30 Days of Summer: ¡Feliz Día del Libro!

4:08 PM

¡Feliz Día del Libro!

For one who gets giddy by simply stepping into a library or bookstore, Día del Libro is pretty much a happy day for me. Día Internacional del Libro is celebrated around the world  but traces its roots from the Province of Catalunya where books are exchanged for Roses on the 23rd of April. This is in commemoration of the deaths of two literary greats - William Shakespeare, "The Bard of Avon" and Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, author of “Don Quixote." They both died on this very day in 1616.  Kind of Creepy, huh?

This year, Instituto Cervantes Manila decided to move the celebration to April 20, last Saturday. They also decided to hold the festivities in Bonifacio High Street , the first time it was held beyond the IC premises since it started.

The program officially ran from 1 pm to 8 pm but since I was a voluntario, that wasn't the case for me. Call time was at 8:00 am and though I didn't mind the early start, I was pretty much wary of the heat. The tents were erected on the greens and the the few things we had to protect us from heatstroke were a couple of  fans, a water dispenser, and a team of volunteers from Red Cross. (Hallelujah!)

I  manned the table for the 30 minute Basic Spanish class but since that only ran from 2 to 4 pm, I had the time to sneak out and look around. The country's popular book stores - National Book Store, Power Books, and Fully-Booked set up shop, as well as La Solidaridad - that gem of a book shop owned by National Artist F. Sionil Jose.

There were also cultural performances which added more dimension to the affair. From where I was sitting, the crowd pretty much enjoyed them.

This year, Instituto Cervantes started "Mas Libros, Mas Libres" - a campaign where IC pledges a Spanish book for every like on the campaign's Facebook page. The books will be donated to public school libraries where Spanish is being taught as a foreign language.

I had fun at this year's celebration and very thankful that it was held a lot closer to home but I echo the sentiments of the Spanish Ambassador. Perhaps next year, the festivities should start in the afternoon.

Our fearless leader Nicole keeps it light and fun.

Dozens of roses await for this year's customers.
This trellis along High Street was turned into a "Bosque de Libros".
Ms. Lola Pizzaro Escribano gave free 30 minute Basic Spanish Classes.
There were about 15 participants in each class.
Kids of all ages joined the on-the-spot drawing contest.

In the midst of it all, I got to know Wilson - this cutie of a dog, who kept me company the entire afternoon.
The program started with this flamenco guitarist serenading the crowd.

 Guests read poems for the "Bersong Europinoy" part of the program.
Even with the enervating heat, people still came out and joined in on the celebration.

Highlight of my day was being flanked by the award-winning dancing duo Elias Aguirre and Alvaro Esteban.

Alvaro and Elias performed part of their award-winning routine 'Entomo' in the wet.

My cutie seatmate seemed to be impressed by the performance, too.
On behalf of the Instituto Cervantes,  the Spanish Ambassador handed over books to a couple of local libraries.
Alvaro and Elias presented their routine once more that evening.

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