Lifestyle, Profiles, Stories

CHY List: Patricia Celina Ngo, the Passionate Children’s Literature Author

With the arrival of 2021’s Year of the Metal Ox, CHiNOY TV has put together its inaugural CHY List, which aims to annually celebrate the achievements of 10 Chinoys who have all accomplished great things, inspired others, and made significant contributions to their respective fields and beyond. 

We will also be releasing individual features to highlight the accomplishments of each of this year’s CHY List honorees. Today, we shine the spotlight on a rising children’s literature author who pays homage to her Chinoy roots. 

Here are four amazing things you need to know about Patricia Celina Ngo:


1. She is a three-time Palanca Awards winner. 

Ngo published Blanket/Kumot, her first book in children’s literature, when she was just an undergraduate student attending the Ateneo de Manila University in 2016. It was not long after this first milestone when Ngo gained recognition for her works, receiving three Palanca Awards throughout her college years for the children’s poetry collections Ordinary Adventures (2015), Miniature Masterpieces (2016), and Magical Mall of Mysteries (2017). 

The Palanca Awards, formally known as the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, are considered to be the Filipino equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize and are recognized as the highest set of literary awards in the Philippines. 


2. She is the third-place finisher of the 2019 Nick Joaquin Literary Awards. 

“I was first inspired to write because of my love for books,” said Ngo. “Reading made me happy, and I wanted to make other people happy through writing my own stories.” 

Let it be said that Ngo’s passion to write is a driving factor to her continuing momentum in the literary sphere. In 2019, Ngo won third place in the Nick Joaquin Literary Awards, an international literary competition organized by the Philippines Graphic and its sister publication BusinessMirror. The work submitted, in this case, was “The Sky Painter.” Ngo had written the short story when she was a fellow at the 57th UP National Writers Workshop in 2018.


3. She wrote a children’s book about the Chinoy experience. 

That’s It, Pancit! is Ngo’s latest project in the children’s literature genre. Released by Anvil Publishing, the picture-book tells the story of Lily, a young girl who struggles with her identity as a member of the Filipino-Chinese diaspora community. 


The cover of Ngo’s picture book, That’s It, Pancit!


“Having two of many things is fun but sometimes confusing. How do I choose one culture over the other? Since there’s only one of me, how do I know who I am?” 

While this one question that Lily expresses is a common thought faced by Chinoys all over the country, it is not a story that is often told. Sharing her thoughts on how her multicultural background affected her writing, Ngo shared, “Don’t discount your experiences. We all have unique stories that we can tell best.

“I used to worry about being too young and inexperienced to write anything that could matter. That worry stayed with me as I wrote and finished That’s it, Pancit!. When the book came out, however, I received feedback from readers. Some told me they wished they had a book like That’s it, Pancit! while growing up. Others mentioned that their kids loved seeing familiar experiences in a book. It reminded me not to take my own experiences for granted.”


4. She’s working on new picture book stories. 

There is something to be admired about Ngo’s enduring devotion to writing through the years. 

“I also do my best to find stories that need to be told or haven’t been told yet,” said Ngo. “For example, we don’t have a lot of Chinoy stories available yet, so I wanted to write about our shared cultural identity.”

Talking about her future projects, Ngo commented, “I’m working on some new picture book stories, and I have some more ideas to write about after. I have a lot of stories left to tell!”


Curious about the other CHY List honorees? For the complete inaugural CHY List, check out the article here.


In addition to celebrating the achievements of the Filipino-Chinese, CHiNOY TV also actively supports the Chinoy creative community. This year’s CHY List photos have been produced in partnership with Chinoy sketch artist Lexter Ang. For more of his works, check out his Facebook page Sketch with Lex!

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