The Official Literary and Artistic Publication and Organization of the Ateneo De Manila University
HEIGHTS' six staffs collaborate to produce and promote two annual artistic and literary folios and a seniors' folio. We also host the Creative Talk Series, several org-exclusive training talks, the Ateneo-Heights Writers Workshop [AHWW] and Ateneo-Heights Artists Workshop [AHAW].
As a publication, HEIGHTS seeks to uphold the literary and artistic excellence of and for the Ateneo community. Through its published materials, HEIGHTS aims to embody the best Atenean literature and art, and provide a platform for Atenean writers and artists to showcase their work.
As an organization, HEIGHTS seeks to foster a deep appreciation of Filipino literature and art. Through its various projects, HEIGHTS aims to highlight the relevance of literature and art within the Ateneo community.
The Ateneo became the school's official news and literary magazine. Under the editorship of Edilberto S. Osmena, the magazine aimed to "cultivate literary excellence and to chronicle items of interest concerning alumni and student activities." Two months and two issues later, The Ateneo became The Ateneo Monthly. It continued to be the main campus organ for seven years, with its last issue becoming the school annual.
The last issue of The Ateneo Monthly came out, and was replaced by two new campus publications-The Guidon, which handled the news, and The Ateneo Aegis, which became the literary magazine and the school annual.
Since the Ateneo Aegis ceased to be a literary quarterly, the Poetry class of Fr. Hugh J. McLaughlin came out with a compilation of poems and critical essays on classical literary pieces. Called Wings, they produced two issues. Its editorial staff consisted of Horacio de la Costa, Jesus A. Paredes, Jr., Juan Atavadio and Jose S. Araneta.
The Ateneo Quarterly came out as a completely literary magazine under the editorship of Sixto Roxas, Maximo V. Soliven and Gregorio Brillantes, successively.
Upon moving from Padre Faura to Loyola Heights, The Ateneo Quarterly became HEIGHTS, named after the campus' lofty position in the hill overlooking Marikina. It has been the school's literary and artistic publication as we know it today. Ironically, the first editorial by Emmanuel Torres lamented the death of literature on campus.
In its early years, HEIGHTS sought to establish its own identity and role in the Ateneo. With Torres' assessment of literature on campus, HEIGHTS clearly assumed the role of a nest for the school's writers, where discourse could be conducted and insights discovered to help improve each other's writing. In the succeeding years, this role was developed further by its various editors and moderators. Fr. Miguel Bernad, S.J., moderator from 1954-1958 Christianized HEIGHTS with anthologies such as a tribute to the 1954 Marian Year-an issue celebrating ACIL's 50th year-and an Ignatian issue which centered on Gerard Manley Hopkins, Jesuit work and missions in the Philippines, and feature articles on "Queer Jesuits."
This Christianization was echoed in Alfredo R-A. Bengzon's 1954 editorial: "HEIGHTS is not merely a literary magazine designed to develop giants in the field of literature. Rather it is a channel for the clear expression of the thoughts and ideals of the Catholic college man."
From 1957 to the early 70's, HEIGHTS experienced a gradual change from its religious orientation to a political one. The 1957 issues no longer donned the traditional cover design by Emmanuel Torres (wherein Ateneo is perched on a cliff over Marikina Valley). HEIGHTS started experimenting with various media and art forms. Antonio F. Samson's first editorial criticized the rise of nationalism in the country, however, the stories and essay's that he published reflect nationalistic orientation. After Fr. Miguel Bernad relinquished moderatorship to Fr. James T. Griffin in 1958, the staff affirmed his policy of using the magazine as an "outlet for the Atenean apostolate... and that the articles should be pervaded with Catholicism." Despite this, it was the nationalistic texts which dominated and Contributing Editor Roman A. Cruz, Jr. criticized HEIGHTS of its "ivory tower" mentality.
HEIGHTS saw itself reexamining its own ideas of literature. Contributions for Poetry increased, adding to the traditional essays and stories that were staples in HEIGHTS.
In 1963, an issue devoted entirely to essays was released with its editors lamenting on the impending death of campus literature. Also, few essays published in this time reflected the Atenean's concern over topics such as communism, and the effects of certain historical events to the country's ongoing political struggles.
