NCCA celebrates 500 years of history in Literature

CEBU CITY, April 5 (PIA) -- The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), along with the National Book Development Board (NBDB) and the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), is celebrating this year's National Literature Month this April by looking back on the 500 years of Filipino history through storytelling.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCCA, NBDB, and KWF mark the 7th National Literature Month with events lined up from workshops, contests, and book launching through the online platform.

Speakers discuss the activities lined up for this year's National Literature Month during the virtual conference on March 26, 2021 hosted by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. (Screengrab from NCCA's Zoom meeting)

This year's theme, "Limandaang Taon ng Pagsulat sa Kalibutang Pilipino (500 Years of Writing the Filipino World)," coincides with the quincentennial commemorations of the Battle of Mactan and the introduction of Christianity in the country.

In a virtual press conference on March 26, NBDB Chairman Dante Francis "Klink" Ang II said they "plan to carry out various activities that we hope will empower readers and creatives through a critical and expansive re-examination of our history." 

Ang said, "Now more than ever, there is a need to connect with one another through stories."

"Our theme, to launch in time for the National Literature Month, this year's Philippine International Literary Festival (PILF). This encourages people to read, tell stories, and most importantly, listen to one another," the chairman added.

Since its inception in 2010, Ang said this landmark project serves to engage the public in discourse and celebrate literature with the theme, "Reclaiming our Narrative: Celebrating 500 Years of Storytelling".

"We re-examine our history and stories from years past to help us contextualize our place in the present as we go on to write and tell stories to help us navigate the uncertainty of the future," he added.

For NBDB, the chairman said, "Celebrating 500 Years of Writing the Filipino World means understanding oral traditions and remembering and honoring pioneer storytellers and the many languages that make up Philippine Literature." 

Traditionally celebrated once a year, Ang said the PILF will be celebrated for the whole 2021 to coincide with the quincentennial anniversary.

He said the first of PILF's many activities include livestreaming conversations on topics about Author on Author webcast entitled "Grit and Grime" and "Post-Pandemic Futures" series focused on pre-Hispanic Philippine script Baybayin.

He added that NBDB will also hold a virtual tour of independent bookstores around the country through "My Book, My City." 

In July, Ang said NBDB will launch Book Nook, a library-building for indigenous populations around the country, and a grant-giving program called Book-and-Buy is slated this August for micro-entrepreneurs to create their own Filipiniana sections.

For his part, KWF Chairman Arthur Casanova said they will launch the first of a series of online webinars of local literature and history called "Wikang Katutubo: Wika ng Dekolonisasyon."

Other webinars include: "Ang Babaylan hanggang kay Darna at ang Di-matapos-tapos na Pakikibaka ng mga Filipina", "Kasaysayan: Batis ng Panitikan", and "Pagsasalin Mulang Katutubong Wika Tungong Filipino: Ilang Isyu, Hamon, at Mungkahing Tugon." 

Meanwhile, Dr. Julieta Mallari, head of the National Committee on Literary Arts (NCLA), said they will be conducting a patimpalak (contest) focused on revitalizing the folk and oral literary forms such as Lelleng of Mindanao, Balitaw of Visayas, and Laji of Batanes.

She said the contest is aimed at preserving and introducing old forms to the new generation.

This is open to students in high school - junior and senior high - and college in the regions.

NCLA will also launch a book entitled "Pitong Pantig, Pintig at Pagitan" on April 9, she added.

Mallari said they will also have readings which are Baguio Reads Carlos P. Romulo on April 16 at the University of Baguio and Manila Reads Jose Garcia Villa on April 23 at the Ateneo de Manila University.

The NCLA will also virtually relaunch the book entitled "Ubod," an anthology by young writers in the whole country in commemoration of Emilio Jacinto's birthday. (idc/PIA7)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (

Post a Comment