The mission: To reclaim our narrative

To mark its 12th year, the Philippine International Literary Festival goes global with the theme “Reclaiming our Narrative: 500 years of Filipino Storytelling.” The National Book Development Board (NBDB) pushes to celebrate its annual gathering of readers, storytellers, and publishers, through online platforms, starting from the month of April up until December 2021.

Asnewly appointed Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade explains, “The festival re-examines our narratives and celebrates our great storytelling traditions. Although this pandemic has caused uncertainty, we endeavor to provide an avenue for our creatives and the wider public to connect, dialogue, and continue the creative process.”

Charisse Aquino-Tugade

To kickstart the celebration, live stream events such as “Author on Author” and “Post-Pandemic Futures” will be held—a series of lively conversations with Filipino creatives worldwide. The initial “Author on Author” webcast, entitled “Grit and Grime,” dives in on the creative process of some of the country’s favorite authors. Along with this, the NBDB will take its readers on a virtual bookstore tour with “My Book, My City,” exploring different independent bookstores around the country.

From Tuguegarao to Tawi-Tawi, more Pinoys will now be able to read their favorite Filipino-authored publications through “Book Nook,” a library-building program for indigenous populations around the archipelago beginning this July. The NBDB values and deeply appreciates the vision of regional micro-entrepreneurs. Thus, launching “Book-and-Buy,” a grant-giving program that aims to provide them the tools they need to create their respective FilipiƱana Sections.

“There is, now more than ever, a need to connect with one another through stories—and so we only thought it apt to launch, in time for National Literature Month, this year’s Philippine International Literary Festival, a celebration that, at its root, encourages Filipinos all around the world to read, tell stories, and perhaps most importantly, listen to one another,” says Dante Francis Ang II, chairman of NBDB. 

The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA), and the NaBDB encourage Filipinos to be critical readers and storytellers in remembering and writing their history—our history.

Source: Manila Bulletin (