Instituto Cervantes once again proved that love for books is universal. On April 23, the premier Spanish institution in Manila gathered book lovers at the Ayala Triangle in Makati City for the 11th Dia del Libro (Araw ng Aklat or Book Day), which coincided with the annual observance of National Literature Month this year.
“We have many good reasons to continue doing this. First is to encourage people to read more books. Second is to use the physical format in reading for it is a very healthy habit. And lastly, [it is]also a way of spending your time in a much creative and useful way,” said Spanish Ambassador Luis Calvo to The Manila Times in an interview.
He emphasized, “Doing things the old way is no longer the same now as time changes, like reading books. So we have to make people aware that bringing back books in their lives is very essential. And aside from that, we’re also trying to reiterate the culture and literature we have [in Spain]through this. So, we a have a lot of things to celebrate.”
In addition to preserving and even nourishing love for books, another significant reason to celebrate Dia Del Libro was the 400th death anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes, a great Spanish literary figure.
An eventful day indeed, the celebration showcased books of all kinds in both Filipino and Spanish.
Most-visited was the open library called The Book Stop where people borrowed and exchanged titles.
There was also a “write-on-me-board” where visitors wrote and expressed ideas not jut about books but other topics as well.
Other highlights included a book fair, photo contest, storytelling, puppet show, Balagtasan, free Spanish class, and a jazz concert.
Having witnessed the successful Dia del Libro 2016, Instituto Cervantes director Carlos Madrid expressed, “As a writer myself, I believe that the book industry in the Philippines needed this kind of support. I wanted to make it big and to make a qualitative difference.”
Dia del Libro was organized by Instituto Cervantes de Manila, along with 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, WTA Architecture & Design Studio, the Spanish Agency International Cooperation for Development, La Camara-Spanish Chamber of Commerce, the National Library of the Philippines, Vibal Foundation, the best Manila bookstores together with Ayala Land and City of Makati.