We join the people of San Manuel, Pangasinan today, July 12, 2022, in commemorating the town’s “Juan Cabreros Laya Day” by virtue of Ordinance No. 2017-05 passed by its Sangguniang Bayan in 2017.
A native of San Manuel, Juan C. Laya was a teacher and a novelist. Born on July 12, 1911, Laya finished his Bachelor of Science in Education and a master’s degree at the University of the Philippines Diliman and his graduate studies in English at Indiana University, U.S.A. Some of his notable novels are “Humiliation of His Children” (1931) and “Out of Storm” (1939). But it was his “His Native Soil” (1940) that won him the first prize in the First Commonwealth Literary Awards on the same year.
After World War II, he was designated as principal of the Manila High School and the first Filipino principal of the Manila North High School (now Arellano High School). He was also the first non-Tagalog member of Surian ng Wikang Pambansa (now Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino) in 1948. He was the division superintendent of schools in Bataan when he died on August 3, 1952 in an accident.
The San Manuel Central School where he finished his elementary education was renamed as Juan C. Laya Central School SPED Center (JCLCSSC) in his honor. On July 12, 1982, the National Historical Institute (forerunner of National Historical Commission of the Philippines) put a marker in his hometown in recognition of his life and achievements.
Juan C. Laya is the father of Jaime C. Laya, former Administrator of Intramuros Administration and former Chairman of National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
MPJCL Supreme Student Government. “Sino nga ba si Juan Cabreros Laya?” Facebook, July 12, 2020. https://web.facebook.com/1918748151685974/posts/2867266813500765/?_rdc=1&_rdr
Pangasinan Provincial Library. Folder on Juan C. Laya. Accessed October 4, 2021.
Provincial Government of Pangasinan. “Resolution No. 496-2017.” Accessed October 4, 2021. https://www.pangasinan.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/496-2017.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0mKHLvClvNCpaxMX7PeYFxuADkUA_zfXq3d88UOW5ZfAFTA2e9yHxN5JE
Photo by MBRR