Metro Manila · Dia del Libro 2013
Siesta feeling on a hot Saturday afternoon in April. People are sitting on the rich green grass of Bonifacio High Street, listening to a multilingual poetry recitation or browsing in newly bought books, while a guitarist plays flamenco music in the background. Instituto Cervantes has invited to the yearly Dia del Libro (International Book Day) and booklovers as well as fans of Spanish culture flock to the Fort.
Heart of the Dia del Libro is the all-day book fair. Major shops such as Fully Booked and National Book Store offer reduced best-sellers, while specialty bookstores sell hard-to-find Spanish literature, dictionaries, history books about the Philippines and Spanish colonization, and even antique Archie comics. For every book purchased, the buyer gets a red rose for free – an idea rooted in an old Catalan tradition of exchanging books for roses.
In a ceremony with the Spanish ambassador, Instituto Cervantes hands over books to public school libraries in the country. But the Dia del Libro is not only about books. Spanish aficionados get the chance to learn the first couple of important words and phrases in a free language course. Young artists can show their skills in a fast drawing competition. And the poetry reading 'Bersong Europinoy' brings international flair to the event. Representatives of Italian, Romanian, German, Dutch and Spanish cultural organizations read poems in their native language, while famous Filipino poets recite their own works.
Crowd puller of the day is the modern dance duo Álvaro Esteban and Elías Aguirre with their routine “Entomo”. Entranced by the passionate performance, hundreds of shoppers stop shopping for a while and join the visitors of the Dia del Libro watching the spectacle.
The Dia del Libro is organized annually by Instituto Cervantes centers all around the world to promote literature as well as Spanish language and culture.