The Philippines joined in celebrating the World Book and Copyright Day for the very first time last April 23, 2013 at the Ortigas Center business district.
Spearheading the event were the National Book Development Board (NBDB), Intellectual Property Office (IPO), Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL), Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA), and the University of the Philippines Institute of Creative Writing (UP ICW) in cooperation with SM Foundation and Precious Pages.
Colorful floats by the said organizations paraded around Ortigas Center to kick off the celebration. Poetry readings and performances by some of the country’s premier writers and artists were then held at the Events Area of SM Megamall Building A. Some of the poets who read their works were Gemino H. Abad, Rebecca T. Añonuevo, Roberto T. Añonuevo, Gabriela Lee, Vim Nadera, Francis Paolo Quina, and Benilda Santos.
According to National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario, the World Book and Copyright Day originally aims to honor to foreign writers, and the country’s version is a celebration of our homegrown writers who deserve to be recognized across the continents. Almario is also envisioning for the celebration to be part of a National Literature Month to be held every April and uniting various writers and literature organizations from all over the country.
In 1995, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared April 23 as International Book and Copyright Day in commemoration of the day when Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died. The writers Maurice Duron, Haldor K. Laxness, Vladmir Nabokov, and Manuel Meija Vallejo were also born on April 23.