Instituto Cervantes Manila (ICM) celebrated the 10th edition of Día del Libro on April 23, 2015 amidst a beautiful summer day which later turned into a wonderful evening. The wonderful evening part was fitting because this year’s Día del Libro was called La Noche de los Libros (The Night of Books). The flurry of activities started at 4pm and continued well into the night at 11. There were several well-known exhibitors and bookstores that sold their merchandise at 20% discount. These included Fully Booked, Powerbooks, Anvil Publishing, Vibal Publishing, Ortigas Foundation, Primebooks, Benito Legarda, Lourdes Paloyo, and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). For those who were penny-pinching, there was no need to worry because there were hundreds of free books available for events participants. Of course, there were roses for men and women as the tradition of Día del Libro dictates.
Below are some of the photos of what happened that day, just to whet your appetite. For more photos, please visit the Facebook page of Instituto Cervantes Manila at www.facebook.com/InstitutoCervantesManila.
I have attended several Día del Libro celebrations, but only as a student of Spanish who wants to hoard books she cannot read nor understand. This year, I upped the ante by signing up as a volunteer. Juvy and I were assigned to sort, count, pack and sell shirts and bags.
A little after 9pm, all the shirts were sold out, including the shirts left from the last two editions of the event. At this point, we were treated to a nice dinner at Casino Español de Manila.
Aside from books, there were other supplementary activities that catered to a wide variety of people: la foto de la noche, concurso dibujo rápido, recital de chelo, cadena de poesía, clase de demonstración, presentación de AVE and jazz en el patio. The jazz concert was the one that tugged at my heart because it was the only one thing that enveloped me without leaving my designated spot. It helped that my spot was adjacent to the stage where the musicians performed. 🙂
The event was a very social one but the highlight for me was something more intimate, the Escribo el Quijote. The participants were tasked to copy by hand several lines of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quijote de la Mancha in Spanish. It took a village (to borrow Hillary Clinton’s words) to fill up several leaves of a hardbound book, yet there was a sense of sole proprietorship for that particular time that I was looking at and touching the pages of Don Quijote, reading Cervantes’ immortal words and moving my hands to reproduce his thoughts. While it only lasted for a couple of minutes, there was a strange connection between me and the author and his work. It was like time stood still for a while while I savor Cervantes’ words. The last pages of that book with the handwritten words of Cervantes’ timeless work were done by the volunteers.
After the event, my fellow volunteers and I had our photos taken to remember the day that was. And it was a successful one.
Día del Libro was a family affair. I saw several children who tagged along with their parents, some of them with a rose or two while others had books but all of them were so cute. There was also a sense of amity and cooperation among the ICM family members, the professors, staff and students, pitched in to help the volunteers. Isabel and Cesar1 were staples at the Escribo el Quijote station. They stayed there until the event ended. Abby also helped in guiding the participants go to their proper places. There was a number of people who took it upon themselves to aid the hundreds of guests and participants and because of their invaluable help everything went off without a hitch.
To know more about Instituto Cervantes Manila’s upcoming activities or if you want to learn Spanish, visit its website at http://manila.cervantes.es/en/default.shtm or its facebook page at www.facebook.com/InstitutoCervantesManila.