Bienvenido N. Santos was born March 22, 1911, in Tondo, Manila, the Philippines, the son of Tomas and Vicenta (Nuqui) Santos. At the time, the Philip pines was a colony of the United States, and the language of instruction at the school Santos attended was English.
Santos graduated from the University of the Philippines in 1932 and became an elementary and high school teacher. He began publishing his short stories in English at this time. When he left for America in September 1941 as a scholar of the Philippine Commonwealth government, Santos was an established writer in the Philippines. He enrolled at the University of Illinois in the master’s program in English, graduating in 1942. Meanwhile, the United States had entered World War II, and Santos was unable to return to the Philippines, where his wife Beatriz, whom he had married in 1933, and their three daughters lived (they later had a son).
In the summer of 1942, Santos studied at Columbia University. From 1942 to 1945, Santos was a public relations officer at the Embassy of the Philippines in Washington, D.C. In 1945, Santos had his first fiction published in America, the short story ‘‘Early Harvest,’’ which appeared in the magazine Story. After studying at Harvard in 1945 and 1946, Santos returned home to the Philippines, where he became professor and vice-president at Legazpi College (now Aquinas University) in Legazpi City. It was during this period that he published two...
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