Tikbalang, aswang, call center agents turned crimebreakers and other mythological and fictional characters will appear this week at the world’s oldest and largest book fair in Frankfurt, Germany.
The Philippine booth at the Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt Book Fair) will feature around 100 various titles from Filipino authors and designers from October 20 to 24. Its exhibition, anchored on the theme “Myth, Magic and the City: Recovering Our Narrative”, will present different genres, such as fiction for young adults, children’s books, cookbooks, climate literature and graphic novels.
“Our vision is an archipelago of stories,” said Charisse Aquino Tugade, Executive Director of the National Book Development Board (NBDB).
The idea was coined by creative director Erwin Romulo, who noted that the diversity of the Filipino nation should be celebrated, Tugade added.
A myriad of voices
“We are not heterogeneous and we revel in distinctions. Whatever myriad of our voices together, we are a harmony of cultures, ”she said at an online press conference. “By focusing on the stories rather than the storyteller, we emphasize that it also shows how the same elements of the story appear in new narratives across the archipelago. Most importantly, it highlights not the individual but the community in an archipelagic culture. “
The Philippine trade fair stand, which will house the titles, also incorporates this concept of diversity. Team Manila designed the stand which features a long mural with distinct Filipino elements.
Jowee Alviar, co-founder of the graphic design studio, said they took inspiration from the theme “Myth, magic in the city” and turned it into a “visual language”. The Manila team woven into their designs indigenous textiles, ethnolinguistic designs and Filipino icons (the jeepney) and mythological creatures (such as the tikbalang).
“The effect is a series of panels, each serving as a piece in the narrative creating a rich tapestry of Filipino culture and identity,” the NBDB said in a statement.
The Philippine contingent will also be releasing a non-fungible token (NFT) graphic story titled “The Last Moon.” The story is a “sequel, not a tale” of the Bakunawa (a serpent-shaped dragon from an ancient Ilonggo myth), which takes place in the modern era, according to horror writer Yvette Tan.
The author of “Kaba” based the story on the work of Team Manila. The NFT project allows creators to manage their heritage and determine how their work is resold.
Over the course of the five-day show, the NBDB will feature and hopefully sell the rights to titles like “The Quiet Ones”, Palanca’s winning Glenn Diaz play; “Remains” by Daryll Delgado, a novel that explores the devastation caused by the supertyphon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan); and “Naïmas! The Food Heritage of Ilocos Sur ”, a book on the culinary traditions of Ilocano by Deogracias Victor Savellano and Heny Sison.
Graphic novels like “Alandal” by Alex Niño and Jay Ignacio and “Dead Balagtas, Tomo 1 by Emiliana Kampilan: Mga Sayaw ng Dagat in Lupa” are just two of the varied and visually stunning graphic novels that will be presented at the booth. Filipino.
Children’s books like “Kung Linggo (Sundays)”, written by national literary artist Virgilio Almario and illustrated by Abi Goy, and “Ginto’t Pilak”, the story of Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, will also be on display.
Online discussions covering different topics will also be available during the hybrid presentation, Tugade said. The webinar series will be available on the NBDB website.
Chef JP Anglo will lead the discussion “Filipino Cuisine: 7,641 Ways to Cook” and will also cook up several dishes from popular cookbooks.
Stephani Alvarez, Danton Remoto and Laurel Fantauzzo will discuss how being queer influenced their writing, while Delgado and scientist Fr. Jett Villarin will discuss the climate emergency.
“TRESE” creator Budjette Tan will discuss local mythology and oral tradition with Komiket co-founder Paolo Herras.
The Philippines will do their best with this remarkable roster in their sixth consecutive appearance in Frankfurt, as they seek to become the 2025 guest of honor.