Isang sipi mula sa sanaysay ni Luisa J. Mallari ("Literary excellence as national domain: configuring the masterpiece novel in the Philippines and Malaysia") na nalathala sa aklat na The Canon in Southeast Asian Literatures (Curzon Press, 2000) na inedit ni David Smyth:
During the Commonwealth Literary Awards of 1940, the Filipino novel that was awarded the first prize in the English-language category was His Native Soil by Juan C. Laya, which adhered to the 'return-of-the-native' plot established by Rizal's Noli me tangere. The title of the novel was in fact taken from the last sentence of Rizal's work. On the other hand, there were no major winners among the eight entries submitted in the Tagalog category. Only 'honourable mention' prizes were given to three novels, two of which had previously been published as serialized novels in popular magazines. Singsing na pangkasal (1939-1940) by Lazaro Francisco was written for serialization and published in the Liwayway magazine and its Cebuano translation appeared in the sister publication, Bisaya, in that same period. Nayong manggagawa by Antonio Sempio is said to have been first serialized in 1939 and was republished in the same form in the Aliwan magazine from February to April 1947. The panel of judges for the Tagalog novel would publicly state that their decision was due to the failure of the entries to explore the fullest possibilities of the Tagalog medium, whereas the judges for the novel in English would base their decision on the fact that the winning novel 'carries further still the progress that Filipino writers have achieved in the shorter forms of fiction.' It must be noted that the choice for a winner in the English category was facilitated by the absence of a 'father' for the Filipino novel in English. Furthermore, it was relatively 'younger' in comparison with the Tagalog novel, whose rapid development ang popularization since 1900 had already established the grounds for distinguishing the 'good' from the 'bad' Tagalog novel. The construction of a father for the Tagalog novel in addition to the father for the Filipino novel has also made the identification of a Tagalog masterpiece novel more difficult.