The National Book Development Board (NBDB) through its Booklatan sa Bayan program lent its support to the growing book industry in the Ilocos region. Booklatan sa Bayan is a quarterly program of the NBDB that aspires to promote a culture of reading and lifelong learning among Filipinos. It aims to encourage the production of original content, help promote and develop library systems, reading centers, and other points of book access. Booklatan sa Bayan has visited various cities and provinces in the Philippines including Malabon City, Valenzuela City, General Santos City, Laoag City conducting different activities such as lectures, seminar-workshops, book fairs, and storytelling sessions to students, teachers, librarians, writers, and readers.
In its most recent event on July 30 and 31, 2015, a book fair and a series of lectures called “Libro Ilokano 2015: 1st Ilokano Book Fair” were held at the University of Northern Philippines auditorium (UNP). The event is an initiative of Gunglo dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano – Filipinas (GUMIL Filipinas) and UNP’s Center for Ilokano Studies, in cooperation with the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) and NBDB.
The two-day event was themed “Lagip ni Don Belong, Iti Libro Matiganayon” in honor of the late Don Isabelo de los Reyes, well-known Ilocano writer, politician, labor activist, and revolutionary leader from Vigan City. Participating book sellers and publishers were Adarna House, Anvil Publishing, KWF, Lampara Books, Librong Lira, National Bookstore, UP Press, and Visprint, Inc.
On July 31, the speakers in the first series of lectures were author Bebang Siy, writer and translator Dr. Michael M. Coroza, and author Eros Atalia. Bebang Siy enumerated the effective stepson how an aspiring author can engage his/her readers. Issues on copyright were also tackled in her lecture. The key points in translating literary works from English to Filipino and other regional languages were discussed by Dr. Mike Coroza. Contemporary author Eros Atalia gave a talk about flash fiction in Philippine history. The speakers in the afternoon lecture-workshops were Ilokano writers, Sherma E. Benosa, Anna Liza M. Gaspar, and Neyo Mario E. Valdez.
The book fair was attended by authors, publishers, and teachers and students of literature.