces also became a member of the Board of Trustees of GSIS (Government Service Insurance System) and maintained a column in the Philippine Star called Roses and Thorns.


During his freshman year in the University of Arizona, Roces won Best Short Story for We Filipinos are Mild Drinkers. Another of his stories, My Brother’s Peculiar Chicken, was listed as Martha Foley’s Best American Stories among the most distinctive for years 1948 and 1951. Roces did not only focus on short stories alone, as he also published books such as Of Cocks and Kites (1959), Fiesta (1980), and Something to Crow About (2005). Of Cocks and Kites earned him the reputation as the country's best writer of humorous stories. It also contained the widely anthologized piece “My Brother’s Peculiar Chicken”. Fiesta, is a book of essays, featuring folk festivals such as Ermita's Bota Flores, Aklan's Ati-atihan, and Naga's Peñafrancia.

Something to Crow About, on the other hand, is a collection of Roces’ short stories. The book has been recently brought to life by a critically acclaimed play of the same title; the staged version of Something to Crow About is the first Filipino zarzuela in English. This modern zarzuela tells the story of a poor cockfighter named Kiko who, to his wife's chagrin, pays more attention to the roosters than to her. Later in the story, a conflict ensues between Kiko’s brother Leandro and Golem, the son of a wealthy and powerful man, over the affections of a beautiful woman named Luningning. The resolution? A cockfight, of course. Something to Crow About won the Aliw Award for Best Musical and Best Director for a Musical Production.

Through the years, Roces has won numerous awards, including the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award, the Diwa ng Lahi Award, the Tanging Parangal of the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining, and the Rizal Pro Patria Award. He was finally bestowed the honor as National Artist of Literature on the 25th of June 2003.

When once asked for a piece of advice on becoming a famous literary figure Roces said, "You cannot be a great writer; first, you have to be a good person".

Source: Wikiepedia.org

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