You might not remember every detail in ‘Noli Me Tangere’, but surely Maria Clara and Ibarra are characters in the novel you know so well.
Characters in a story evoke strong emotions. Perhaps you hated Padre Damaso while reading Noli Me Tangere. Or maybe you pitied the poor school girl in Dr. Fanny Garcia’s ‘Isandaang Damit’ short story. Did your heart crunch with Bandong as he struggled in Amado V. Hernandez’s ‘Langaw sa Isang Basong Gatas’?
Unforgettable characters and good plots make up the best stories. But even the best of stories, whether mentioned in awards and top reading lists or not, will not be read by Filipino readers if readership of Filipino literary books remains dismally low.
Southern Voices Printing Press hopes to push the envelope for increased readership of its indie-published literary works by launching on socials the #AkoAngBida campaign for the whole of 2022. It hopes other similar campaigns are initiated as well by other publishers or even the National Book Development Board.
The #AkoAngBida campaign encourages readers to invite non-readers to read SVPP-published books through a #cosplay-like format.
Be Jamin, the child laborer from Sasa Port in Davao working nights for a handful of coins. She evokes the spirit of hope amid poverty when she said: “Umaga na. Uuwi na kami ni Oliver. Ang lamig ng hangin. Sisipunin pa yata ako. Nasa Bulsa ko ang perang kinita ko sa dalawang gabing puyatan. Hinihintay na ako sa amin. Kay sarap umuwi…”
Or Ka Bel, the heroic labor leader who, as a child, witnessed Japanese soldiers forcing their victims to dig graves — graves that the Filipino victims were forced to kneel in front of, graves where they would then be buried in after the Japanese samurais severed their heads.
Be Lola Bai, the Manobo woman leader, who gave strength to her fellow tribes-people in defense of their ancestral domain, and remember her words: “Ang paggamit ng pana at bangkaw laban sa mga mapanghimasok ay sagrado nating karapatang bilang mga Lumad.”
Be Lolo Cosme, a ‘barako’ and ‘macho’ grandfather, or better yet, be the storyteller’s Tatay, who is actually a Na-Tay, in ‘Barako Baraking,’ a tribute to the Tatays who are the primary caregivers of their children, and possess extraordinary powers such as cooking, doing laundry or even mending his kids’ clothes.
The social media campaign, to be launched on January 7, hopes to encourage Facebook and Instagram netizens to post their in-character selfies and sharing them widely. ###