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P.O. Box 31928
San Francisco, CA, 94131-0928

A space to encourage writing of Filipino American literature and the arts



Manuel G. Flores Prize

Our Manuel G. Flores Prize Fund continues to provide annual scholarships to two Kundiman fellows, two VONA/Voices fellows, and two NVM Gonzales Workshop fellows to attend their summer and winter writing retreats.

A Brief History:

Manuel G. Flores graduated from the University of the Philippines in zoology. After graduation, he worked for the Philippine government at the Bureau of Mines and taught evening courses in zoology at Far Eastern University in Manila.

In 1973, he immigrated with his family to the U.S. as a research biologist and worked at the Industrial Biotech Laboratories in Chicago. In 1985, he completed graduate work in microbiology at the University of Chicago while serving as a staff at Chicago Osteopathic College of Medicine.

In 1990, he moved to San Francisco and founded his own company: Educational Multimedia Resources.

Manuel created a black-and-white art photo portfolio that were published in PAWA anthologies. He also created book covers for PAWA publications and gave generous donations to PAWA during its initial publications efforts beginning in 2000.

He passed away in 2007 and expressed in his will a prize fund given by PAWA, Inc. to award a deserving Filipino American artist/author.


PAWA is proud to announce the recipients of the Manuel G. Flores Prize Fund:


VONA/Voices Fellows – UC Berkeley 

  •  Melissa R. Sipin
    Melissa is from Carson, California. She won first place in Glimmer Train’s 2013 March Fiction Open for her story, “Walang Hiya, Brother,” and her writing is published or forthcoming in Glimmer Train Stories, Kartika Review, Kweli Journal, Tidal Basin Review, Lantern Review, and The Bakery, among others. She was awarded the Tennessee Williams Scholarship at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference in 2013, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012, and is pursuing her MFA in fiction at Mills College.
  • Jennifer Derilo  
    Jennifer received her MFA (creative nonfiction emphasis) from Mills College, where she was its first Jacob K. Javits scholar. She teaches creative writing and English at Southwestern College. While she blogs for the mAss Kickers Foundation, a cancer advocacy and support group, she enjoys reading (and writing) about people and things unseen. She often has nightmares about zombies. And abandoned predicate parts.

Kundiman Fellows – Fordham University


VONA/Voices Fellows – University of Miami 

  •  Anna Alves
    Anna studied English and history as an undergraduate at UCLA before earning a master's degree in Asian American Studies (also at UCLA) and is finishing up her MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) at Rutgers University at Newark. A 2006 PEN Center U.S.A. Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellow in Fiction, her writing has been published in Amerasia Journal, disOrient, Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing, Strange Cargo: an Emerging Voices Anthology 1997–2010, Kartika Review, and the upcoming Kuwento for Lost Things: an Anthology of Philippine Myths and Dismantle: An Anthology of Writing from the VONA Writer’s Workshop (with Introduction by Junot Díaz).
  • Carlyle Nuera
    Carlyle is an artist, designer and writer from Los Angeles, CA. He graduated from Otis College of Art and Design in May 2010, having studied both fashion design and product design. Since October 2010, he’s been working at his dream job as a Barbie designer at Mattel, Inc. In July 2013, he participated in LAMBDA Literary's Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices as a fellow in Nonfiction. He's currently working on a memoir tentatively titled Freak Like Me.

VONA/Voices Fellows – UC Berkeley 

  •  Bien-Elize Roque
    Bien-Elize is a graduate student at Loyola Marymount University, studying a master's degree in Urban Education, Administration, and Policy. She is a teacher at La Vonya De Jean Middle School in Richmond, California, and a 2011 Corps Member of Teach for America.
  • Lisa Abellera
    Lisa is a writer, editor, and designer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco and a BA in Strategic Management from Dominican University of California. She is currently working on Family Recipes, a collection of short fiction. Her stories often explore the afterlife of change or trauma.

