Books and Roses to overflow as Makati hosts Dia del Libro celebration

April 23 was red-letter day for literary enthusiasts, bibliophiles, and ardent book lovers as Dia del Libro or International Book Day is celebrated in Makati, the country’s cultural melting pot and lifestyle destination.

Over 4,000 book titles was showcase on that special day for book lovers by top bookstores and publishing houses at the Ayala Triangle, to be sold at a 20% discount. Following the tradition in Spain, each book purchase will come with a free rose.

This is the first time that Makati will play host to the Dia del Libro, introduced to the Philippines by Instituto Cervantes, the cultural arm of the Embassy of Spain. Dia del Libro aims to instill a love of reading among the youth and to promote respect for the rights of authors over their literary and artistic works.

“We are delighted to have Dia del Libro in Makati. It is a special event that many book lovers look forward to, and we are pleased that we can help residents and visitors satisfy their literary pursuits by having this event right here. We certainly look forward to hosting more literary events in the months ahead,” said Shiella Aguilar, Project Development Manager of Makati. Home to signature events, Makati is the ideal venue for this highly anticipated cultural occasion with its dynamic, diverse, and well-read population, combined with its rich cultural, lifestyle and entertainment scene.  Ayala Triangle, which sits at the center of the business district, boasts of wide open spaces, abundant greenery, and well-curated retail outlets which provide an ideal backdrop for Dia del Libro’s activities.

Besides the book fair, guests may also soak in poetry recitals, dance performances, plays, concerts, a photo contest, and puppet shows during the Dia del Libro celebration.  Adding to the excitement, Instituto Cervantes will also be giving out hundreds of books for free.

Among the day’s highlights is the inauguration of the first pop-up library in Makati that will run for two weeks, “The Book Stop,” a non-profit library for the entire community, where visitors can engage lively discussions with fellow readers, borrow volumes for free, and exchange books. Its goal is to reinvent, reinvigorate, and reestablish the library in Filipino society.

A quixotic highlight will be a gathering of 500 book-loving volunteers who will attempt to hand-write Don Quixote de La Mancha. The final hand-written book will be available in the Library of Instituto Cervantes.Guests may also print remarkable quotations or excerpts of 34th National-Book-Award-winning books on shirts, at a booth prepared by the National Book Development Board. Among the authors featured are poets Marne Kilates and Joselito Delos Reyes, fictionists Noreen Capili and Jun Cruz Reyes, and graphic fictionists Mervin Malonzo and Manix Abrera.  The shirt booth will be paired with a henna tattoo/face paint station where book lovers are treated to lit-inspired body art and calligraphy.

The 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 UP Singing Ambassadors will sing Filipino folk songs while the Teatro Tomasino will perform Jose Rizal’s plays, El consejo de los dioses and Junto al Pasig (Konseho ng mga Diyoses and Sa May Pasig, both in Filipino). The Filipino and Spanish versions of the plays, titled Jose P. Rizal: Konseho ng mga Diyoses; Sa May Pasig, will be launched and sold at discounted prices during the festivities. Also to be launched is the book Relatos, a compilation of short stories by the Batangueño writer Enrique Laygo.

The celebrations will extend into the night with La Noche de los Libros (The Night of Books). The Spanish Cultural Center will provide free entertainment, Spanish food, games, jazz music, a poetry recital, and free Spanish classes.First introduced in Manila by Instituto Cervantes in 2006, the tradition of Día del Libro began in Barcelona, Spain and is commemorated on St. George’s Day when men and women exchange roses and books. This date also honors the deaths of two of history’s greatest writers, Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare.

In the Philippines, April has been declared by the NCCA as National Literature Month, in honor of the classic Filipino poet Francisco Balagtas who was born this month.

Día del Libro is organized by Instituto Cervantes de Manila, the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines, the NCCA, the National Book Development Board, Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, in collaboration with Ayala Land, WTA Architecture & Design Studio, the Spanish Agency International Cooperation for Development, La Cámara-Spanish Chamber of Commerce, the National Library of the Philippines, Vibal Foundation, the best Manila bookstores, together with Ayala Land and Make It Makati.

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