Sunday, May 13, 2007


I attended the opening of the International Book Day at the Instituto Cervantes last April 21. In Europe, this actually falls on the 23rd. Aside from being able renew acquaintances with former classmates and professors, I was here to have some Sionil Jose books signed and to check out the loot as well. Also, this will be my first time to visit the new campus since the Instituto moved here to T.M. Kalaw St. (sharing the space with Casino Español) from the beautiful Mayflower Bldg. along Estrada cor Leon Guinto Sts.

Kudos to Instituto for bringing this tradition to Manila! There really must be a stronger promotion for the love of reading. In 1993, a survey done by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and commissioned by the National Book Development Board (NBDB) noted that 45% of adult Filipinos find books costly, and that over 50% have never read a book in the last six (6) months.

Very sad.

In the office where I work, we have started a reading project dubbed READVOLUTION wherein we lent our books (many donated) to the Writers Guild for lending to our co-employees. In 2 weeks, we lent out our 100th title. Amazing! This means that there really are readers out there. Anyway, the day was full of activities. There were books signings (several authors came, i.e. Sionil, Jessica Zafra, etc.), facility tours, a photo contest, film showings of select Spanish titles, and many more! Do not miss out on the chance to experience it again next year!

I wish to take this opportunity to wave hello to fellow blogger El Cineaste who came up to me to introduce himself. T'was great finally meeting you!

Starting 'em young...
Detail. Facade with logo.

Detail. Facade of the building.
Detail. Ceiling of the main lobby. Natural light is allowed to come in through the frosted glass.

Live music was provided at the lobby.

F. Sionil's wife prepares a table of books and roses for her husband's arrival. In Europe, a rose is given to everyone who buys books during International Book Day. The same tradition was brought to Manila last April 21.

I stayed until lunchtime to wait for the arrival of 2001 National Artist for Literature Awardee F. Sionil Jose of whom I am a fan.

Now that's a huge leg of jamon serrano!

Guests can get taste tests. There are also products on sale.

See you next year at the International Books Day here in Manila!

1 comment:

jeng said...

omg, I didn't know about this int'l books day! and f.sionil jose's was there - i should've known