Amado V. Hernandez

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Amado Vera Hernandez (13 September 1903 – 24 March 1970) was a Filipino writer, novelist, and labor leader. He wrote to criticize social injustice in the Philippines and was imprisoned for his involvement in communist activities. However, his various works were eventually recognized and he became a National Artist for Literature in 1973.


Life and career

Hernandez was born in Hagonoy, Bulacan. He grew up in Tondo, Manila and studied at Manila High School and American Correspondence School. He married Honarata “Atang” de la Rama, the “Queen of Kundiman,” who also became a National Artist for theater, dance, and music.

Hernandez started writing when he was a teenager and his Tagalog works were published in the newspaper Watawat. He later became a columnist in Pagkakaisa and editor of Mabuhay. His writings were recognized by the Tagalog literati and some of his stories and poems were included in several anthologies including Clodualdo del Mundo's Parolang Ginto and Alejandra Abadilla's Talaang Bughaw. In 1922, he became a member of the literary society Aklatang Bayan.

Japanese invasion

In 1941, he joined the resistance movement against Japanese forces. He became an intelligence operative of Marking and Anderson whose operations covered Bulacan and the Sierra Madre. He later met Luis Taruc and the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (HUKBALAHAP) that developed communist ideologies.

Congress of Labor Organization

After the second world war, Hernandez was appointed by Pres. Sergio Osmeña as councilor of Manila to facilitate the city's reconstruction. He also became the president of the Philippine Newspaper Guild.

He became an advocate of labor rights and organized labor unions through the Congress of Labor Organization (CLO), later becoming its president. He led massive labor strikes in Manila on May 5, 1947 and May 1, 1948. In 26 January 1951, he was arrested at the CLO headquarters on suspicion that he was one of the leaders of the communist rebellion.


In the next six months after his arrest, Hernandez was transferred from one military camp to another. He was only indicted on a charge of rebellion with murder, arson, and robbery after one year. Hernandez's case stirred the interest of civil rights activists including Claro M. Recto, Jose P. Laurel, and Claudio Teehankee. However, he remained in prison despite several appeals for his release while the trial was ongoing.

In prison, Hernandez produced his most notable works, Isang Dipang Langit, which won a Republic Cultural Heritage Award, and Bayang Malaya, which won a Balagtas Award. He also wrote Luha ng Buwaya and Ibong Mandaragit and became editor of the prison's newspaper the Muntinlupa Courier.

On June 20, 1956, the Supreme Court allowed Hernandez to post bail. Out of prison, he resumed writing and became a columnist for the Tagalog tabloid Taliba. His works won awards in various literary contests and was recognized by several award-giving bodies including the Commonwealth Literary Contest, the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, and the National Press Club of the Philippines. On May 30, 1964, he was acquitted of the charges against him. He went on to become a professor at the University of the Philippines.



  • Mga Ibong Mandaragit, 1969
  • Luha ng Buwaya, 1972


  • Isang Dipang Langit
  • Panata sa Kalayaan
  • Ang Dalaw
  • Bartolina
  • Kung Tuyo na ang Luha Mo Aking Bayan

Short stories

  • Wala ng Lunas
  • Kulang sa Dilig
  • Langaw sa Isang Basong Gatas
  • Dalawang Metro sa Lupang Di-Malipad ng Uwak
  • Ipinanganak ang Isang Kaaway sa Sosyedad
  • Magpinsan


  • Muntinglupa, 1957
  • Hagdan sa Bahaghari, 1958
  • Ang mga Kagalang-galang,1959
  • Magkabilang Mukha ng Isang Bagol, 1960


  • Si Atang at ang Dulaan
  • Si Corazon de Jesus at ang ating Panulaan
  • Pilipinismo: Susi sa Bagong Tagumpay

Awards and recognitions

  • Makata ng Ilaw at Panitik, 1925
  • Gold Medal for Wala ng Lunas, Ilaw at Panitik, 1931
  • First Prize for Pilipinas, Commonwealth Literacy Contest, 1938
  • First Prize for Kayumanggi, Commonwealth Literacy Contest, 1940
  • Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Muntinglupa, 1958
  • Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Hagdan sa Bahaghari, 1959
  • Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Ang mga Kagalang-galang sa Bahaghari, 1960
  • Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Magkabilang Mukha ng Isang Bagol, 1961
  • Republic Cultural Heritage Award for Isang Dipang Langit, 1962
  • NPC ESSO Journalism Award for Luha ng Buwaya, 1963
  • NPC ESSO Journalism Award for Pili sa Pinili, 1964
  • Patnubay sa Sining at Kalinangan Award, Manila City Government, 1964
  • NPC ESSO Journalism Award for “Report on Indonesia”, 1965
  • Balagtas Memorial Award for Bayang Malaya, Cultural Center of the Philippines, 1969
  • Tanglaw ng Lahi Award, Ateneo de Manila University, 1970
  • National Artist for Literature, 1973




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