Instituto Cervantes Celebrates Día del Libro with Rizal Homage

Instituto Cervantes Celebrates Día del Libro with Rizal Homage |

This article is available in Spanish.

MANILA, Philippines — Instituto Cervantes de Manila celebrated International Book Day, or Día del Libro, on Saturday, April 22 with a recital of Filipino poetry in Spanish.

The event began with the premiere of a video titled “Canto del viajero” by José Rizal, in which more than thirty Spanish speakers from various continents recited the poem, made possible by the collaboration of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, and Spain embassies in the Philippines. The video aims to highlight the richness of Spanish-Filipino poetry, specifically that of Rizal, who created his work in Spanish, according to director of Instituto Cervantes de Manila, Javier Galván.

For years, the nonprofit organization has been involved in a campaign to encourage young Filipino authors to write in Spanish through creative-writing workshops and to raise awareness of the Filipino literary heritage in Spanish. The Instituto Cervantes’ Miguel Hernández Library has amassed a valuable collection of Filipiniana. It established the Hispanic-Filipino Classics collection in 2006, through which it keeps out-of-print works like “Cuentos de Juana” by Adelina Gurrea and rare titles like “Los pájaros de fuego” by Jesús Balmori.

The Filhispanic Poetry Recital marks a new development in this campaign to promote Spanish in the Philippines. Instituto Cervantes invited poetry enthusiasts to recite Spanish-language poems written by Filipino authors, whether they were modern writers like Guillermo Gomez Rivera, Daisy Lopez, or Wystan de la Peña, or classics like Rizal.

Book discussions, art shows, Spanish lessons, games, storytelling sessions, gastronomy, child-friendly activities, and a performance by the indie Filipino band Talahib People’s Music were among the events that took place. In addition to the traditional book market, the event included a display of books from local publishers and bookstores. The publishers presented the public with roses, as is customary in Spain.

In honor of Miguel de Cervantes Day, Instituto Cervantes also invited guests to participate in a handwriting activity to write passages from “Don Quijote de La Mancha,” promising to store the completed book in its library.

The Instituto Cervantes in Manila initiated the celebration of Día del Libro in 2006.

The Philippines’ literature was first written in Spanish, despite the fact that the Spanish language is now all but extinct in the country.

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