Philippine Book Development Month is celebrated in November every year. It’s the month for every Filipino bookworm to ignite their passion for literature and creative writing by discovering Filipino authors, classic books, and possibly venturing out into a career in writing. What’s more, it also celebrates local writers, book authors, and publishers for continuously nurturing Philippine literature and championing it in the global arena. This month also highlights both the history, cultural milestones, and future of Filipino writers and Philippine literature. Find out more about how you can celebrate Philippine Book Development Month!
History of Philippine Book Development Month
The birth of Philippine literature occurred in the 19th century in the form of a newspaper. During the Spanish regime, on December 1, 1846, the first Philippine newspaper called “La Esperanza” was published. This marked the first piece of written media published in the Philippines. Years later, other publishing companies started releasing newspapers such as the “Estrella” in 1847, “Diario de Manila” in 1848, and “Boletin Oficial de Filipinas” in 1852.
During Spain’s colony in the Philippines, poetry and other metric literature were also introduced. They were known as the ‘tanada,’ ‘ladino,’ ‘corridos,’ and ‘awit.’ The movement of Filipino poems influenced many up-and-coming writers at that time to write poems in their local dialects.
The literary landscape in the Philippines during the Post-Colonial era was dominated by American and English literature. Not only did this have a significant impact on the future of books and novels, but also the country’s educational system. In the Philippines, English became one of the most widely spoken languages, and English-language publications and novels grew in popularity. Zoilo Galang’s work “The Child of Sorrow,” published in 1921, was the first Filipino novel written in English. Future Filipino writers such as Bienvenido Santos, Carlos Bulosan, Manuel Arguilla, and Jose Garcia Villa were significantly affected by this.
However, it wasn’t until 2011 when former education secretary Armin Lustro declared that the 11th month of the year should be devoted to commemorating reading and writing in the Philippines. It was then that the Philippine Book Development Month was launched.
Philippine Book Development Month timeline
The first Filipino newspaper called “La Esperanza” is published during the Spanish regime.
Zoilo Galang publishes the first Filipino novel in English called “The Child of Sorrow.”
Nick Joaquin becomes the first recipient of the ‘National Artist Award for Literature’ in the Philippines.
Armin Lustro officially declares November as the Philippine Book Development Month.
Philippine Book Development Month FAQs
Who are the best-selling Filipino authors of all time?
Some of the best-selling Filipino authors of all time include Bob Ong, Lualhati Bautista, Mars Ravelo, and Carlo J. Caparas.
What is the most famous poem in Philippine literature?
The most famous poem in Philippine literature is arguably ‘Florante at Laura’ by Francisco Balagtas.
What was the first novel authored by a Filipino?
The first novel authored by a Filipino is “Ninay,” written by Pedro Paterno, which is in Spanish.
Philippine Book Development Month Activities
Grab your favorite Filipino book
Take this time to reread your favorite Filipino book. It’s an exciting time to visit a childhood favorite or an interesting novel you once read in school. There’s not a better way to ignite your passion for reading than this!
Attend Filipino book fares
Attend Filipino book fares to discover hidden gems. It’s also a great way to know up-and-coming Filipino writers who are just starting in the industry.
Shop for books
The best way to support Filipino writers is to buy their books. Go out to your favorite bookstore and find the most interesting Filipino titles you’d love to read.
5 Interesting Facts About Filipino Literature
The most famous pieces of Filipino literature
Two of the most famous pieces of Filipino literature are “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo” written by Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ national hero.
The most translated Filipino poem
The most translated Filipino poem is ‘Mi Ultimo Dios’ written by Dr. Jose Rizal.
The most read book by Filipinos
According to the N.B.D.B. Readership survey, the most read book by Filipinos is the “Bible.”
Parents are the main encouragers
In the same survey, it notes that parents are the main catalyst for igniting every Filipino’s interest in reading.
Printed books over e-books
The majority of Filipinos prefer printed books over e-books.
Why We Love Philippine Book Development Month
We love books
Reading is a great way to escape. And in a time when technology is so prevalent, burying your nose into your favorite book is both a pleasurable and a healing experience.
Filipino writers are underrated
Several gifted Filipino writers are just waiting to be seen. Philippine Book Development Month allows these local authors to be recognized by people.
It has a rich history
Philippine literature has a fascinating, multicultural history. It’s always good to look back at classic novels and poems and appreciate the golden standard they have set for modern literature.
Philippine Book Development Month dates