BY ZEA CAPISTRANO
DAVAO CITY – Tita Lacambra-Ayala, a renowned writer, poet and multimedia artist who was among those instrumental in bringing out the best regional writers in the south, passed away 10:37 Wednesday night in Davao City due to pneumonia. She was 88 years old.
In his Facebook post, Filipino songwriter Joey Ayala posted “Paalam, Nay…10:37 (Goodbye, Mom).”
Ayala also expressed the family’s gratitude to the public: “Maraming Maraming Salamat sa inyong pagdarasal, pakikiramay, at patuloy na pagtulong sa aming pamilya. Inaayos pa namin ang paraan ng parangal na gagawin natin para kay Mom Tita Lacambra-Ayala – napakarami niyang na-inspire na creativity dito sa Davao at sa kung saan-saang sulok ng mundo so baka hindi rin gaanong conventional ang mangyayari.”
“We will let you know where and when you can visit and say a formal Farewell in the next couple of days. Meanwhile, here’s to Artful Living, an Art-filled Life, and a Life of Artistic Creation. Padayon!” he added.
Ayala has previously announced on his social media account that his scheduled concert with sister, Cynthia Alexander, in Conspiracy Bar would be postponed hinting the condition of their mother.
“Postpone po muna ang Cynthia-Joey gig Jan 12th sa Conspi. Parang malapit na masyado sa goodbye ng Nanay namin… thanks for understanding and for all your seat reservations!” he said.
Lacambra-Ayala was born in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte on January 2, 1931. She has authored several books, including Camels and Shapes of Darkness in a Time of Olives and Pieces of String and other stories. She was a recipient of the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas Lifetime Achievement Award and the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature.
As its co-founder, Lacambra-Ayala is one of the pillars of the Davao Writers Guild, the sole writer’s organization incorporated in Mindanao that has been a home for many acclaimed writers in this southern part of the island.
Her Road Map Series, which she started in 1981, became instrumental in launching the careers of many artists. The Road Map is a print collection of visual and literary arts.
In one of her previous interviews published by the Ateneo Library of Women’s Writings, Lacambra-Ayala regarded the Road Map Series as her “most satisfying work.”
University of the Philippines in Mindanao professor and multi-awarded writer John Bengan told Manila Bulletin that even before the time independent publishing became a trend, Lacambra-Ayala already did it.
Bengan, the current president of the Davao Writer’s Guild (DWG), said, “Tita cleared her own path in writing and publishing local literature and influenced many of us.”
He added that Lacambra-Ayala “represented how important it was to go against accepted conventions and overcome our limits.”
In a statement, DWG also said they mourn for the passing of one of their “founders and most active members.”
“An example to us all through and through, Tita very seldom missed an activity or regular meeting,” DWG said.
“A poet, fiction writer, editor, visual artist and indie publisher, her contribution to our writing and art community is enormous,” they added.
Lacambra-Ayala graced the opening the Davao Writer’s Workshop and the launching last November 18, of the anthology series she first edited in the 1970s, the Davao Harvest 3.