After paying tribute to National Artists Nick Joaquin (Literature), Ang Kiukok (Visual Arts), Jose Garcia Villa (Literature) and Ramon Valera (Fashion Design), Freeway finally launched their latest collection featuring its first living National Artist in the Series.

Last May 2011, Freeway unveiled the National Artist Collectors’ Series Fall 2011 Collection featuring the works of National Artist for Literature F. Sionil José. The event was held in The Row at Glorietta 5 together with some media friends and relatives of the featured National Artist. Some celebrities made the night more entertaining and memorable at the same time. Cherie Gil, an excellent actress together with the talented musician/poet and artist Lourd De Veyra read F. Sionil José’s works, while Lisa Macuja-Elizalde hosted the Q & A portion with the candid and very funny the National Artist himself, F. Sionil José.

Trivia about F. Sionil José

Francisco Sionil José (F. Sionil José) is one of the most widely-read Filipino writers whos work is now translated into 28 languages including his native Ilokano. His novels and short stories depict the social underpinnings of class struggles and colonialism in Filipino society.

F. Sionil José was born on December 3, 1924 in Rosales, Pangasinan, the setting of many of his stories. He was introduced to literature in public school and later attended the University of Santo Tomas after World War II, but dropped out and plunged into writing and journalism in Manila. He started journalism in the forties and was for ten years a staff of the old Manila Times ‘til 1960. His essays on agrarian reform and on social issues won him numerous awards.

In subsequent years, he edited various literary and journalistic publications, started a publishing house, and founded the Philippine branch of PEN, an international organization for writers. Sionil José received numerous awards for his work. The Pretenders is his most popular novel, which is the story of one man’s alienation from his poor background and the decadence of his wife’s wealthy family.

Jose Rizal’s life and writings profoundly influenced José’s work. The five volume Rosales Saga, in particular, employs and interrogates themes and characters from Rizal’s work.
Throughout his career, Sionil José’s writings espouse social justice and change to better the lives of average Filipino families. He is one of the most critically acclaimed Filipino authors internationally, although much underrated in his own country because of his authentic Filipino English and his anti-elite views.

Sionil José also owns Solidaridad Bookshop, which is on Padre Faura Street in Ermita, Manila. The bookshop offers mostly hard-to-find books and Filipiniana reading materials. It is said to be one of the favorite haunts of many local writers.

In 1980, Sionil José received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Literature and Journalism. In 2001, he was names National Artist for Literature and in 2004, he received the Pablo Neruda Centennial Award.

Francisco Sionil Jose
Why We Are Poor | Essays by F. Sionil Jose | Compiled and edited by Alejandro Padilla
Photo taken from Flickr of jojopensica

About the Collection

Freeway features some of his well known works as interpreted in a pocket collection which includes staple favorites graphic tees in trendy silhouettes, modern tailored woven tops and dresses and accessories. Free yourself from the mainstream and wear the Pinoy Pride power on your sleeves in a more creative and fashion-forward way!

All items will have their own gift packaging, a swing tag of Sionil José’s bio and an F. Sionil José authenticity stamp printed on the merchandise.

To view the entire collection, visit Plus get fresher updates at Freeway Facebook Fan Page (search for “Freeway Online”) and Twitter