Why the Philippine Book Festival is This Summer’s Must-Visit Fairytale Land for Book Lovers

Philippine Book Festiva Fairytale Land
Opening the Magic Book: Philippines’ Largest Travelling Book Fair Begins Today. PBS FB photo.

Get ready to step into a world of books and storytelling as the Philippine Book Festival opens today, June 2, 2023, and will run until June 4 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, Manila.

The book fair promises to be a “Disneyland” of literature, offering visitors the chance to immerse themselves in a magical world of books, meet esteemed Filipino authors and even learn the art of storytelling.

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Experience the Four Realms of the Philippine Book Festival

The 3-day festival is organized into four unique literary realms – Comic Land, Kid Lit, Aral Aklat, and Booktopia. This grand event will host 190 interactive programs featuring veteran and budding authors, three diverse book exhibits, and a plethora of Filipino-authored books for sale.

Realm Highlights:

  • Comic Land: Your go-to place for comic books for all ages.
  • Kid Lit: A dedicated zone for children with storytelling, puppetry, and creative play activities.
  • Aral Aklat: Here, you will find a selection of educational materials and textbooks.
  • Booktopia: This is the place for novel enthusiasts, featuring a wide array of fiction and nonfiction books, with thousands of Pinoy-authored books available.

First Impressions and Rare Collections

National Book Development Board (NBDB) Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade revealed in a CNN Philippine interview ahead of the opening that visitors will initially encounter exhibits including the rare book collection of the National Library of the Philippines, and a fascinating radio library before entering the four realms.

Meeting Literary Luminaries and Showbiz Stars

The festival is not just about books, it’s about their creators as well. Visitors will have the opportunity to attend many book signings including by the following authors:

  • Acclaimed historian Ambeth Ocampo
  • Renowned food historian Ige Ramos
  • “The Rain in España” author Gwy Saludes
  • National Artist Rio Alma
  • Actress Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio
  • Entrepreneur John Aguilar

Television Adaptations and Workshops

The festival’s program includes a screening of the popular Wattpad series “Love at First Read” on June 3, followed by a meet-and-greet session with actors Kyline Alcantara and Mavy Legaspi, and author ChiXnita.

Also, take part in workshops by comic artist Manix Abrera, artist and deaf advocate CJ Reynaldo, and others on various subjects including Baybayin, illustrating and designing children’s books, visual storytelling, and creating webtoon series.

The Enduring Magic of Print Books

Aquino-Tugade emphasized the enduring relevance of print books despite the popular move to digital books especially in the urban cities, stating, “The print book is not gone. It will not leave us. And we like that opening a book, smelling and feeling the pages.”

Boosting Local Literature

The Philippine Book Festival seeks to stimulate the growth of the local publishing industry. It recognizes the importance of local narratives and stories, encouraging Filipinos to read more locally-produced literature and thus bridging the gap in the import-export disparity of books.

The Philippine Book Festival organizer views the Philippine landscape for book publishing on a high note with up to 10,000 new titles being published per year compared to just 6,000 titles prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that kept people at home and resulting in more people starting to write and reading more.

The NBDB official said books are catalysts for all other art forms. “Everything starts with the story. Books can be adopted into movies, into music, into theater.”

Aquino-Tugade also sees the need for Filipinos to start patronizing local books amid the huge import-export disparity with 24 imported books to one exported book. “But what about our own stories? How difficult is it to find books in our own language? Right, and in our own context, we can’t keep on reading about winter, spring, summer, or fall but we don’t talk about Pasig River, right?”

“We really want to give primacy to our own voice and our own language and all our stories,” NBDB Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade said.

“Its Filipino-first, content-focused approach to the typical book fair is unprecedented in reinventing the humble retail fair as a platform for Philippine literature — and better yet, a place where writers, publishers, and book lovers from all over the country can actually engage and connect,” the NBDB stated.

Festival Partnerships and Accessibility

For this monumental event, the NBDB collaborated with 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).

The Philippine Book Festival in Manila opens June 2 at 11 A.M and at 10 A.M. on June 3 and 4, at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Entrance to the book fair is free and most workshops and programs are also free of charge. You can register at the book fair’s official website, philippinebookfest.com.

Discover a wonderland of books, creativity, and imagination at the Philippine Book Festival. Immerse yourself in a fairytale world that brings stories to life and let your passion for reading grow.

The NBDB recently awarded 29 winners of the National Book Awards. The board has also initiated setting up storytelling nooks in indigenous peoples’ communities.

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