Kundiman Fellows – Fordham University

  • Feliz Lucia Molina
    Feliz is originally from Los Angeles, California, but currently resides in the state of New York. She has published in PANK  Magazine, ELO Vol.2, continent., Dark Sky Magazine, Titular Journal, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a few book projects and likes to letterpress things. She received an MFA in Poetry from Brown University and was a writer-in-residence at The MacDowell Colony in 2011.
  • Michelle Peñaloza
    Michelle grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. She received her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Oregon, where she also served as Kidd Fellow for the Kidd Tutorials Program. Her poetry has appeared in Kartika ReviewMythiumNashville Review, and Lantern Review. She has work forthcoming in Birmingham Poetry Review and was recently awarded the 2011 Women Writers Fellowship by Oregon Literary Arts


VONA/Voices Fellows – UC Berkeley 

  •  Cherisse Yanit Nadal
    Cherisse was born and raised in the pocket of Southern California known as the San Gabriel Valley. She earned her baccalaureate degrees in English and music from the University of California at Riverside and her master's degree in Rhetoric and Composition from the California State Polytechnic University at Pomona. She returns to the University of California at Riverside to complete her MFA. She has written as a freelance contributor for publications distributed by DC Asian Pacific American Film, Inc. She currently is the Assistant Editor at Kaya Press. She can often be found singing behind her steering wheel on any number of L.A. freeways.

  • Justine Calma
    Justine coordinates the Young Womyn’s Empowerment Program at Khmer Girls in Action. She is most passionate about gender, reproductive, and racial justice, and is also active in the Filipino American community. With a bachelor’s degree in Literary Journalism from the University of California at Irvine, she hopes to continue a career that brings together journalism, community organizing, and social justice.

Kundiman Fellows – Fordham University

  • Rachelle Cruz
    Rachelle is from Hayward, California. She is the author of the chapbook, Self-Portrait as Rumor and Blood (Dancing Girl Press 2012). Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in New California Writing 2013 (Heyday Books), Yellow Medicine Review, Jet Fuel Review,The Lit Pub, The Bakery, Stone Highway, The Collagist, Bone Bouquet, PANK Magazine, Muzzle Magazine, Splinter Generation, KCET's Departures Series, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, among others. She hosts The Blood-Jet Writing Hour on Blog Talk Radio. An Emerging Voices Fellow, a Kundiman Fellow and a VONA writer, she lives and writes in Southern California.
  • Chris Santiago
    Chris is a poet, fiction writer, critic, and teacher. His writing has appeared in FIELD, Pleiades, The Asian American Literary Review, Canteen, The Lantern Review, and elsewhere. He has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and has been a finalist for both the Stony Brook Short Fiction Contest and the Kundiman Poetry Prize (for his manuscript Tula). Chris is completing his Ph.D. in Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Southern California, where he is a Provost’s Ph.D. Fellow and ACENikaido Fellow, and teaches literature & writing in the Thematic Option Program.

NVM Gonzales Workshop Fellow – University of Washington

  •   Michele Gutierrez
    Michele was born and raised in Long Beach, California. Her poetry was first published in PAWA’s 2008 anthology Field of Mirrors. A VONA/Voices and Visual Communications Armed With a Camera Fellow, she wrote and directed a short film entitled “11 24: A Short Film About Collecting Cans and Memories” (2011), as well as “Broken Promises” (2004), a documentary about the Filipino Veterans of WWII. She graduated from UCLA with degrees in International Development and Asian American studies, and is currently a teaching credential student in English Education at CSULB. Her current project is a fictional memoir that explores dislocation, fractured identities, and the search for home.



