(From the National Commission on Culture and the Arts)
THIS year’s National Literature Month is culminating with three more cultural and literary events spread out in venues all over the country.
So authors and book lovers, arts and culture enthusiasts, students and educators, and anyone who is passionate about literature, whatever your age and background, gather! Here are what we should not miss:
1. Book Fiesta
Happening on April 23 from 9 am to 7 pm at Plaza Moriones inside Fort Santiago at Intramuros, Manila, the Book Fiesta will be loaded with a series of activities, which are free for and open to the public. All are invited to come and enjoy spoken word poetry workshop, a live band performance, Balagtasan (traditional Filipino poetic debate), storytelling sessions and a puppet show.
There will also be a calligraphy workshop, a book binding demo, and a raffle where participants will get a chance to take books home. An exhibit area will be set up for caricature, face painting, and t-shirt and tote printing booths. Freebies will be given away during the event.
Organized by the National Book Development Board (NBDB) in partnership with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the Intramuros Administration (IA), Book Fiesta 2018 also celebrates the World Book and Copyright Day.
2. ‘SiPat: Sine at Panitik’
Also slated is “SiPat: Sine at Panitik,” a project convened by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). It will screen for free “Smaller and Smaller Circles” “SiPat” and April 23, 26 and 27 at Cinematheque branches located in Iloilo, Manila and Davao respectively. The film is directed by Raya Martin and is adapted from the Palanca-winning novel of the same name by F.H. Batacan.
The “Tertulya” at the Civil Service Commission-Quezon City branch happens on April 25. It will feature poetry performances to the delight of government employees.
4. About literary education
Also set on April 25 at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Quezon province campus is a talk entitled “Pagtuturo ng Panitikan at Pananaliksik” discussing teaching local teachers on how to handle with more vigor and vibe the teaching of humanities and literature.
5. On gender-based literatures
From April 26 to 28 is a “National Seminar on the Teaching of Gender-Based Literature” will convene at Benguet State University in the Cordilleras. It will push for a more progressive stance on issues of sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.
6. UMPIL congress
Finally, the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL), or the Writers Union of the Philippines, will convene its annual “National Writers’ Congress” at the Gerry Roxas Training and Convention Center, at Roxas, Capiz, on April 28
UMPIL will grant to its adjudged winners prizes such as the annual Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas, which recognizes a writer’s excellence in the field of creative writing and considerable contribution to the country’s corpus of literature; Gawad Pedro Bucaneg which recognizes commendable writer’s collectives; and Gawad Paz Marques Benitez which honors teachers of literature and culture from the different localities of the country.
The National Literature month is themed “Pingkian,” a dialectical friction or conflict igniting fire. Pingkian was also the nickname used by the revolutionary leader and writer Emilio Jacinto. It highlights the revolutionary function of literature as a springboard of discourses and discussions towards progress.
Throughout April and all over the country, the National Literature Month has held a literary pilgrimage at Magdalena, Laguna commemorating the aforesaid revolutionary hero’s death; grand finals night of two literary competitions; and 9th leg of the Philippine International Literary Festival, among others.
Through the efforts of National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario, Proclamation No. 968 was signed in 2015, declaring the month of April as Buwan ng Panitikan ng Filipinas or National Literature Month. It is organized jointly by NCCA and the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF)—both currently headed by Almario himself—in partnership with NBDB.