The 36th National Book Awards was held on December 2, 2017 at the auditorium of the National Museum in Ermita, Manila. A total of 26 books were awarded in 26 different categories under literary and non-literary divisions, which were selected out of 200 nominations submitted for the award. The ceremony was hosted by Filipino playwright Dean Francis Alfar of the Manila Critics Circle.
Under the Non-Literary division, Filipino motivational speaker Pocholo “The VoiceMaster” Gonzales won the “Best Book on Professions” award for his second book “Gusto Kong Maging Voice Talent.” It was published under PsiCom Publishing in 2016, and is touted as the first Filipino book on voice acting. The subtitle of the book reads “Mga Sikreto sa Likod ng Dubbing, Voiceover at Voice Acting,” where Pocholo shared the tools, tips and techniques to build a successful career on voice acting from his 22 years of experience. Aside from the technical aspects of voice acting, the book also served as a motivation to aspiring voice artists, as Pocholo shared his challenges in making a name for himself in the industry, and how the rejections and frustrations he experienced fuelled his desire to open the doors of the industry to all who dream to become part of it.
In his short but powerful acceptance speech, Pocholo expressed his gratitude to his family, his publisher, and even his fellow awardees who were his college professor in UP Diliman, such as Dr. Wendell Capili, who won the Literary Criticism/Literary History award for his book “Migrations and Mediations: The Emergence of Southeast Asian Diaspora Writers in Australia, 1972-2007”.
Pocholo then shared the short version of the story of how he started in his voice acting career – as a young boy who dreamed of hearing his voice on the radio greeting his mother on air, to being the man behind a thousand dreamers who have now established their career in dubbing, hosting, and voiceovers through his school Philippine Center for Voice Acting. He also expressed his gratitude that through the award, voice acting has now been considered as an actual profession. Of course, Pocholo amazed the audience with a “sample” of his voice acting prowess, by doing a live radio drama from his childhood favorite “Gabi ng Lagim.”
His speech ended with a powerful message to appreciate the human voice, when he said, “Our voice is God’s gift to us. How we use our voice is our gift back to him.”
The National Book Awards is the brainchild of the Manila Critics Circle. Since 1982, they have been giving the awards to the best books written, designed and published in the Philippines. In 2008, they entered into an agreement with the National Book Development Board to institutionalize and co-administer the prestigious award.