Literature, a creative endeavor, is also a political and social institution as well as a force that shapes life and everyday living.
This in mind, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) spearheads the celebration of Buwan ng Panitikan ng Filipinas or National Literature Month with the theme “Banyuhay.”
Banyuhay or metamorphosis for this purpose emphasizes that “literature is a vital instrument that helps citizens evaluate and implement right and necessary changes.”
Tapped as this year’s ambassador is singer-former child star and current National Youth Council (NYC) chairman Aiza Seguerra, who shared her thoughts with the media during a luncheon at the NCCA lobby on March 7.
A known and staunch supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte since the elections, Seguerra said she is honored to be chosen as the spokesperson in this year’s celebration.
With a degree in Fine Arts and Design from the University of Santo Tomas, her stature in showbiz and now in government service, she feels qualified to champion the arts in this discipline.
In a sit-down interview with The Sunday Times Magazine, Seguerra encouraged everyone particularly the youth to express themselves through any form of art especially writing.
She also said that being true to oneself is freedom.
“You can soar like a bird when you’re free, not withholding anything about yourself, and not afraid that something might be brought out that could be possibly damaging to your person,” Seguerra intimated.
National Literature Month kicks off on April 2 to coincide with celebration the 229th birth anniversary of Francisco Baltazar or “Balagtas.”
Outstanding Filipino writers will be honored by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) with the conferment of the Gawad Dangal ni Balagtas and Talaang Ginto: Makata ng Taon, the lifetime achievement award for writing in Filipino with executive director Rico Pableo Jr. at the helm.
Inductees to this elite group are known Filipino writers including NCCA National Artist for Literature and present NCCA chairman Virgilio Almario, Bienvenido Lumbera, Cirilo Bautista, Pete Lacaba, Teodoro Antonio, Rogelio Mangahas, Lamberto Antonio, Mike Bigornia, and Ruth Elynia Mabanglo.
The month-long celebration presents and promotes the different aspects of book publishing as well by the National Book Development Board (NBDB) headed by chair Flor Marie Sta. Romana Cruz.
Libraries, independent and campus-based bookstores within and south of Metro Manila are included in the Pinoy Book Stop Tour on April 7 and 9.
Moreover, in celebration of World Book and Copyright Day (WBCD) on April 23, a Book Fiesta where book lovers and copyright advocates will be held to pay tribute to books and authors encouraging more Filipinos to discover the joys of reading.
NBDB’s culminating activity is the 8th Philippine International Literary Festival on April 27 and 28 along with a book fair showcasing latest Filipino-authored titles.