Spoken word artist Ginny Mata and fictionist Carljoe Javier interviewed us as their very first guest in Quadro Kantos, a radioshow about writers, readers, music, art aired every Monday, 5 to 6 p.m. on DZUP 1602 AM. The segment is known as Literati (which can heard every first and third Monday of the month) is a place for writers. The other one is Lit Riff that ask writers to riff about music that they love.
Quadro Kantos, is the latest project of Department of English and Comparative Literature of the University of the Philippines' College of Arts and Letters.
Founded in 1910, two years after UP was established, the DECL is considered the seat of English Studies and Comparative Literature in Southeast Asia. It also was the mother not only of such institutions as the College of Mass Communication, and the Departments of Filipino and Philippine Literature, Speech Communication and Theater Arts, and Arts Studies but also of such individuals as National Artists Francisco Arcellana, Daisy H. Avellana, Ishmael Bernal, Lino Brocka, N.V.M. Gonzales, Carlos P. Romulo, Jose Garcia Villa, to name a few. No wonder, it was recognized by the Commission on Higher Education as the first Center of Excellence in English and the first Center of Excellence in Literature in 2001. For its 100th anniversary, DECL hosted the First International Conference on Postcolonial Praxis: Theories, Cultural Practices and Movements for the Global South last 21-23 July 2010 at the National Institute of Science and Mathematics Education (NISMED) Auditorium at the UP Diliman campus.
Last week, on 16 and 17 September, DECL collaborated again with the British Council Philippines and Primetrade Asia Inc. for the UP DECL Centennial and ACCESS: 2nd English Language Conference with Bro. Armin Luistro as keynote speaker.
It was all part of the 31st Manila Book Fair at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City where we served as a poet and as a master of ceremonies during its opening ceremonies. During our performance called Mga Kuwento ni Lolo Bosyo, we used the One Man's Dream video of sand artist Ilana Yahav and the sound of Georges Chatelain, to pay tribute to the pillars of book industry namely Mr. Felicito Abiva, Mr. Ramon Balatbat, Mr. Manuel Cancio, Mr. Tony Esposo, Mr. Eduardo Makabenta, Mrs. Socorro Ramos, Mr. Louie O. Reyes, Mr. Lirio Sandoval, Mr. Manuel Valdehuesa, and Mr. Herbert Veloso. National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose was supposed to be the Guest of Honor but when he was being introduced by Mr. Paolo Sibal, president of the Philippine Booksellers Associaton Inc., he was nowhere to be found. Good thing, the presidents of Primetrade Asia, Inc. and the Book Development Association of the Philippines, namely Ms. Irene Lloren and Mr. Lirio Sandoval, were there earlier to delight the audience with their talk about the past and the present MIBF co-located events – aside from ACCESS: The 2nd Philippine English Language Conference -- like Edu.Shop, a trade fair for school materials, supplies, equipment, and facilities; SuperKids 2010, an early childhood educational fair that will showcase focused discussions, learning sessions and workshops that will equip parents, guardians, educators and adults with the latest in child care and development, parenting and education, and cool activities for children.; JobFest 2010, a career fair that gathers the country’s leading employers in search for the best additions to their rapidly growing teams; and The Best of Anime, a festival featuring anime exhibits, gaming, cosplay,concert and special activities that will thrill anime and manga enthusiasts.
On the other hand, it was Dr. Dennis Gonzalez, chair of the National Book Development Board, who wowed the crowd when he gave his instant suggestions for MIBF in the future.
All the more we became grateful for becoming a yearly part of MIBF since our Pistang Panitik days in 2003 when Karina Bolasco introduced us to Tinette Capistrano.
The said vice president of Primetrade Asia, Inc. told us how MIBF's journey began in 80s, with the goal to provide the reading public with the opportunity to avail of the latest books not only from the Philippines but from around the world: “It first set sail at the Philippine Center for the International Trade Exhibitions (PHILCITE) at the bay area. Changes are really inevitable as the Book Fair moved to the Philippine Trade and Training Center in 1990 and to the Megatrade Hall of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City in 1993. With us as its organizer and with the unwavering support of its partners, the MIBF set sail towards a better horizon. Last year we revealed a precious treasure as the MIBF celebrated its 30thyear. Indeed the MIBF is like a natural pearl that took time to reach its present beauty and perfection to be admired and treasured by thousands of people. And this year, proves that the MIBF is still the premiere book event in the country.”
We learned that as early as 1981, MIBF was organized by PHILCITE. It was PHILCITE that tapped leaders in the Philippine book industry to help mount the book fair. PHILCITE , too, provided the venue and they had a one month book fair. There were many foreign publishers then At that time, importation was controlled so the local booksellers would make their purchases from the foreigners. There was hiatus afterwards until 1986. The following year, MIBF was held again and was called Book Fair Manila also at PHILCITE. Then, the fair had started to develop a following among the Filipino bibliophiles. Fun events were introduced in the fair such as quizzes and competitions. Noteworthy personalities had author-signing sessions. During the early 90s, it was transferred to The Philippine Trade Training Center. It started at the PHILTRADE for three years until it grew and the fair had to look for another venue. By 1993, the Philippine Book Fair went from hall to mall, bringing books closer to every Filipino. This decade saw the growth of the fair, and the growth of many booksellers in the industry. Specialized bookselling also began and focus on niche book-selling became more and more common like stores only selling children’s books, or academic books, and computer books. Many new players also entered the book trade.
These years saw reading become a habit every September with schools.
The annual National Book Awards of the Manila Critics Circle recognized the Book Fair and made it their home the next decade. After 10 years, it went back from mall to the hall and changed its name back to the Manila International Book Fair. MIBF made the World Trade Center its new home.
Two years ago, it moved to its present venue with its constant partner organizations in Book Development Association of the Philippines, Philippine Booksellers Association, and Asian Catholic Communicators Inc. headed by the Executive Director of the Claretian Communications Foundation -- Rev. Fr. Benedict Dilag, CFM – who was the main celebrant until its last day yesterday.
Today you have another reason to celebrate.
Internationally renowned and multi-awarded Anton Juan Jr. is showing the fruit of his one-and-a-half month workshop with his artistic team via the production of Griselda
Gambaro’s Information for Foreigners as part of its ongoing DECL celebration. This two-hour play will be staged within the CAL New Building tonight until 26 September at 7 p.m. Workshop participants are Adrian Kevin Agonoy, Maryjane Alejo, Ron Aries Billete, Ara Carmela Bonilla, Janellyn Briones, Jennelyn Cabauatan, Christian Dagsil, Rico del Rosario, Renz Danielle Dugenia, Emma Fisher, Chona Fernando, Carlo Garcia, Karen Gaerlan, Ekis Gimenez, Benedick Hernandez, Nestor Benny Leyson, Michael Ian Lomongo, Michael Magallona, Jeena Rani Marquez, Olive Nieto, Paul Jake Paule, Carlo Pulido, Jodee Reyes, Opaline Rae Santos, Betty Uy-Regala, and Jaime Yambao with the special participation of guest actor, Peter Serrano. Ticket is at P250. For inquiries, kindly contact Karen at (0927) 554-1854.
No matter how bitter coffee gets, one bite of a sweet cookie changes everything.