Art and book design, for the first time, played an important role in packaging these poems and political articles-culminated in an issue made up of different pamphlets and sheets of paper placed inside a box of Tide-either to spite the quality of works that have been passed or to "get closer to the Masses."
By the late 60's, poetry became the dominant genre in the publication and in 1965, HEIGHTS published its first set of Filipino works through the launch of the Bagay Movement. Started by a group of Ateneo faculty and students, the Bagay Movement produced poems that made use of concrete images and conversational language.
1969 saw the first editorial written in Filipino by B. Basildez Bautista, and the entry of its first Filipino Editor, Perfecto Martin. By then, HEIGHTS echoed the radical student activism that characterized the times and even changed its name to Pugadlawin in school year 1971-1972 with Jose Ma. Sison as guest editor. This publication, however, died with the implementation of Martial Law in 1972.
HEIGHTS resurrected in October 1974. Afraid of radicalism that redirected its concerns in the past years, HEIGHTS reestablished its policies and mission as the school literary organ. It placed "the cultivation of the craft of writing" as its first priority. Interdisciplinarity or a wide range of concerns and foci-not just on the political sphere-became its second agenda. HEIGHTS also addressed issues on bilingualism, saying that it will continue to accept works written in English and Filipino, and stressed the need to cultivate Filipino.
The first issue released after the death of Pugadlawin was dominated by translations. For the first time, HEIGHTS consciously develops a criteria for selecting works for publication, stressing that although a work may be relevant to the times, it must, first of all, be well-written. 1975-76 saw the reaffirmation of these objectives. Not only did they focus more on craft, they took time to seek out examples of the kind of craft they were looking for in contributions.
In the school year of 1976-77, HEIGHTS came out with an issue entirely in Filipino. The issue on language was tackled by Rolando Tinio. Also, HEIGHTS members offered services to their contributors as literary advisers.
Although language can pose a serious problem to writers, by 1980, HEIGHTS exhibited competence and ease in handling both Filipino and English works. Filipino and English Deliberating Staffs were established.
The role of HEIGHTS in the campus has become clearer over the years: the further promotion of the literary and artistic practices in the Ateneo community through the publication of issues that are more focused on presenting the finest literary and artistic pieces made by members of the community and through sponsoring and organizing initiatives that cater to the demands of emerging movements and activities. In fact, HEIGHTS has participated and co-sponsored a number of writing contests, and progressed from tackling Bilingualism to Filipinization. Initially, a Lay-Out Staff was created to experiment on the graphic design of the issues with the advent of the personal computer as medium for creation.
In 1993, the practice of producing special issues was started. This was where student writers are anthologized along with prominent writers in the university. Special issues gave students opportunities to improve their repertoire by exposing them to themes and topics in literature that were absent in regular issues. Among topics already tackled by HEIGHTS in its special issues are literary translations, popular culture, the art of writing, and the anniversary of co-education of the Ateneo.
In 1997, HEIGHTS commemorated its 45th year anniversary. A homecoming issue (Vol. 46, No. 1) was produced the following school year featuring works from some of the most established writers featured in HEIGHTS history, such as Jose F. Lacaba, National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, Benilda Santos, and Danton Remoto.
The end of the 90s and the early parts of the millennium saw HEIGHTS as a publication and organization dedicated to the development of its individual members; with this, emphasis on experimentation in terms of folio concept, literary and artistic form and philosophy flourished. A special folio that contained the works of the fellows of the HEIGHTS National Writers Workshops was published. The series of Seniors' Folios in these years depicted the students' reactions to emerging technological sophistications and possibilities.
In the last four years, HEIGHTS has been gradually working towards the standardization of organizational structures and practices as well as in terms of events and the very folio. After moving from the original Publication Room in Gonzaga Hall to the MVP Center for Student Leadership in 2008, the roles of the non-deliberating staffs were met with expansion and reorganization, and what was then the Lay-Out Staff was reconstructed as the Design Staff, whose scope of work now includes archiving, documentation, and website maintenance; design studies are undertaken by the staff to ensure that the message of the editorial is clear. The Special Projects Staff was also reorganized and streamlined as the Production Staff, in charge of the creation, execution, and management of all HEIGHTS events and activities such as the book launches and general assemblies. Thus, the two organizational staffs of HEIGHTS were born. Moderators were also assigned to every staff to encourage a more focused and collaborative partnership with certain Ateneo faculty members in the individual workings of HEIGHTS.
