Legarda becomes first to lobby for PHL to be Guest-of-Honor Country in Frankfurt Book Fair

October 19, 2019

Frankfurt, Germany – On the occasion of the ongoing annual Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF), Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda once again lobbied for the Philippines to become a Guest-of-Honor (GOH) country in the prestigious book fair during her meeting with Dr. Juergen Boos, President and Chief Executive Officer of the FBF.

The former Senator first and persistently made such representation to the FBF Board during her prior meetings with Dr. Boos himself and Vice President Claudia Kaiser, when she invited these FBF officials to visit the Philippines these past years.

Legarda announced that, “we are preparing to become the Guest-of-Honor country in the FBF, possibly in 2024. In fact, the National Book Development Board (NBDB), the lead agency for this project, has now identified a list of books for translation to German and they have secured commitments to translate at least 100 books by 2020.”

Dr. Boos, who is also President of the Society for the Promotion of African, Asian and Latin American Literature or LITPROM, offered his assistance in translating the books to German. NBDB Board Governor Maria Karina Bolasco noted that officers from the PEN Centre Germany have likewise expressed willingness to help in such endeavor.

“The Philippines recently hosted the PEN International Congress during which our very own F. Sionil Jose was elected Vice President. I am certain that the Philippines will make an excellent GOH country in 2024, especially now that our presence is becoming more prominent in international culture-related fora such as the Venice Biennale and this FBF, among others,” said Legarda, who served as the prime mover for both projects.

FBF Vice President Claudia Kaiser expressed interest over getting to know the Philippines better and also expressed delight in seeing the Philippine pavilion become bigger and more visible. She said, “with Indonesia as last year’s GOH, Southeast Asia has now caught our attention and the members of the Board would surely love to have the Philippines become the next GOH country representing this dynamic region.”

Legarda assures that the NBDB, in partnership with the members and stakeholders of the Philippine book publishing industry, is undertaking the necessary preparations, including finalizing the ‘bid book’ to be submitted by December 21, 2019.

Meanwhile, Dr. Boos recalled with fondness his visit to the Philippines and talked about how impressed he was with the return of the country to the Venice Biennale. He added that he was also impressed by the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles permanent gallery at the National Museum of Anthropology, Legarda’s other brainchild.

Ambassador Theresa de Vega, on the other hand, said that the Philippines has stepped up its participation when it comes to collateral activities in the FBF, such as giving presentations and conducting various demonstrations.

Legarda was also accompanied by Deputy Consul General Emil Fernandez, NBDB Chairperson Flor Maria Sta. Romana-Cruz, and Sheree Mangunay, while Dr. Boos was accompanied by FBF Vice President Kaiser during said meeting.***