Fourth Iloilo Mega Book Fair goes grassroots

Published November 17, 2021, 8:30 AM

by Tara Yap

Bringing the love of reading closer to the community is the focus of the fourth Iloilo Mega Book Fair (IMBF). It will no longer be confined to malls or academic institutions. Instead, it’s going to communities in the seven districts of Iloilo City.

In the project dubbed as “IMBF Sari-sari Bookstore sa Barangay,” children’s books mostly written in the local languages are going to be readily available at selected sari-sari stores or known as “tiyangge” to Ilonggos in Arevalo City Proper, La Paz, Lapuz, Jaro, Molo, Mandurriao, and Arevalo districts.

“We believe our books and stories can reach out and engage children who are deprived of their right to read due to the pandemic,” says writer Noel Galon de Leon, who is also the project director of IMBF 2021.

The books and stories reproduced for the Nov. 11 to 14 distributions are from writers of Aklat Alamid and the books funded by The Asia Foundation.

Among the titles available are  Si Yanila kag ang Gataw by Eliodora L. Dimzon and illustrated by Kristoffer T. Panes, Strawla: Reyna sang mga Basura by John Frederic C. Bugayong, May Torotot sa Saranggutan by Sheila Calaliman and illustrated by Hannah Vergara, Si Ani, Ang Manugdala sang Kasanag by Alice Tan Gonzales and illustrated by Gil S. Montinola, Sanday Tay Alig kag Tay Amar by Noel de Leon and illustrated by Marrz Capanang,  Paborito nga Duag ni Denden by Early Sol Gadong and illustrated by Gil S. Montinola,  Dako nga Yahong Sang Batchoy by Jennie Arado and illustrated by Rayah Dizon-Maniago, May Isa Ka Kuring nga Hari by Alice Tan Gonzales, Kaibigan sa Bakuran by Jeron Tanglaw, and Sino ang Magiging Titser Ko Sa Pasukan? by Salvacion C. Montenegro.

‘IMBF Sari-Sari Bookstore sa Barangay is a contribution of our local writers to bridge the dying culture of reading in our communities. We believe that this project may serve as an important instrument to temporarily address the worsening literacy problem in our country.’

IMBF is seeing the village-based bookstore as an important model of book distribution in the time of the pandemic.

“IMBF Sari-Sari Bookstore sa Barangay is a contribution of our local writers to bridge the dying culture of reading in our communities. We believe that this project may serve as an important instrument to temporarily address the worsening literacy problem in our country,” the organizers emphasize.

With the theme of “Sa Gihapon, Padayon” (Always Moving Forward), there will also be a series of talks online.

“This initiative by Kasingkasing Press, Book Latte, and Hubon Manunulat is a truly remarkable effort that shows how, despite all the problems in book production, marketing, and distribution during the pandemic, the groups are willing to break barriers just to serve the Filipino readers,” says the organizers.

Dr. Ma. Cecilia Locsin-Nava, eminent scholar in Philippine studies and Literary criticism, is the keynote speaker.

Other speakers are Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz of University of the Philippines (UP Mindanao), Irish Inoceto of Iloilo Pride Team, Diandra Ditma A. Macarambon of Mindanao State University.

In supporting diversity, IMBF is also highlighting the “Bida ang Lesbiana Talk Series,” which shares experiences of women loving and community initiatives.

 
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