April has been declared National Literature Month (Buwan ng Panitikang Filipino), as per Proclamation No. 968, which was signed last Feb. 10.
Proclamation No. 968 recognizes that “Philippine literature, written in different Philippine languages, is associated with the history and cultural legacy of the State, and must be promoted among Filipinos,” and that “national literature plays an important role in preserving and inspiring the literature of today and in introducing to future generations the Filipino values that we have inherited from our ancestors.”
April is only befitting for the celebration as the month marks Francisco “Balagtas” Baltazar Day, and the birth and death anniversaries of literary icons such as Emilio Jacinto, Paciano Rizal, Nick Joaquin, Edith Tiempo and Bienvenido Lumbera. Also, international literary celebrations such as International Children’s Book Day, International Day of the Book or World Book Day, and World Intellectual Property Rights Day are being celebrated in this month.
National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), led by its chair Felipe M. de Leon Jr. and OIC-executive director Adelina M. Suemith, and Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) with National Artist Virgilio Almario as chair, are spearheading the first ever celebration of the National Literature Month.
National Literature Month will kick off with a youth camp and the unveiling of a new monument of Tagalog poet Francisco Balagtas and park in Wawa in Orion, Bataan.
In celebration of “Balagtas Day,” some 500 Grade 8 students in Region III and select indigenous youths from all over the country will gather March 30-31, in Orion Elementary School for a youth camp. It will begin with the inauguration of a new monument of Balagtas, created by sculptor Julie Lluch, and the opening of the Hardin ni Balagtas.
On April 2, simultaneous wreath-laying ceremonies will be held at Balagtas monuments in Pandacan, Manila; Balagtas, Bulacan; and Orion, Bataan.
On April 6, 2 p.m., the first of a series of Tertulya sa Tula: Isang Hapon ng mga Makata ng Taon will be held at the KWF, where the audience will have the opportunity to interact with Makata ng Taon winners. Subsequent events will be held on April 13, 20 and 27.
From April 9-11, Lingayen, Pangasinan, will host the first Baybayin Summit to be in participated in by teachers, scholars, researchers and students. They will tackle the issue of introducing the Old Tagalog script into the school curriculum.
On April 11, Ateneo de Manila University’s Ateneo Institute of Literary Arts and Practices will hold the High Fantasy and Young Adult Writing Workshop. It will be held every Saturday of the month (April 11, 18 and 25).
From April 13-15, Uswag Filipino! will be held at the Bulacan State University, while the Filipino poets’ group Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo will conduct the “Lakbay-Panitik para kay Emilio Jacinto” in Majayjay, Laguna, on April 16, in celebration of the hero’s death anniversary.
The Gunglo dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano iti (Gumil) Filipinas, or Ilokano Writers Association of the Philippines, will hold its 47th national conference at the Cubao Expo in Quezon City April 17-19, with the theme, “Ang Papel ng Gumiliano sa Lipunang Ilokano.”
The Bienvenido Santos Creative Writing Center of the De La Salle University will hold the Young Writers Workshop for children with literary inclinations on April 17. Also on the same day, Lira will host a poetry session program at the Conspiracy Bar in Quezon City.
On April 20, Manila Times College in Intramuros, Manila, will conduct a Literary Journalism Workshop with critic Isagani Cruz, while the University of Santo Tomas’ Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies will conduct “Tradisyon at Modernidad: Isang Simposyum,” on April 21.
From April 21 to 23, a translation seminar will be at the Western Mindanao State University in Zamboanga City.
April 23 is National Book and Copyright Day, and National Book Development Board will spearhead the celebration. On April 24, the Klasrum Adarna session will tackle “Pagtuturo ng Noli at Fili/ Ibong Adarna” in Makati City, while Folk on Badiw: Ibaloy Legacy to Poetry and Music will be held at the University of the Philippines in Baguio City, April 24-25.
On April 26, Fit ’n’ Fun: Fun Run for Writers will be at the UP Academic Oval, organized by the Filipinas Institute of Translation.
On April 26-28, the Iyas National Writers Workshop of University of St. La Salle-Bacolod will be held in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. And from April 29 to 30, the Pambansang Kongreso sa Wikang Filipino will be held in Baguio City by the Kapisanan ng mga Superbisor at Guro sa Filipino.
On April 29, the Pambansang Araw ng Gawad sa KWF Timpalak Uswag Darepdep will be held. Uswag Darepdep is a contest of the KWF for 12 to 17-year-old aspiring writers writing in different Philippine languages. This year, language categories that are open for competition are Ilokano, Sebwano, Bikol and Mëranaw.
On April 30, a poetry reading by the Katig Writers Network will be held at UP Tacloban in Leyte and at the Northwestern State University in Calbayog City, Samar.
Visit KWF office at Watson Bldg., 1610 J. P. Laurel St., Malacanang Complex, San Miguel, Manila. Call Kriscell Largo Labor, executive assistant IV, Sangay ng Edukasyon at Networking, at 7362524 or 7362525; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.kwf.gov.ph.