West Visayan children’s literature in Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a and Aklanon will once again take spotlight this year as a group of contemporary writers, language advocates and an independent publishing house in the region are set to hold the Magsugilanonay Kita: 2nd West Visayan Mother Tongue Children’s Books Summit. The two-day event is will be held on 18 to 19 February at the 3rd Floor Event Center, Robinson’s Place Iloilo.

In line with the national government’s recent implementation of the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education program as a linguistic approach in schools across the country, members and representatives of Hubon Manunulat and Kasingkasing Press have lauded the timeliness of the children’s book summit for its aims to heighten the awareness of parents, teachers and educational policy makers in fostering the language skills of young readers in their native tongue.

According to Noel G. de Leon, founder and publisher of Kasingkasing Press, “It is important for us to raise such awareness to the public now that the use of the native language as a medium of instruction is being fully implemented in classrooms nationwide. Not only does this enable us to strengthen the great linguistic and literary heritage we have as West Visayans but it also helps us address the great language divide we have previously faced in our educational system. We welcome this move as a gift to future generations.”  

After the success of the first summit in 2015, organizers are embarking on a grander roster of events for this year with a wide range of lectures and open forum discussions on the topic of mother tongue-based children’s literature, its cultural value as a tool for identity-building and issues in dealing with West Visayan children’s literature. The summit intends to capture students (specifically campus journalists and B.Ed. majors), teachers, school administrators, publishing representatives, creative writers and other interested parties from the region. It will also include a book fair throughout the two-day event, which will be capped off by a children’s short film viewing session sponsored by CineKasimanwa Film Festival.

Registration for the summit starts on 15 January and ends on 10 February with fees ranging from Php 300.00 for students and Php 500.00 for adults (parents, teachers, professionals, etc.). For procedures and inquiries, interested parties are advised to contact the organizers either by email through [email protected] or [email protected] or by mobile phone through 0919-315-6752 or 0917-303-1703.