Directing its efforts to upholding tradition, HEIGHTS has been focusing on the continuance of projects, both old and new, as standard activities for the organization. The longstanding Ateneo Heights Writers' Workshop (AHWW) is now on its 17th year. In 2010, the first Ateneo Heights Artists' Workshop (AHAW) was established. The Kuwentong Pambata Book Grant, launched in 2008, has since produced four children's books, and more are certainly to come. The Creative Talks, Salimbayan Talks (or Buwan ng Wika talks which are co-sponsored with the Loyola Schools Filipino Department), and staff mini-workshops are also some of the events that HEIGHTS has been carrying out in the recent years.
Along with the organization's pursuit for standardization came a growing emphasis on new writing. As a nod to discussion about the collapse of genres, folio dividers which formerly included "Poetry", "Fiction", and other genres are now composed of only "Works" and "Art", acknowledging that rapid evolution of form and language. Special events have also been held to celebrate these evolving forms. 2008's Poetry in Motion was a widely successful event which featured performance poetry by Yol Jamedang and Angelo Suarez among other guests. 2010's Ekphrasis, held in collaboration with the Loyola Film Circle, Entablado, UP Ugat, and a few other organizations, showcased ekphrastic pieces based on artworks by the Art Staff. Noted ekphrasis poet Marne Kilates also graced the event.
In the recent years, HEIGHTS has also embraced new technological platforms in order to broaden its readership and to create more opportunities for members. In 2009, Marahil, the Filipino Staff Blog, was launched in an effort to encourage members to practice the craft of writing within a disciplined structure. Hoping to generate more contributions from their staff, English followed suit two years later with the launch of their own staff blog. HEIGHTS also initiated the Tula-Arawan and Salita ng Araw online projects that aimed to further develop the appreciation of poems and words in Filipino in the Ateneo. Capitalizing on the growing popularity of social networking, the Heights Facebook page was also created in order to increase the organization's visibility and accessibility to heightsers and non-heightsers alike.
As early as 2009, the entire organization has been hard at work preparing for yet another extraordinary landmark: the 60th Anniversary of HEIGHTS. The launch of this website, the ongoing project of folio archiving and digitizing the Heights Folios, as well as the constitutional reform, are all in commemoration of next year's milestone anniversary - efforts to celebrate 60 years of a tradition of art, beauty, and excellence. In 2010, HEIGHTS was awarded the Gawad Pedro Bucaneg by the Unyon ng Manunulat ng Pilipinas as a testament of appreciation for the publication's efforts and many accomplishments in the literary arts.
Today, HEIGHTS continues to contribute to the literary and artistic culture within and beyond the Ateneo community.
In line with our goal to discover new and fledgling talent, HEIGHTS organizes workshops for both writers and artists, namely the Ateneo Heights Writers Workshop (AHWW) and the Ateneo Heights Artists Workshop (AHAW). Each year, a group of undergraduate students, who are handpicked by a screening committee, come together to have their works critiqued by distinguished professors of the Ateneo. After the workshop, the works of the students are shared to the community through a zine (for AHWW) and an exhibit (for AHAW).
Kuwentong Pambata, now on its 10th year, is HEIGHTS' main external collaboration, conducted with the Sector-Based Cluster (SBC) organizations. The Kuwentong Pambata Book Grant is given to one writer and one illustrator. Writers and illustrators submit their applications and are selected by the Editorial Board along with representatives from the SBC organizations. They work closely with each other, as well as with a faculty mentor to hone their children’s storybook. The book is released at launch to recognize the writer and artist’s contributions to the project. The publication is distributed during outreach programs with SBC. The entire project is geared towards using art and literature to find stories that empower children in disadvantaged communities.
The Creative Talk Series is primarily a collaboration with the deliberating editors and the production staff. Its main objective is to stimulate discourse about the most relevant topics in the contemporary literary and artistic scene, targeted at the Ateneo community. Two of the most successful creative talks put together by HEIGHTS were Art vs. Porn (2013) and #AlDubNation: Ang Semantika ng Kalyeserye (2015).