Virgilio S. Almario

Virgilio S. Almario, better known by his pen name, Rio Alma, is a Filipino artist, poet, critic, translator, editor, teacher, and cultural manager. He is a National Artist of the Philippines.

Growing up in Bulacan among peasants, Almario sought his education in Manila and completed his degree in A.B. Political Science at the University of the Philippines. A prolific writer, he spearheaded the second successful modernist movement in Filipino poetry together with Rogelio G. Mangahas and Lamberto E. Antonio. His earliest pieces of literary criticism were collected in Ang Makata sa Panahon ng Makina (1972), now considered the first book of literary criticism in Filipino. Later, in the years of martial law, he set aside modernism and formalism and took interest in nationalism, politics and activist movement. As critic, his critical works deal with the issue of national language.

Aside from being a critic, Almario engaged in translating and editing. He has translated the best contemporary poets of the world. He has also translated for theater production the plays of Nick Joaquin, Bertolt Brecht, Euripedes and Maxim Gorki. Other important translations include the famous works of the Philippines' national hero, Jose Rizal, namely Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. It was deemed as the best translation by the Manila Critics Circle.

Almario has been a recipient of numerous awards such as several Palanca Awards, two grand prizes from the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Makata ng Taon of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, the TOYM for literature, and the Southeast Asia Write Award of Bangkok.