• Books and roses in the park

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    Instituto Cervantes celebrates International Book Day at Ayala Triangle Park
    On April 22, the Ayala Triangle Park in Makati City will be filled with passion for literature as Instituto Cervantes, the cultural arm of the Embassy of Spain, heads a series of activities to celebrate Día del Libro or International Book Day.

    Patterned after the Sant Jordi Festival in Barcelona—where custom dictates that every year, on April 23 or St. George’s Day, men and women exchange books and roses—the celebration is made special as every book purchase from participating bookstores and publishing houses will entitle the buyer to a rose.

    First introduced in Manila by Instituto Cervantes in 2006, the tradition of Día del Libro, which began the Catalonian capital, also honors the demise of two of history’s greatest writers—Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. Both died on the very same day in April 23, 1616. The significant coincidence prompted UNESCO in 1995 to declare April 23 as “World Book and Copyright Day” to instill the love of reading among the youth, and promote respect for the rights of authors over their literary and artistic works.

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

    Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Luis Calva Castaño said it is but fitting to celebrate the rich literature of Spain even in a foreign land.

    “Publishing is huge business for Spain. In the world, we are the fourth biggest publisher, behind the US, UK, and Germany. We publish about 90,000 books per year, contributing to at least 40-percent of the country’s gross domestic products. In essence, celebrating publishing activities like this Día del Libro outside the country shows how important this field is in our country,” he elaborated at the launch of International Book Day in Makati City.

    Besides the book market, visitors will also be treated to poetry recitals, contests, games, as well as activities for children.

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

    Additionally, after an enthusiastic reception by Makati citizens in 2016, the pop-up library “The Book Stop” will also makes its return 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.

    Meanwhile, the Embassy of Chile will also present an exhibit on Chilean writer Gonzalo Rojas, one of the renowned Latin American poets of the 20th century, along with activities for children both in English and Spanish.

    Finally, as with its previous editions, the Dia Del Libro will give away free books courtesy of Instituto Cervantes, which according to its director Carlos Madrid, will include literature for children, youngsters, titles on tourism, and books from classic and newly-published authors alike.

    “Last year, we gave away around 5,000 books and we hope to reach more people this year. We’d like people to know that the book distribution will be held throughout the day so whether they come in the morning or in the evening, they will be getting books for themselves,” Madrid finally noted.

    Admission to all Día del libro activities from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. is free on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about the Dia Del Libro, visit www.manila.cervantes.es

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