The Día del Libro Books and Roses in the Park
Last April 27, Instituto Cervantes, the cultural arm of the Embassy of Spain, celebrated the 14th edition of the Día del Libro (International Book Day) at the Ayala Triangle, where thousands of books were sold and roses were given. Present during the inauguration ceremony were the Ambassadors of Spain, Chile, Colombia, Panama and Hungary.
The Día del Libro is an annual event regularly organized by Instituto Cervantes since 2006, which has become part of Manila’s cultural calendar. The celebration commemorates the death of the renowned Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, as well as the English playwright William Shakespeare, both of whom died on April 23. This date is also the feast day of St. George, patron saint of Catalonia, Spain. Following the tradition in Catalonia, a book market is held outdoors where books and roses are exchanged.
Here in Manila, various publishers and bookstores were present during the Día del Libro’s Book Market, such as Adarna, Anvil Publishing, Visprint Inc., Vibal, Kahel Press, and more. Aside from giving a 20% discount on their books, they also gave roses to their customers. Other booths also sold second-hand books, rare books, Filipiniana books, vintage books, books only available in Spain, and other books that you don’t find in regular stores.
Instituto Cervantes, on the other hand, paid homage to the great writers in the Spanish language and sold shirts featuring a verse from different Spanish poems, each one fitting a different type of personality. The shirts that were quickly sold out even before the day ended were by Jose Rizal and Miguel Hernández, the latter being a prominent 20th century Spanish writer after whom the Instituto Cervantes library in Manila was named.
Apart from the book market, there was a whole lot of other activities which attracted the visitors, such as the Rewriting of Don Quijote, wherein each paragraph from the novel was handwritten by the participants, and the poetry recitation of Mi último adiós, in which participants were video-recorded reading a verse from the immortal work of Dr. José Rizal. The video of this poetry recitation has been uploaded to the Youtube and social media accounts of Instituto Cervantes Manila.
There were also book signing sessions by award winning writers, including the creators of the popular Trese comics Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, as well as various children’s books authors, some of whom held story telling sessions for children. Apart from the story telling, the youngsters also had a fun time painting murals and coloring works of art by famous Spanish painters.
In fact, there was quite a lot of art during the Día del Libro. Throughout the day, Kyusi Sketchers went around painting different scenes during the event. Theatre Arts students of CSB held flash mobs of Federico García Lorca’s acclaimed drama Blood Wedding.
Music lovers also enjoyed the two concerts that were held during the event– a flamenco guitar and percussion ensemble by Alcaraz and Zialcita in the afternoon, and a punk concert in the evening by Spanish band Vulk and Filipino band The Late Isabel. This concert, entitled Posporos, is a cultural project of the Embassy of Spain to promote Spanish musicians in the Philippines, and vice versa.
Día del Libro 2019 was organized by Instituto Cervantes de Manila, the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain, Ayala Land Inc. and Make It Makati, in collaboration with Philippine Transmarine Carriers (PTC), Rustans Commercial Corporation, Turkish Airlines, La Liga, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Delegation of the European Commission to the Philippines, De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde, Kyusi Sketchers, La Peñica, Anvil, Visprint Inc., and the best Manila bookstores.