"I cannot thank PAWA enough for this opportunity. I was born and raised in Carson, California, and I never thought I could call myself a writer. Because of your generous gift, I was able to fly from South Carolina back to my home state and find my voice under the tutelage of ZZ Packer. I am forever indebted to PAWA and the Manuel G. Flores Prize fund. Thank you for believing in writers and artists like me."
-- Melissa Sipin, 2011
“It is with great joy and gratitude that I accept the PAWA Manuel G. Flores Prize Fund. I look forward to my third and final year at the 2011 Kundiman Asian American Poetry Retreat and am grateful for the support from PAWA and the Kundiman staff. In May 2010, I became a member of the first graduating class of the University of Iowa's Undergraduate Creative Writing Track under Robyn Schiff. At this summer's Kundiman Retreat, I will continue to develop work for and seek guidance about applications for a Masters of Fine Arts program in Poetry. There is no doubt in my mind that Kundiman has been and will remain an invaluable resource for artistic mentorship as I plan to pursue an MFA in Fall 2012. For your generous gift and your continued service to Filipino American artists, I cannot thank you enough.” -- Helene Achanzar, 2011
“I wanted to thank the PAWA Manuel G. Flores Prize Fund for the scholarship to attend the 2011 Kundiman Asian American Poetry Retreat. …My goals and aspirations as writer are simply to write well, to make poems that are memorable and to continue growing as an artist. An important part of that process is being in conversation with other writers. I currently live and work in the Detroit area where the community of writers is small, and the community of Filipino American writers is even smaller. The opportunity presented by Kundiman—to learn from and be in conversation with other Filipino American writers—has been, and continues to be, an invaluable part of my growth as a writer and as a person.” -- Matthew Olzmann, 2011
“I am originally from the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California. Both of my parents migrated from the Philippines to Los Angeles and San Diego in 1966. This will be my first time in the presence and company of fellow Asian American poets & writers in the context of a poetry retreat. The purpose of my contact with Kundiman was to be familiar with fellow Asian American poets & writers living and writing in the US and to gain understanding of each other’s politics, aesthetics, and literary experience and endeavors through the broad lens of Asian American identity. So I thank you and PAWA for your generosity to make this possible.” -- Feliz Molina, 2012
“Attending Kundiman has been a goal of mine for some time; I was thrilled to have been accepted this year, though simultaneously worried about the financial cost of attending. Thank you for alleviating the cost of tuition. It means a great deal to me to be supported by PAWA as I attend Kundiman. I will make the most of my time at the retreat and am so grateful for the opportunity, which would not have been possible without this scholarship.” -- Michelle Peñaloza, 2012
“Thank you for awarding me the PAWA Manuel G. Flores Prize Fund for the Kundiman Asian American Poetry Retreat 2013.  I am very grateful and appreciative for this opportunity.” -- Rachelle Cruz, 2013
“I am honored and humbled to have been awarded the Manuel G. Flores scholarship, and am writing to notify you of my acceptance and to express my deepest gratitude to the Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc. PAWA’s generous support will make it possible for me to attend the 2013 Kundiman Poetry Retreat at Fordham University. At Kundiman, I hope to not only further develop my craft and work toward the completion of my first poetry manuscript, but to become a part of the community of Filipino-American and Asian American poets who will meet there. As a doctoral student, and as a father of two young children, I would have found it difficult to attend Kundiman without your support. I look forward to the growth and camaraderie I will experience at the Retreat, and also to sharing with PAWA some of the work which I hope to accomplish there.” -- Chris Santiago, 2013
“I want to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to you for bestowing upon me a Manuel G. Flores Prize Fund Scholarship to attend the VONA Writers Workshop at Miami. Your scholarship allows me to work closely in residence with renowned Filipina writer M. Evelina Galang to significantly restructure and rework a novella project close to my heart that I hope will contribute yet another fresh narrative to an ever-evolving landscape of Filipino American Literature. My first real mentor was the writer NVM Gonzalez whose vision of Philippine writing encompassed emergent Filipino experiences all over the world. In that vein, my serious pursuit of creative craft and rigorous storytelling in both an MFA program (at Rutgers–Newark) and supplemental residencies and workshops (such as VONA–Miami) are part of a continuing journey to ensure our stories are illuminated and shared throughout not just America, but around the globe. My plans to continue on into a PhD program in American Studies to generate literary and cultural analysis within an expanding Filipino American Literature field are also part of that journey, and I look forward to 'paying forward' this generous gift not only with the creative work that I will be producing, but working alongside fellow writers, scholars and community storytellers far into the future, across several realms of literary production. This scholarship is a beautiful and necessary gift that you provide; thank you again for your sustaining efforts toward expanding and deepening our creative communities, for me and my artist peers.” -- Anna Alves, 2012 
“And now, the opportunity to continue the storytelling that is an integral part of my family, to work with and learn from like-minded writers of color is another dream come true. To be accepted into VONA Voices with the Manuel G. Flores Scholarship Award, to be recognized and rewarded as a Filipino- American writer, especially one in the infant stages of his writing career, feels simply fantastic. This scholarship, as well being added to PAWA’s network, validates my work towards becoming a writer and gives me brazen momentum to keep moving forward.” -- Carlyle Nuera, 2013
"I would like to express my deepest appreciation to PAWA, Inc. and its board of directors for awarding me the Manuel G. Flores Scholarship. Your generosity will allow me to not only attend this year’s NVM Gonzalez workshop at the University of Washington, but to be in residence on campus.  As a full time student and a person of limited means, I see this scholarship as more than a monetary award. It offers me the time and energy to build with other Filipino writers, to strengthen my voice, and to grow the craft and art of my writing." -- Michele Gutierrez, 2013