April and its bounty of books | Inquirer Opinion
The Learning curve

April and its bounty of books

It stands to reason that a month devoted to Philippine literature would also be a time for a variety of new titles to be made available to readers—thus giving us many more reasons to celebrate and appreciate literature from authors near and far.

The month began with the Little Free Library’s launch of “Much more than an Archipelago: Tales from the Philippines” at the Quezon City Public Library. In her remarks at the ceremony, Assistant Secretary Lila Ramos Shahani, secretary general of the Philippine National Commission for Unesco, pointed out the relevance of folk tales in today’s society, as well as the importance of discovering and appreciating our cultural history. She raised the question we find ourselves asking: How can culture be preserved if young people do not know it, and how can they know culture unless we teach them? This collection of tales in English and Spanish published in collaboration with University of Valencia professor Dr. Ana Sevilla-Pavillon is a welcome vehicle for promoting our rich and diverse culture.


Czech Republic Ambassador Jaroslav Olsa Jr. is carrying on the partnership between European embassies and Philippine publishing companies. “Agos: Modern European Writers in Filipino,” a collection coedited by the ambassador and Anvil general manager Andrea Pasion-Flores, was launched last week. It is a laudable collection as it makes available to the local audience short stories in Filipino that would normally be difficult to find.

At the end of the first day of the 9th Philippine International Literary Festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the European Union National Institutes for Culture (Manila Cluster) and the Ateneo de Naga University Press will launch three anthologies of European stories from 12 countries in the Philippine languages of Minasbate, Tigaonon, Waray, and Bikol. An anthology of Czech mystery stories is in Filipino. The program is called “Bungsod,” the Bikol word for “launching,” a term commonly used to refer to a boat about to embark on a journey.


It promises to be a bountiful launch as 20 books will be released, actually part of the 75 that the Ateneo de Naga Press is striving to complete in commemoration of the university’s 75th anniversary in 2016. When it completes the 75, another 25 are targeted to complete 100. Most of the books are in Bikol, but it wants to continue to support other Philippine languages—a welcome development that is so necessary and has been so long in coming (in recent years, only literature in English and in Filipino have been given prominence).

To be launched at 3 p.m. today at St. Scholastica’s College is “Nun-Talk: Selected Speeches and Articles” by Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB, published by Claretian Communications Inc. The author is a familiar figure beyond the campus walls as a political activist and as national chair of Gabriela, a broad alliance of women’s organizations. Her contribution to the feminist movement is significant, having made possible women-centered initiatives like the Institute of Women’s Studies, the Women Ecology and Wellness Farm, and the Women Crisis Center. Her varied and numerous involvements are chronicled in this volume.

On the last Saturday of Buwan ng Panitikan, Adarna House highlights the Peek-a-Book exhibit at the CCP of children’s book illustrations by 13 women artists with a launch of two books: “Ang Maliit na Kalabaw” illustrated by Liza Flores, and “Kung May Dinosaur sa Kamalig ni Lolo” written by Kora Dandan-Albano and illustrated by Lori Espiritu.

The exhibit curated by Liza Flores, she with the exquisite paper cutouts, is made more interesting not only by the original artwork for many of our favorite children’s books but also by the display documenting how artists’ initial studies and drafts are transformed into the delightful illustrations in today’s picture books. The participating artists, all members of the children’s illustrators group, Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK), have been recognized in the field: Pergy Acuña, Frances Alvarez, Jamie Bauza, Kora Dandan-Albano, Yas Doctor, Espiritu, Flores, Abi Goy, Beth Parrocha, Bru Sim-Nada, Bernadette Solina-Wolf, Angelo Taguiang, and Ara Villena. The exhibit runs till May 6.

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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