MANILA, Philippines – “Love for books equates to love for learning,” was the key message of Senator Benigno Aquino IV in a speech at the opening of the 35th Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
In his six-minute stay on stage, Aquino shared with the MIBF crowd gathered Wednesday that he was a regular attendee of the book fair himself, and that back when he and wife Mary Fatima Gomez-Aquino were still not married, they would always go to the book fair for dates.
But on a more serious note, Aquino puts premium on reading as through this activity, “your heart gets to learn [as well] and you get to expand your horizon,” the 37-year-old legislator said. Aquino believes that it is through reading and, eventually, learning that our country can combat poverty.
“You can [also] look at poverty in terms of a lack of learning, and one way to really combat poverty is for more Filipinos to actually have that love for learning, to have that content that will help them improve their lives,” he added.
Aquino’s belief was echoed and strengthened by the 2nd and final speaker, Sophia Marie Lee, an award-winning writer.
In her speech, Lee shared a study which found that “one’s reading aptitude in the third grade can be an indicator to one’s likelihood to succeed in later life.” Though she admits not knowing how applicable this finding is on our society, Lee said that she couldn’t help but “think how very real it sounds, that one’s ability to read is correlative to one’s ability to succeed.”
Like Aquino, Lee believes that reading is one effective way to learn as it provides readers experiences they wouldn’t encounter elsewhere but in books. Quoting her favorite writer Neil Gaiman, Lee said: “When you read, you get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know… Even though you go about the world around you, after you read, you’re able to understand that the world doesn’t have to be like this, that things can be different.”
Lee ended her speech with an invitation:
“And so I invite all of you to a reading revolution. I invite you to crack open a book and fall in love with it. Let it tell you how it can make your life better; let it tell you how you can make the world better. Your new world waits, just turn the page.”
The Manila International Book Fair was organized by Primetrade Asia Inc.
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