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With the stage  set on the eve of the opening of the book festival, a listed participation of over a hundred authors and the arrival of  thousands of books,   the Philippine Consulate General hosted a Welcome Reception on September 30 at the Social Hall of the Philippine Center   for the co-presentors, organizers, participating authors, artists and sponsors.


The well attended event had  former President Fidel V. Ramos as the guest of honor together with a host of luminaries participating at the book festival.

Consul General Marciano  A. Paynor, Jr.  opened the reception  with welcome  remarks followed by  LIIF Chair Gemma Nemenzo  who acknowledged the artists, authors and publishers present, as well as the members of the organizing committee.  Festival Director Mr. Al Perez gave a presentation about the Festival. At the end of the short program former President Fidel V. Ramos gave remarks and  presented copies of his own authored books to Consul General Paynor for the Philippine Consulate’s Library as well as to Luis Herrera,  Chief Librarian of the San Francisco Public Library for the Library’s Filipino American Center.

(Left Photo)  Former President Ramos presenting a donation of his  own authored books to City Librarian Herrera.    (right Photo) Former President Ramos signs books  together with author  W. Scott Thompson at the launch of  his new biographical book  Trustee of the Nation.

The Welcome Reception was also  the occasion for the launch of  the biography of  former President Ramos  written  by  American author  W. Scott Thompson. At the launch,  both the author and former President Ramos signed copies of the book. 

On October 1, at the open air Fulton Street Festival Stage, FilBookFest was officially opened  by former President Ramos  together with Consul General Paynor,., City Librarian Herrera, Asian Art Museum Commissioner Carmen Colet,  Festival Director Perez,  LIIF Chair Nemenzo and member Maya Ong Escudero and the representatives of Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco and California Senator Leland Yee (author of the Resolution proclaiming October as Filipino American History Month).



(Left Photo) Former President Ramos with Festival officials, City officials and Consul General Paynor  at the opening of the Festival at the Fulton Street  Festival Stage.  (Right Photo)  Former President Ramos strikes the ceremonial  gong officially  opening  the two-day  Book Festival , the first ever Filipino American International Book Festival.

On October 2, Sunday a short program to mark the opening of events at the Asian Art Museum was also held where Asian Art Museum Commissioner Colet, Asian Art Museum Chief curator Forrest McGill, and Consul General Paynor, welcomed all the guests to the events at the Museum

The Festival was held at the very core of San Francisco at the Civic Center area, where the City Hall, the symphony hall, a grand promenade, and the San Francisco Public Library and the Asian Art museum are  all co-located.     Indoor events were held at the San Francisco Public Library and the Asian Art Museum, while Fulton Street was set up with booths for booksellers and other presentations as well as a performance stage with  a seating area near participating food stall vendors.

The book festival was held to coincide with  and  open the month-long observance of the annual  commemoration of Filipino American History Month that began  3 years ago as a result of a California  Senate Resolution penned by Senator Leland Yee declaring every  October as Filipino American History Month.

The San Francisco Public Library and its halls and areas became the venue for activities such as readings by authors of biographies and of new published works,  discussions and presentations, a tribute night to Literary greats - even a balagtasan and children’s story telling events.

At the Asian Art Museum, special exhibitions,   and displays on Philippine and Filipino American life were set up, as well as discussions and presentations that  included a Conversation between  National Artist Ben Cabrera and writer Luis Francia,   a presentation on Philippine Culinary history by food and cultural heritage writer  Felice Sta. Maria that came with food tasting samplings organized by the Philippine Department of Tourism  



Various Scenes  at the Fulton Street Book Festival  with former President Ramos at opening day.   Fulton street was closed and lined up with various  stalls  and booths  where books were sold  and the authors did book signings. 

Fulton street was the venue of booths where  books by Filipino and Filipino American authors were sold and signed by their authors, as well as stating of  artistic, literary and cultural performances such as  creative readings  from authors works, cooking demonstrations, arnis  and a lot more at a specially built  performance stage. A Healing Arts Pavilion was set up to showcase  Philippine Healing traditions (as embedded in oral history and practices)  and literate practices (books about Filipino healing traditions).

The Philippine Consulate General participated with   its own  booth  which gave away information materials on the Campaign for the Puerto Princesa Underground River Cave as one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, the forthcoming registration period for  Oversees Absentee Voting, the   new  “Ten Moves”  fund  campaign by the Department of Education  to build 10,000 classrooms, as well as  petition signing for the passage of the Save Our Industries Act.

Former President Ramos lead the list of   luminaries that participated in the book festival that also included National Artists Ben Cabrera and Virgilio Almario, noted historian Ambeth Ocampo,  journalists Marites Vitug, Cris Yabes and Pete Lacaba, Felice Sta. Maria, critic Isagani Cruz, noted psychologist Dr. Honey Carandang, cultural activist John Silva, multi-awarded authors Jose “Butch” Dalisay, Ed Maranan and Neni Sta. Romana Cruz, among others.

It also saw  a long list of   participating Filipino American Authors and authors of Filipino heritage such as  Cecilia Brainard, Marivi Soliven Blanco (who just won the Palanca Award for Best Novel), Ben Pimentel (another new Palanca awardee), R. Zamora Linmark, Oscar Penaranda, Barbara Jane Reyes, Evangeline Buell, Tess Uriza Holthe, Luis Francia, Leny Strobel and Reme Grefalda, publisher of the online magazine, Our Own Voice,   Filipino-Canadian author Romeo Honorio from Calgary , Filomenita Hogsholm from Denmark  to name but a few. 

On of the several highlight events of the Festival  was a Tribute to Literary Laureates  on the evening of October 1   at the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Public Library.  



At the Koret Auditorium  of the SF Public Library a  Tribute to Literary Laureates was held . (Left Photo)  Shows some of the honorees and their families and organizers.  Middle photo shows the award being presented to Mike Gonzales, son of NVM Gonzalez by Consul General Paynor.  (Right Photo) Mr. Mitchell Yangson, Librarian of the Filipino American Center of SF Library receiving the  donation of books and related materials from Consul General Paynor, witnessed by Gemma Nemenzo of LIIF, Festival lead organizer. 

The honorees  who were given tributes for having created classic works that celebrate our history and culture included,  Carlos Bulosan, NVM Gonzalez, Bienvenido Santos, Jose Garcia Villa, F. Sionil Jose, Al Robles, Ceres Alabado, Fred and Dorothy Cordova, Evangeline Buell, Linda Ty-Casper and Nick Joaquin.

During the program  Consul General Paynor, also presented  books, journals, CDs,  DVDs and other related  Rizaliana and Filipiniana materials sourced from the National Historical Commission and the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts as a legacy   gift to the Filipino American Center of the San Francisco Public Library in celebration of  the spirit of the book festival.   END