Books, roses abound at Día del Libro

Instituto Cervantes2In celebration of Día del Libro or the International Book Day, Instituto Cervantes, the cultural arm of the Embassy of Spain, will once again be abuzz with cultural and fun activities on April 22, Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Ayala Triangle Gardens.

Thousands of books galore, just like in the previous Día del Libro editions, as top bookstores and publishing houses will be selling a wide array of books at 20% discount. Following the tradition in Spain, every book purchase would entitle one to a free rose.

rosas_lowThe Día del Libro tradition, which began in Barcelona, was first introduced in Manila by Instituto Cervantes in 2006. The tradition is commemorated on St. George’s Day (April 23), during which men and women exchange roses and books. This also honors two of history’s greatest writers – Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare – who coincidentally died on the same day, April 23, 1616.

These significant events prompted the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to declare April 23 as World Book and Copyright Day to instill love of reading among the youth and to promote respect for authors’ rights over their literary and artistic works.

April is also the birth month of classic Filipino poet Francisco Balagtas, and to honor him the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) declared April the National Literature Month.

Dia del Libro programThis year’s edition will be held on April 22. Apart from the book market, visitors will also be treated to poetry recital, dance performances, plays, concerts, as well as activities for the children.

One of the main features will be the inauguration of the exhibit The Prado Museum in Manila, presented by the Embassy of Spain, Instituto Cervantes and The Prado Museum. Displaying more than 50 life-size reproductions of masterpieces from The Prado Museum in Madrid, this exhibit represents a unique opportunity for passersby to experience a face-to-face encounter with works of some of the great masters from the 12th to the 19th centuries in the form of high-definition photographic prints.

The Pop-up Library The Book Stop, after its great reception from book lovers last year, comes back to Ayala Triangle. The project, designed by WTA Architecture & Design Studio, is a non-profit library for the entire community, where visitors can interact in lively discussions with fellow readers and share their love of books, borrow volumes free and exchange books. The goal here is reinvention – reinvigorating and re-establishing the library in Filipino society.

instituto-cervantes1.jpgAmong the events organized by Instituto Cervantes to commemorate the Day of Miguel de Cervantes is the rewriting of Don Quijote. The Spanish cultural center is in search of 500 book-loving volunteers to take part in a “quixotic” endeavor: to hand-write Cervantes’ novel. Each volunteer will have two minutes to write a few sentences of the novel by hand. The writing-chain will start at 11 a.m. and conclude at 10 p.m. The final hand-written book will be deposited in the Library of Instituto Cervantes. People interested in taking part of the writing of Don Quijote can join on the same day with no prior registration. Participants in the handwriting chain will receive a rose.

In addition, the Embassy of Chile will present an exhibit on Chilean writer Gonzalo Rojas, one of the great Latin American poets of the 20th century. The day will be filled with activities for children –storytelling in both English and Spanish, painting workshops, games and others.

Dia del Libro2At 3 p.m. Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino will host a Balagtasan, with the poet-debaters showing off skills in arguing in verses about issues of the day. The bilingual book (in Filipino and Spanish) of the same plays, entitled Jose P. Rizal: Konseho ng mga Diyoses; Sa May Pasig, and published by KWF’s Aklat ng Bayan series, will be launched on the same day and sold at discounted prices.

The Silver Way, a book which divulges what the Manila Galleon meant for the history of the world, will be presented by Juan José Morales, one of its two authors, at 4 p.m. Flora de Filipinas, published by Vibal Foundation, will then be launched at 5 p.m.

Through La Noche de los Libros (The Night of Books), Instituto Cervantes will also provide free entertainment for an entire evening of leisure and activities, including a feast of Spanish food, games, jazz music, a poetry recital and free Spanish classes. To cap the night off, visitors will be treated to a free concert by the Manila Symphony Orchestra, featuring classical pieces from the Spanish and Filipino repertoire, at 7 p.m.

Día del Libro is organized by Instituto Cervantes de Manila, the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines, the NCCA, the National Book Development Board (NBDB), in collaboration with Ayala Land, WTA Architecture & Design Studio, the Spanish Agency International Cooperation for Development (AECID), Philippine Transmarine Carriers (PTC), Vibal Foundation, Turkish Airlines, Anaya and selected bookstores.

Join Día del Libro and experience a jam-packed evening of excitement. The Spanish cultural center will also be giving out hundreds of books for free. Photo buffs may also submit their best photos taken during the event. Prizes await the winners of this contest.

Admission to all Día del libro activities is free on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please call 5261482 or visit the Instituto Cervantes website or Facebook page. Instituto Cervantes is at Ayala Tower One & Philippine Stock Exchange Tower Plaza, Ground Floor, Ayala Triangle, Ayala Avenue, Makati.