Legarda leads initial interagency meet as PH prepares for 2025 Frankfurt Book Fair as Guest of Honour country

August 22, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda led the first interagency meeting in preparation for the 2025 Frankfurt Book Fair, where the Philippines will be the Guest of Honour country.

She welcomed the officials of Frankfurter Buchmesse, composed of Juergen Boos, President and CEO of Frankfurter Buchmesse; Claudia Kaiser, Vice President of Business Development; and Simone Bühler, Head of Guest of Honour Programme at the National Museum of Anthropology, to discuss further ways to strengthen the involvement of the Philippines to the global event.

Also participated in the meeting are officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), National Book Development Board (NBDB), and National Museum.

“Today marks a momentous and joyous occasion as we commence our formal preparations for the 2025 Frankfurt Book Fair, where the Philippines has been given this opportunity of being the Guest of Honour country,” Legarda stated.

She underscored the 2025 Frankfurt Book Fair is an important step to showcase and uphold the creativity and intellectual prowess of Filipino publishers, writers, illustrators, editors, graphic novelists, book designers, library jobbers, book dealers, and other cultural workers whose works are documented in or inspired by books, in a prominent position in the global arena, which the senator said can impact the country in various ways including the promotion of a culture of reading among Filipinos.

“Being the Guest of Honour provides the Philippines with a unique and advantageous platform to not only promote our local authors and books but also to showcase the rich culture and heritage of our nation. It is an opportunity to highlight the boundless creativity and intellect of our people to a global audience,” she said.

Beyond publishing, the privilege of being Guest of Honour will also elevate the country’s overall reputation, resulting in a boost in tourism and positive branding of our growing exports from other areas of our creative sector, such as film, music, architecture, and from the country’s labor and services sector, as Legarda explained.

This opportunity, she said, should translate to tangible economic impacts, such as an increase in the number of exports in translations, sales of rights, and publications.

Based in Germany, the Frankfurt Book Fair has been gathering more than 4,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries all over the globe since 1949, which not only supports authors but also holds a convergence of political, cultural, and economic significance.

This is the first time the Philippines was considered Guest of Honour to the important event, made possible through Legarda’s efforts in collaboration with the NBDB.

According to Legarda, the project visionary, the Philippines participated sporadically at the book fair from 1998 until 2000 through the NBDB but could not sustain it.

In 2015, Karina Bolasco, the Director of the Ateneo de Manila University Press at that time, informed her of the importance of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Legarda has worked tirelessly to push for the project and distinction since then.

Through former NBDB Chairperson Neni Sta. Romana- Cruz, the Letter of Intent for Guest of Honour was submitted by the Philippines in 2017. Legarda visited the Philippine booth in Frankfurt in 2018, met with the officials of Frankfurter Buchmesse several times, and provided budgetary support to NBDB for the country’s participation in the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Finally, in June this year, Boos announced that the FBM Board had approved the proposal for the Philippines to become the Guest of Honour in 2025 during a meeting with Legarda.

Just last August 18, the official contract was signed by FBM officials, led by Boos, and NBDB, led by its Chair Dante Francis Ang II.

“Let us rally together, fueled by our shared determination, to leave a lasting impact on the international literary stage. Together, let us embark on this journey towards the 2025 Frankfurt Book Fair with the fervent hope that our efforts and Filipino spirit will inspire the world with our vibrant and diverse literary landscape,” Legarda concluded. (end)