Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Día del libro 2012

Día del libro Manila is an annual celebration held at the Instituto Cervantes de Manila (ICM) which I would liken to a book fair slash open house of sorts. They plan a whole day of interactive fun for all ages - games for kids, competitions for adults, plus film screenings, poetry reading and a concert for those who just want to sit back and join the audience. 

Last April 21 marked the día del libro Manila for 2012. This year they had their usual mix of contests: No tan trivial (trivia game about knowledge of Spanish language and culture), Dibujo rápido (on-the-spot speed drawing contest), La foto del Día (on-the-spot photography contest), Cadena de poesía (chain poetry activity) and many more. Above are photos of my favorite entries to the Dibujo rápido competition.

On top of the competitions, there was the open-house part of the day which gave people a sneak peek into what it's like to enroll in / be a member of the Instituto Cervantes de Manila. They held sample 30-minute classes for the curious (clase de demonstración gratuita), Spanish proficiency diagnostics (examen de diagnóstico de nivel) for those who have already had some background in the language, introductory session to the DELE (Diplmas de Español como Lengua Extranjera) certification for proficiency in Spanish. I'd say these are the basic things you would need to try out to help you decide if you would enjoy enrolling at the ICM language school.

There was also a guided tour of the premises, including a visit to the Miguel Hernández Library - my favorite part of ICM! The library has an extensive collection of fiction and nonfiction books as well as magazines, movies, telenovelas (of course!), comics, and audio lessons. P800.00 gets you an annual membership, which entitles you to take out 4 items at a time for a duration of one month. Students and senior citizens get it at a discounted price of P500.00 per year while students of Spanish classes at the ICM get a free 6-month membership starting from their first month of class. If you are proficient in Spanish or are trying to be, you will love this library.

I have been going to the día del libro for a few years now and my favorite parts have always been the bits were the cultural programs. Bersong EuroPinoy is a poetry recital featuring different European languages and several Filipino poems. The first Bersong EuroPinoy I attended was three years ago which, to date, is still my favorite one. At the opening of the show, the director said something to the effect of "Don't worry if you don't understand what they are saying when they read the different European poems. Just sit and listen to the words because poetry is not only about the meaning but also about the choice of words, the beauty in the way it sounds." That's always stuck with me. (And anyway, they hand out these booklets that have the poems in both the original language and the English translation.) 

After the poetry recital, there was a screening of Celda 211 - intense prison movie that will leave you feeling heavy! I thought I was in for a light enjoyable day but well... this movie changed that.

The day was capped off with a concert by Nancy Ábalos  y La Campañía Argentina de Música where we were treated to some Argentenian tango, chacarera and malambo. Here's a short little clip of the first part of the concert:

There was also an awesome guitar duet which I now regret not capturing on video. To console me, my friend recommended that I just go on YouTube and look for Diablo Rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriela. Awesome recommendation! Now imagine hearing something somewhat like this live. 

And of course what is the día del libro without the mercadillo de libros (book fair) happening in the open grounds all day. I love this coming together of an interesting mix of publishers and bookshops which offer items you cannot find, or at least are not highlighted, in mainstream bookstores.. Among my favorites are Anvil, La Solidaridad bookstore and a couple of museum / foundation shops. 

The book fair featured many mainstream books, Spanish books as well as Spanish learning tools and most offered a 20% - 25% discount plus a rose for each purchase. The first 200 visitors to arrive at the Instituto Cervantes de Manila were given vouchers to claim their free books, plus more books were given away to those who signed up for membership on the day itself.

My haul:

Re-viewing Filipino Cinema by Bienvenido Lumbera

Pinoy Jazz: The Story of Jazz in the Philippines by Richie Quirion and Collis Davis

Breve Antología de La Poesía Filipina (Poetas de habla española) por Pablo Lalso y Raúl Guerrero Montemayor.

When Britain Ruled the Philippines: 1762 - 1764 by Shirley Fish

Books, poetry, film, music... all for free! How could you resist?

Special thank you to the wonderful Mexican friend who translated and shared endless cultural notes to help me appreciate the programming so much more :)

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