Taking place at the World Trade Center in Pasay from April 25 to 28, 2024, the Philippine Book Festival 2024 is a four-day celebration showcasing the richness of Philippine literature, culture, and arts. This unique book fair integrates education, entertainment, tourism, and shopping into a single family-friendly event.

For the second year running, the National Book Development Board Philippines (NBDB) is bringing together publishers, authors, artists, educators, and readers at the country’s biggest traveling book festival.

In addition to the extensive collection of published works and titles from the Philippines, this year’s festival offers a diverse range of talks and workshops.

Highlights include “A Day with Gwy Saludes,” featuring an exclusive book signing and meet-and-greet session with the author. Historian and bestselling author Ambeth Ocampo will lead “Ambeth Without the Overcoat,” a book signing session. National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts, Ricky Lee, will present “Trip to Quiapo,” while “Dahling Nick: A Tribute to National Artist Nick Joaquin” will honor the renowned writer. Other sessions include “Aklat Para Sa Accla: New Trends in Boys Love and Girls Love,” “Comics Can Change the World” with Patti Ramos, and “Zine-making 101,” a workshop on crafting independently-produced  “fanzines” led by Komiket’s Bunny Luz.

Attendees can anticipate the comeback of the Rare Book Collection by the National Library of the Philippines, which will feature a new selection of rare manuscripts and facsimiles; the Book Bar–a library of sorts filled with award-winning books; Cosplay Filipiniana, a cosplay competition allowing fans to portray their beloved Philippine literary characters; and Guhit Pambata, an exhibit highlighting the creations of some of our best children’s book illustrators. This year, the PBF will launch the Tabuan Food Hall, wherein guests can feast in between pages.

The festival brings back its four popular realms: Kid Lit, a land just for children, Komiks, which puts the spotlight on Pinoy komiks, Booktopia, home to an abundance of fiction and non-fiction titles, and Aral Aklat, which is devoted to textbooks and educational materials. There will be a Creators Lab, Main Stage, and Kids-at-Play that highlight exciting talks, activities, and workshops more specific to the interests of readers and fans of those genres.

Panels, puppet shows, storytelling with surprise television and movie celebrities, and live performances are also scheduled throughout the four-day festival.

“This year, we have more authors and we bring together the best of Philippine content for the entire family. The country needs more reading spaces that encourage conversation, creation, and collaboration. Ang Philippine Book Festival ang nagsisilbing panghikayat ng NBDB sa iba pang mga organisasyon na lumahok at makiisa sa mga programang nagtutulak sa mga Filipino na magbasa dahil ang aklat ay para sa lahat,” said NBDB Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade.

The event is longer this year to give ample time for teachers, librarians, and organizations to research the books they need for their schools. Similar to last year, NBDB is working closely with the Department of Education (DepEd) to train more than 750 book evaluators and procurement officers to scope and evaluate books to purchase for public school libraries and library hubs. Evaluators from all over the country will fly in to source educational books for the students of their regions.

A Feast for the Eyes

The festival will be a feast for the eyes too as it features the designs of talented graphic designer and children’s book illustrators Marc Vincent Soriano, Liza Flores, and Beth Parrocha. Parrocha designed the four realms, finding inspiration in the four major elements: water for Kid Lit; earth for Komiks; fire for Aral Aklat; and air for Booktopia. Each realm has its color as well—pink, purple, yellow, and aqua—to make it easy for guests to figure out which part of the festival they’re in.

“I had fun doing all the visuals. It’s a great opportunity for any artist to be given the whole World Trade Center as a canvas for my art,”  Parrocha said.

A Stronger Culture of Reading

The Philippine Book Festival is part of the National Book Development Board’s effort to promote a culture of reading and develop the publishing industry in the Philippines.

“The Philippine Book Fair is a program that, on the one hand, is about celebrating Philippine culture, but on the other hand, encompasses our agency’s long-term plans: improve access for every Filipino reader, democratize distribution, and enable our publishers and authors to keep producing Philippine books,” said Chairperson Dante Francis Ang II.

The fair is open to the public from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM on April 25-28, with no entrance fees. For more information on the Philippine Book Festival and to register for free, visit www.philippinebookfest.com.

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