Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero

As director of the UP Dramatic Club and the UP Mobile Theater, and as one of the most outstanding Filipino playwrights in English, Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero is one of the pillars of Philippine drama and theater.

    - Antonio Mabesa


Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero was born in Ermita, Manila. He studied at the Ateneo de Manila University, at the University of the Philippines, and briefly, at Columbia University. He wrote his first play at age 14, and his play in Spanish, "No Todo Es Risa", was produced at the Ateneo when he was 15.

He was later a reporter and proofreader for La Vanguardia, and drama critic for the Manila Tribune. He worked for some time in Philippine Films (1939) as a scriptwriter. He organized and was the director of the Filipino Players (1941-1947).

In 9147 the late Bienvenido Gonzalez, president of the University of the Philippines, appointed Guerrero, despite his lack of a degree, assistant professor of dramatics. He became director of the UP Dramatic Club for which he produced and directed over 120 plays. He wrote and directed for radio for one whole year (1950-1951) for Purico's "Dulaan ng Buhay". In 1959 he adapted six of his plays and directed them for TV's Caltex Caravan.

In 1962 he organized and directed the UP Mobile Theater, with over 1880 performances so far, that goes on the road all over the Philippines. The UP Mobile Theater has been the recipient of two awards: The Citizen's Council for Mass Media trophy (1966) and the Balagtas Award (1969).

Guerrero has extensively observed the theater and drama schools in the US (on a UP scholarship, 1956-57) and in England (on a British Council scholarship, 1965).

Several Guerrero plays have been translated into and produced in Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Tagalog, Visayan, Ilocano and Waray. Six of his plays have been produced abroad: "Half an Hour in a Convent" at the Pasadena Playhouse, California; "Three Rats" at the University of Kansas; "Condemned" in Oahu, Hawaii; "One, Two, Three" (premiere performance) at the University of Washington, Seattle; "Three Rats and "Wanted: A Chaperon" at the University of Hawaii; and "Conflict" in Sydney, Australia.

Twelve of his works are included in 23 college and high school textbooks and anthologies, and are also included in the Russian Encyclopedia. His plays have been the subject so far of seven Master of Arts theses in English literature.

Guerrero has been the recipient of three national awards: the Rizal Pro-Patria Award (1961), the Araw ng Maynila Award (1969), and the Republic Cultural Heritage Award (1972)

Guerrero has the unique distinction of being the first Filipino who has had a theater named after him in his own lifetime: The Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater of the University of the Philippines, Diliman.

Upon his death in May 1995, his colleagues in the theater and the academe drafted a resolution declaring him  National Artist. Two years later, the national government officialy proclaimed Guerrero as "National Artist for Theater" .


--from "My Favorite 11 Plays"