One of Cebu’s noted fiction writers was Lina Espina Moore (1919–2000). I met Lina in my publisher’s (Gloria Rodriguez) office when I was an emerging writer and she was an established one. She greeted me and my mother (whom she knew) warmly, and Lina went on to mentor me. When I met her she was already a widow but she enjoyed talking about her married days with Kip Moore when they lived up in Mr. Data. She said she was most prolific there.
Another thing she said was before she got married, she used to crank out her stories in order to make money to pay for school registration fees of her young relatives.
Lina was born in Toledo, Cebu, the fifth child and second daughter of Yrinea Regner and Gerundio Espina. She attended Cebu Central College, the Cebu Intermediate High School, Southern Colleges and the FEU before becoming a cub reporter for the Manila Times.
Lina belonged to the post Second World War generation of Filipino writers who contributed much to the vitality of Philippine Literature in English. She wrote novels, short stories, essays, and poetry in Cebuano and in English. An outstanding fictionist, her novels and stories written in her native Cebuano have appeared in Bisaya magazine. She wrote three novels in English: Heart of the Lotus (1970); A Lion in the House (1980), and The Honey, the Locusts (1992). Her short stories are found in two collections: Cuentos (1985), and Choice (1995).
Some her stories have been translated into Japanese, Mandarin, Mahasa, German, and Tagalog. The former Chair Person of the Cebu Chapter of PEN, she edited Cebuano Harvest (1991). For her distinguished service, she has received many awards, among them the Gawad Pampansang Algad ni Balagtas in 1992 and the SEAWRITE Award in 1989. She also edited the short stories of another Cebuana writer, The Stories of Estrella Alfon.
Lina Espina-Moore was married for 17 years to C.S. (Kip) Moore, an American lumber company executive. They lived in Mt. Data, Mountain Province, where she wrote extensively on the life an times of the tribal minorities of the Central Cordilleras. She was widowed in 1976. She resided in Alabang, Metro Manila, but moved to her hometown Cebu to be with her son and his family. She passed away in her beloved Cebu.
The awards she received include: Outstanding Achievement in the Field of English Literature from the Province of Cebu (1975), Pan Pacific Southeast Asian Association Award in the Field of the English Novel (1975), Magsusulat Award for Exemplary Contribution to Literature in Cebuano (1987), and the much-esteemed Thailand Southeast Asian Write Award presented by HRH Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn for her novel Heart of the Lotus in 1989. In 1992 she received both the Women in Travel Award in the Field of Literature and the Literary Award from the Mariano F. Manguerra Foundation.
The pictures show Lina, Lina with my mother (Concepcion Cuenco Manguerra) and me in our Cebu verandah, Lina and me, some of Lina’s books.
Tags: Cebu, Cebuano, literature, novelist, writer, author, Filipina, fiction writer