Students have their books signed by multi-awarded writer Ariel Sotelo Tabag.

A gathering of book enthusiasts, IndiePubCon 2.0, or the Independent Publishers Convention, has stressed the value of local culture and literature through a book fair, talks, and book launch on 25 November 2022 at the UNP Auditorium.

Organized by The Indie Publishers Collab Ph, a league of small-time publishers, the event was held in four locations, 25-28 November, in Vigan City, Quezon City, Cebu City, and Davao City.

The National Book Development Board, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Manila Bulletin, GUMIL Filipinas, Saniata Publishing, Imnas and Iway Publishing, and Gantala Press joined forces in the said event.

Dr. Eleanor Belizar, executive assistant to the president, welcomed the participants and expressed UNP’s commitment to the preservation of Ilokano culture as enshrined in Dr. Erwin Cadorna’s development goals.

Ms. Anna Liza Gaspar, GUMIL treasurer, also emphasized how UNP has become a second home for Ilokano writers, having been open to partnerships including the Libro Ilokano book fair in 2015 and the Pasnaan writers’ workshop in 2018.

Junley L. Lazaga, associate professor of literature at the University of the Philippine Baguio, discussed Ilokano book history, going back to translated novenarios and biag published as part of the evangelizing mission of the Roman Catholic Church during the Spanish colonial period.

He also traced several afterlives of the Ilokano epic Biag ni Lam-ang and the many accomplishments of the foremost Ilokano intellectual Isabelo de los Reyes, a Vigan native.

Neyo E. Valdez, member of the National Committee on Literary Arts and a UNP alumnus, discussed the Tagnawa publishing project of the Gunglo Dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano (GUMIL) as a pathbreaking practice of solidarity grounded on writers’ community building.

Mark Louie Tabunan, UNP faculty member, explained the need to engage with Ilokano criticism as an intervention into Ilokano literature.

“What if, in our future scholarly endeavors, we theorize Ilokano literatures and cultures–and yes,Ilokano experiences, more generally, in their multiplicities–in their own terms?” he stressed.

Speakers address the questions from the audience during the open forum.

Included in the event is the book fair which featured Ilokano books of the Saniata Publishing and feminist writings published by the Gantala Press.

Around 35 books and 2016 Bannawag issues from Saniata Publishing, the National Committee on Literary Arts, Manila Bulletin, and the ALVIYA Literary Awards were donated to the University as additional resources for its library and the Ilokano Studies Center.

Dr. Freddie Masuli of Cagayan State University (CSU) turned over the two ALVIYA books to UNP and explored the possibility of forging linkages between CSU and UNP.

The whole event was made possible under the baton of Ariel Sotelo Tabag, multi-awarded Ilokano writer, translator, and publisher.

Ilokano writers turn over the books for the University Library and the Ilokano Studies Center.

Source: UNP- Public Information Office