Iloilo Megabook Fair: 6 years of empowering local literature

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Iloilo Megabook Fair: 6 years of empowering local literature
PRESS RELEASE: The Iloilo Mega Book Fair celebrates its sixth year at Iloilo Festive Mall from April 27 to 30

This is a press release from Kasingkasing Press.

It had long been a dream for many Ilonggos, particularly local writers, to be given a platform and space to advertise their books, to develop and professionalize the book industry – particularly in Western Visayas, to preserve local languages, and to promote local literature.

Six years ago, that dream had come true.

The Iloilo Mega Book Fair (IMBF), a project that was launched in 2018 in partnership with Kasingkasing Press, Hubon Manunulat, Book Latte, and Iloilo Festive Mall, has come a long way. Currently, it organizes workshops aimed at professionalizing the book industry, such as those for children’s book illustrations. On April 27–30, 2023, it will celebrate its sixth year at Iloilo Festive Mall with the theme “Celebrating the Regions.” 

“This initiative aims to produce books written in the Kiniray-a, Hiligaynon, and Aklanon languages annually and gather all creatives and content producers of Western Visayas,” said Noel de Leon, the project director of IMBF, when asked about the purpose of the Iloilo Mega Book Fair.

Apart from Rayboy Pandan, a Palanca awardee and the keynote speaker of this event, another highlight of this year’s book fair is the Iloilo Drag and Cosplay Community, indicating that the IMBF is not just a celebration of books but also of local artistry.

“We want the Book Fair to be performative. Aside from having access to books, we can also sit in on performances. We want our stories to be performed,” De Leon added, explaining the objective of IMBF for this year. The theme of this year’s IMBF anticipates a highlight of local colors, local narratives, and local initiatives.

“Introducing local literature into the mainstream Iloilo Drag Queen and Cosplay Community could further the cause of preserving and promoting local languages and literature as well as nurture an appreciation and love for local characters. The book industry needs to stay up-to-date and adapt popular culture as our society continues to advance and move forward with the changing times,” he said.

“There are a lot of people who believe that our local languages are inferior compared to the English language. We need to decolonize the mentality of the Ilonggos, especially the young people, towards our own, especially in the possibility of writing or producing books,” the founder of Kasingkasing Press elaborated.

Since its founding in 2018, the Iloilo Mega Book Fair continues to make a significant impact on Western Visayas. From a time when there was no reading community and only a few people bought books in their local language, up to the present when the production of local literature is fiercely competitive with mainstream publishers, many people have begun to aspire to read or write local literature, or try their hand at publishing or illustration. These are the results of the Iloilo Mega Book Fair’s professionalization of the local publishing industry.

The younger generation can support local writers, illustrators, and publishers by continuing to buy and read their books, promote and talk about these books, partner with the projects organized by IMBF, and visit the book fair itself, all of which will help further this cause. Without a doubt, IMBF has left a lifetime legacy that will inspire future generations of local writers and creatives to come. — Patricia Angela Gallon/

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