Every book lover’s dream comes true when they get to meet their favorite writers and artists, take storytelling classes from well-known authors and celebrities, and immerse themselves in their favorite books. It’s time to turn that into a reality.
The National Book Development Board, known for the Book Nook – a program where the agency sets up reading and storytelling spaces across the country, is kicking off the largest traveling book festival in the Philippines with the Philippine Book Festival (PBF) this June 2, 4PM to 9PM, and on June 3 and 4 from 10AM to 9PM at the World Trade Center in Pasay.
Don’t be fooled – it’s not just a book fair, or any other book fair at that, it’s a book experience.
It’s the first ever in the country, where the spotlight is on Filipino books, creators, and readers. The PBF is an event that celebrates the best of Philippine literature, culture, and content, that brings education, entertainment, and shopping together in one thrilling festival for families, friends, and book enthusiasts alike.
The three-day festival will hold special meet-and-greet events with celebrated writers such as award-winning author and historian Ambeth R. Ocampo and rising star Gwy Saludes on June 3 and 4, respectively. Actress and writer Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio will also be holding a special program with her latest book on marriage, Eleven Eleven: Painting the Challenge and Beauty of Marriage.
Apart from the meet-and-greets and book signings with authors, there will also be talks and workshops on creating webtoon stories, visual storytelling, illustrating books for children, and more. Attendees can participate in literary discussions and debates, enjoy live performances and storytelling, and immerse themselves in various stories with the festival’s very own Book Nook with a curated selection of books and comfortable lounge areas.
Entrance is FREE for all. Most of the workshops and programs are free of charge but some require a fee starting at P400. Register now at www.philippinebookfest.com.
Putting the spotlight on Filipino creators, books
The Philippine Book Festival is all about giving Filipino publishers and creators a platform where they can showcase their work.
“How come we know about Shakespeare? How come we know about all of these global authors, but we don’t even know the works of our own? We have amazing Filipino authored content yet we lack access. We’ve created a space where the entire family can enjoy all genres — from children’s books to comics, textbooks, non-fiction books, and everything in between. That’s what the Philippine Book Festival is all about,” says NBDB Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade.
There are four realms that make up the festival: the Komiks for comics, Kid Lit for children’s literature, Booktopia for fiction and non-fiction, and Aral Aklat for edutainment materials and textbooks. The realms are curated by the Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP), Komiket, the Philippine Educational Publishers Association (PEPA), and the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) – all leading organizations in their respective sectors in book publishing, with whom the NBDB has partnered.
“PEPA as the main representative of the Philippine educational publishing sector is very optimistic in participating at the first ever Philippine Book Festival. This is also the industry’s very concrete way of supporting the DepEd’s policy direction of decentralizing the evaluation and procurement process to the level of the regions. PEPA understands that this policy shift aims to provide more equitable access to quality education materials for our public school teachers and learners alike,” says PEPA President Jose Paolo Sibal.
The PBF stands out from other book fairs as this is your very own magical place where words and tales come to life, and where we get to learn more about our local book publishing scene.
The joy of reading and learning
The goal of the NBDB is to ensure that the publishing industry is robust and to ensure a culture of readership and authorship. In these last few years, the agency has focused on providing solutions to learning poverty and low functioning literacy in the country. The agency began their mission to educate kids and their families about the wide range of Filipino-authored and published books through the Book Nook in 2021. It’s a program designed to improve access to books and learning materials through the set up of reading and storytelling centers in libraries, schools, and even unusual places such as buses, in remote areas.
“Entering a bookstore or opening a new book gives a different kind of joy. A joy that we want to bring back and reintroduce to our children. The Philippine Book Festival is here to educate the Pinoys about our books and spaces like this provide that access point where they can see, touch, read, and be exposed to these types of literary work,” adds Aquino-Tugade. “It’s also our chance to showcase everyone that we have quality material for libraries and educational institutions.”
The NBDB funds and supports regional book fairs in the country such as the Bikol Book Festival. It participates in international book fairs such as the Sharjah International Book Fair and Frankfurt Buchmesse London Book Fair as a means to promote Filipino literature globally. With the PBF, the NBDB is broadening their reach and making these books available to more Filipino readers.
An inspiration for aspiring writers, illustrators
It does not stop at showcasing Filipino writers and illustrators, educating the public about Filipino books, and creating a welcoming environment of reading. The PBF is a place that encourages co-creation. It’s a place for everyone to connect and collaborate to create stories that are meaningful and impactful for both adults and children – books that are socially conscious and encourage diversity and empathy.
More than 150 exhibitors, more than 50 seminars and events, and a ton of fun activities are all scheduled. SMX Davao will be home to the next Philippine Book Festival from August 18 to 20, 2023.