The Learning curve

Fire of literature rages on

April, “Buwan ng Panitikan,” is full of activities to highlight and appreciate Philippine writing and to invite all of us to think, dream, and write literature. Note the emphasis this year (and in the years to come) on the richness of Philippine literature in all our languages.

Yesterday the National Book Development Board held an interactive seminar for deaf students at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde with “Kuya” Bodjie Pascua and Teacher Dyali Justo on “Tips and Techniques in Sign Storytelling.”


Mark these events on your calendar and consider this an invitation, as there is no admission fee required:

April 14: “Tukibasa: Celebrating the Joy of Discovery through Reading” (“tukibasa” is a play on the Hiligaynon words “tukib”—to discover—and “basa”—to read) at the University of the Philippines-Iloilo.


This seminar will feature a talk on West Visayas literary forms and traditions by Alex C. de los Santos of Datu Lubay Center Inc. of San Jose, Antique; a conversation with Iloilo young writers of emerging and popular genres; book launches by Kasingkasing Press and Poetika; and a storytelling workshop with Pascua and Justo. Hosts: UP Visayas vice chancellor Prof. Martin Genodepa and NBDB director Leonor “Beng” Reyes.

April 19-20, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily: the NBDB’s 9th Philippine International Literary Festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines highlighting the power of the written and spoken word.

Keynoters are popular writer Ricky Lee and Elaine Castillo, a London-based author with a well-received debut novel, “America is Not the Heart.” There will be simultaneous forums/workshops in five CCP venues, and screenings of local films featuring works by Philippine authors and artists in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines. The Game Developers Association of the Philippines will facilitate sessions on innovations, challenges, and opportunities in book-to-game adaptations.

Each of the two days end on a high note. On the first day, there will be an awarding ceremony by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino for the translation contest winners of Sali(Na!) for the poems of Angela Manalang-Gloria and the launch of the Ateneo de Naga University Press’ 75 new titles in Bikol. To be announced is the first Victorio Valledor Prize for Best Novel in any Bikol language spoken in all six provinces in the region, as identified by the KWF Language Map.  The Ateneo de Naga University Press and the NBDB are the primary agencies responsible in calling for entries, judging the best entry, and awarding the winner in February 2019.

On the second day, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts will award the winners of its short film competition featuring local literature.

April 21: the Instituto Cervantes’ annual “Dia del Libro” at the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati.

Buy a book, get a rose is an age-old European tradition. Enjoy The Book Stop, a pop-up library where one can take a book in exchange for a donated book. Join the rewriting by hand of Cervantes’  “Don Quixote de la Mancha,” enjoy a football game of La Liga, meet the authors of the Manila Critics Circle-NBDB’s National Book Awards, relax at the evening concert of Spanish and Filipino favorites by the Manila Symphony Orchestra. The Chilean Embassy will feature an exhibit of one of the country’s leading poets, Nicanor Parra.


April 21-22: “Tatak Sebwano” at the University of San Carlos, Cebu City.

April 23: Book Fiesta of NBDB at Plaza Moriones, Fort Santiago, in Intramuros, in celebration of World Book and Copyright Day with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines and the Intramuros Administration to promote reading, publishing, and copyright.

April 25: a forum on the teaching of literature and research at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in the province of Quezon.

April 26-28: a seminar on the teaching of gender-based literature at Benguet State University in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

April 28: the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas’ annual writers’ congress in Capiz

For details, follow NBDB at fb.com/nbdb.phil, twitter.com/nbdb_phil, instagram.com/nbdb_phil.

Neni Sta. Romana Cruz ([email protected] gmail.com) is chair of the National Book Development Board and a member of the Eggie Apostol Foundation.

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TAGS: BENILDE, Kuya Bodjie, literature, Panitikan, storytelling
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