Czech envoy leads book fest, cultural visit in Bicol Region

AMBASSADOR Jana Šedivá joined the Ateneo de Naga University, National Book Development Board (NBDB) and Savage Mind: Arts and Books, together with local government units of Naga, Baao, Buhi, and Pili, for the week-long celebration of the first Bikol Book Festival and Cultural Pilgrimage held from April 17 to 21.

The three-day visit saw activities that celebrated the Bicol Region’s literary culture. Šedivá honored and offered flowers to the graves of poets and novelists Dr. Maria Lilia F. Realubit, Socorro Federis Tate and Luis Dato.

The festival also relaunched the “Meanwhile, Elsewhere: A Century of Czech Comics” exhibit, which was first displayed at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Gallery in Intramuros, Manila, in 2018. This was unveiled during the inauguration of Kamarin Art Gallery in Naga City, and revealed the way comics became a vehicle for discussion on critical issues in the Czech Republic.

At the opening, guests were welcomed by a dramatic reading of the excerpt of RUR: Rossum Unibersal Robot by Czech playwright Karel Čapek. Performers were Tito Genova Valiente, Victor John Loquias, Tess Consulta and Delia Enverga Volante. Another exhibit about Karel Čapek was opened on the second day of the festival.

Students of Pili Parochial School warmly welcomed Šedivá and enjoyed a dramatic reading of Čapek’s The Five Loaves performed by Fr. Rex Hidalgo.

Part of the cultural pilgrimage, the ambassador visited the Municipality of Buhi. She met with youth constituents who introduced woven products, wooden sculpture, and the rich culture of Buhi. A dialogue with local writers from the Bicol region, the Embassy of the Czech Republic, and the NBDB encouraged writers and creatives to pursue their dreams of publication.

The visit of the Czech diplomat was concluded through a dinner with the theme: “A Night for Peace and Freedom,” where participants discussed world peace. Meanwhile, Šedivá shared about the situation in Ukraine, and encouraged everyone to unceasingly pray for peace.

Image credits: Czech Republic Embassy