What you need to know about the design of the Philippine booth at the Frankfurt Buchmesse

Published October 23, 2021, 8:53 AM

by Noel Pabalate

Its mural inspired renowned author and MB’s Yvette Tan to write an NFT story

With over 1, 700 islands, the Philippines is home to various ethnic groups that give it a uniquely rich and diverse culture. This identity was the inspiration for TeamManila to design the National Book Development Board (NBDB) Philippines’ booth at this year’s Frankfurt Buchmesse (FBM), the oldest book fair in the world with a history that spans more than 500 years.

Philippines booth at the Frankfurt book fair and the tikbalang illustration for the cover of ‘The Last Moon’

According to Jowee Alviar of TeamManila, apart from taking inspiration from the diverse cultural diversity of the Philippines, they also weaved into their concept different locations where Philippine stories happen—from the metro to the farthest parts of our country.

The design gives a modern interpretation to our traditional weaving patterns, resembling indigenous fabrics that can be found in different provinces of the country. But looking closely, the geometric art features figures of books.

“The starting point of the patterns used in the mural comes from a single page of the book. From that single page unfolds more complex patterns and designs,” explains Jowee. “We also use different elements inspired by the theme “Myth, Magic, and the City”. We introduce our tikbalang, the sarimanok, Luneta, and the jeepney to the world.”

The design for this year’s booth at the Frankfurt Buchmesse

This mural by the design company known for its logo featuring Jose Rizal with shades, as well as the theme coined by NBDB executive director Aquino-Tugade gave birth to a non-fungible token (NFT) story entitled “The Last Moon,” written by renowned book author and Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture Magazine editor-in-chief Yvette Tan.

“The Last Moon” is about a human child and a young tikbalang warrior who must race against time to make sure the dragon Bakunawa, who swallowed six of the earth’s original seven moons, does not succeed in covering the planet in darkness forever. TeamManila tweaked its design for the cover of “The Last Moon,” which features seven panels with moon illustrations, blending with patterns and elements from the booth’s design as well as those from the story such as the dragon and tikbalang.

TeamManila’s cover design for Yvette Tan’s ‘The Last Moon’

Yvette’s reimagination of the Visayan myth of the Bakunawa is the first NFT story launched at the FBM.

This year is the sixth consecutive appearance of the Philippines at the FBM, featuring some of the country’s top publishers like Adarna House, Anvil Publishing, Ateneo de Manila University Press, Milfores Publishing, University of the Philippines Press, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, Komiket, and more.

Part of the proceeds of “The Last Moon” will go to the translation and printing of the book in different dialects, which will be donated to the Book Nook project of NBDB.