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April 7, 2023

Don Carlos Palanca Sr., a native of Amoy, China, lost his father when he was three and came to the Philippines in 1864 at the age of seven to seek his fortune. Under his Chinese name, Tan Guin Lay, he worked in a relative’s textile establishment, then at a winery, and by 1890, had opened his own dry goods store. Taken as godson by the most prominent Chinese governor of the Chinese community, he adopted his godfather’s name, Carlos Palanca. By 1902 he owned his own distillery, La Tondeña, and later on, acquired others, becoming the foremost alcohol manufacturer in the land. He was also in banking, fish culture, rice mills, paper production, and mining. A philanthropist and an advocate of education, Palanca Sr contributed generously to various educational institutions and spearheaded the organization of the Philippine Chinese Educational Association. When he died on 2 Sep 1950, his heirs wanted their father’s name to live on, along with the legacy of discipline and perseverance he left them, through an endeavor that would help enrich the country’s cultural heritage. Thus the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature came into being.

Source: CCP encyclopedia of Philippine art vol.IX : Philippine literature. (1994). Manila : CCP.


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