July 7, 2007

The largest marketplace in Asia–so they say. The Naga City Public Market is just bordering a portion of the Bicol River. Giving us a trace of history when city-states used to thrive near bodies of water. The rationale was of course trade and barter. That is why the Market offers almost everything for the wise and enterprising costumer. And this includes second-hand books from prominent authors such as Dan Brown and Arthur Miller, even cut-out poetry sections from reputable magazines such as the Sunday Inquirer and Philippine Panorama.

I spent time perusing the materials, all the while thinking to myself, these simple and unassuming merchants have no idea that they are contributing greatly to the Bicol literary scene. While it is good that we now have a branch of National Bookstore right there at the Pacific Mall in Legaspi, I think we still need more bookstores here. I am sure it will be a lucrative business.

Aside from bookstores, regional writers need to be more visible. And I remember, I once attended a poetry reading at the now defunct PowerBooks-Pasay Road. Perhaps owners of these stores would be able to attract more bibliophiles by organizing public readings.

But there is just so much with proprietary efforts. Writers themselves can make their move. However, government funding is possible if and only if a certain writer’s group has legal identity. Else, the group has to find a viable conduit. That is why the Kabulig-Bikol, an association of creative writers and cultural workers in the region will have its Constitutional Convention on July 15, 9am at La Medalla, Baao, Camarines Sur. There will also be elections and sessions regarding future projects by the group.

Surely, this will make registering the group with the SEC possible. With proper legal identity, the group can now apply for grants from the NCCA and other government agencies. This was one of the problems before when I wrote a project proposal to the aforementioned agency. It was approved but I had to withdraw due to legal troubleshoots.


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