Día del Libro (World Book Day) was held last April 23, 2016 at Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati City from 11AM to 11PM. Brought to the Philippines by Instituto Cervantes in 2006, it is a tradition that started in Spain where women and men exchange books and roses. It was my first time to attend such kind of celebration and what I expected to be just another book fair event turned out be so much more.
Commemorating Literary Icons
Aside from reliving a tradition, Día del Libro also pays tributes to important names in literature. In the Philippines, April is declared as the National Literature Month by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA) to honor Francisco Balagtas, renowned Filipino poet. In world literature, the death of two icons, William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, is being commemorated.
So basically, Día del Libro is about books, tradition and literary icons. Doesn’t sound that exciting, huh? That was just an introduction, okay? Just so you know the significance of the event before we get down to the fun activities.
I’ve attended several book affairs before and I must admit, Día del Libro is a one-of-a-kind celebration! With the short amount of time I stayed, there were so many things I truly adored during the event!
Things I Adored at Día del Libro
Buy Books on Sale
All books are on sale! Yes, you can get a book for as low as PHP50. I was able to buy a Lonely Planet travel guide book for PHP100 (original price around PHP1K) which almost looked brand new.
I was supposed to buy two but an old man got the other one, haha! I bought Middle East and he took India (one of my target destinations). He looked at me and said in his Spanish accent, “Why buy Middle East?”. I smiled and asked him back, “Why not (In my mind, I want to go to Turkey and Jordan!)?”. Also, I got this “exotic” and old Agatha Christie book published in Spanish. Old books are like antiques to me!
Get a Rose for Buying a Book
As I’ve mentioned, Día del Libro is a tradition in Spain where women and men exchange books and roses. During the event, you’ll get a stem of rose when you buy a book. For me, a book and a rose is just a perfect and sweet combination!
Read and Exchange Books in a Pop-up Library
A pop-up library called The Book Stop was also organized during the event. The Book Stop attempts to redefine the typical library that we know. They intended to put the libraries in open spaces where people will not only enjoy reading but at the same, interact with fellow bookworms and share the love for books. You can also exchange your books here!
Rewriting of Don Quixote
This is one of my most favorite parts of the event, hand-writing a copy of Don Quixote! This is a tribute to the 400th death anniversary of its famous Spanish author, Miguel de Cervantes.
I have a copy of the book and I even watched a Don Quixote ballet show by Ballet Manila several years ago. The hand-written book will be placed in the library of Instituto Cervantes (I’m part of history, yay!).
Buy Cool Shirts!
I love statement shirts (positive statement shirts to be specific)! I have a few in my closet. But it’s my first time to buy a shirt with cool lines from famous poems. The shirts came from Instituto Cervantes and you’ll get a free Spanish book if you buy one (and a rose, too!). I was supposed to buy the shirt with Jose Rizal’s Mi Último Adiós but it was sold out at an early time of the day!
There are also shirts printed onsite from the National Development Board’s booth with quotes from the winning books in the 34th National Book Awards.
Those bookworms slash foodies might have feast on Spanish food during the event! I was not able to try, hopefully next time!
Free Souvenir Photo!
Yes, there was a booth for free souvenir photos!
Loads of Entertainment and Other Activities
Aside from the things I mentioned, there were a lot of other activities that happened. Some visitors got a henna tattoo for free!
There were presentations including Guitarra Flamenca and performance from the UP Singing Ambassadors. There was also a free 30-min Spanish lessons facilitated by Instituto Cervantes. And so much more!!! Next time, I will definitely stay longer!
The Best Part
No admission fee!!!