Making Filipino Literature More Accessible to Locals – Manila Newsletter

National Book Development Board Launches 52 Indigenous and Remote Reading Spaces in the Philippines

When you were young, how many books did you read that were written by Filipino authors? In your local school or library, other than the Philippiniana sections, have you seen more locally produced reading material? For many, the only time a Filipino book landed during their early college days was when they were studying the local language or history. Some may have found great reads in the works of Dr Jose Rizal and Francisco Balagtas or in contemporary works like Bob Ong, Lualhati Bautista and Ricky Lee, but there are more local stories to discover. Unfortunately, these stories are hardly read or heard, not for lack of interest, but because of the limited spaces that make them available to regular Juans and Juanas. But that is all about to change with the launch of The Book Nook.

Photo by @ nbdb_phil / Instagram

An initiative led by the National Book Development Board (NBDB), The Book Nook is a center where people of all ages can read and borrow books proudly written by Filipino authors. What makes this project even more special is that it also aims to create user-friendly reading spaces “in areas where access to reading materials and the Internet is limited”. To crown National Reading and Book Month last November, the NBDB announced it was able to set up 52 Indigenous and Distance Reading Centers across the country when it launched online on November 24, 2021. .

“These spaces also serve as a resource for children, their parents and teachers to reinforce critical reading and writing of their own stories,” said NBDB President Dantes Francis Ang II. “That this launch signifies our commitment to better serve our country with our brand image”Aklat Para sa Lahat. ‘”

“There is a magic number and it’s 24: 1. This is our import-export disparity. There are 24 times more foreign books entering the country than what we send, ”added BNDB CEO Charice Aquino Tugade. “If you go to our libraries and bookstores, our own content is relegated to a very thin Filipino section. My question is, who do we give primacy to? Shouldn’t we give our own voice a chance? “

“We really want to involve the communities [just to] be more inspired and don’t look outward for inspiration, ”continued Tugade. “We really want something a little more holistic. Whatever Filipino language you speak, you will find that connection with other communities.

A plethora of books can be found on every The Book Nook site. It ranges from fiction and non-fiction books, highlighting topics such as culture, history, art, values, environment, health, science, work, identity, diversity and peace. According to NBDB, about 65 to 70 percent of titles are aimed at children and adolescents, and 30 to 35 percent are dedicated to adults. While many books focus on young readers, the agency assures that even adults will be delighted with stories like “Rizal Without the Overcoat” by Ambeth Ocampo, “Yvette Fernandez”Haluhalo Espesyal, “National artist Rio Alma’s”Ang Mabait na Kalabaw“And” Russell Molina “Tuwing Sabado», Among others.

“In addition to reading, there will be storytelling, arts and crafts, reading and writing workshops and book club meetings,” said BNCD. “Readers can also organize their own events! Depending on the pandemic situation in each region, the programs will either be in person or online. “

Book Nook centers are located throughout the Philippines and are open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Click here to see where you can find one.



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Adam Gray

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