Book lovers, writers, publishers, artists, organizations, and book dealers gathered at the Intercontinental Hotel last February 3 and 4 for the first literary convention in the country, the Read or Die Convention (RodCon) 2007. The Convention, which seeks to highlight the importance of reading and literacy, was organized by the Read or Die Book Club and was supported by DepEd, UNICEF, and NBDB. Proceeds would go to the event’s beneficiary, AHON Foundation. RodCon strongly supports AHON’s mission of helping public school libraries to promote genuine love of reading among Filipino children.
RodCon has four aspects to it: 1) A gathering of book lovers from all over the Philippines to talk about, exchange, exhibit, and buy books; 2) A wide-ranging and interactive forum for issues regarding reading, literature and literacy in the Philippines; 3) A learning experience for readers or would-be readers as they are introduced to different kinds of literature and book-reading traditions and programs; 4) A charity benefit for AHON Foundation and UNICEF (readordie.org).
The 2-day literary gathering opened with keynote speeches from NBDB Executive Director Atty. Andrea Flores, National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario, and AHON Foundation Chairman Hector O. Tagaysay. Dr. Felicitas Pado of the Reading Association of the Philippines and National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose were the guests of honor on the second day of the convention.
The convention featured panels ranging from lectures to discussion groups to workshops to book signings and launchings. As the defining event of the convention, the panels served as a venue for the attendees to interact and share their thoughts on reading, literacy, and the book market in the country. On February 3, AHON Foundation together with Sa Aklat Sisikat and Reach Out and Read participated in a panel organized by RodCon entitled “Working for Literacy.” AHON also sponsored a panel discussion on February 4 entitled “Affirmative Action on the State of Philippine Education” with AHON’ s Executive Director Harvey Keh as the speaker.
Aside from panels, Rodcon also held screenings of movies based on books, exhibits, raffles, photo contest, storytelling and poetry reading, quiz shows, readers’ choice awards and live performances from Terno Records artists. Swissy, Up Dharma Down and Radioactive Sago Project were among the artists who graced the occasion.
AHON Foundation is fortunate to be the beneficiary of the Read or Die Convention. With more and more people getting aware of the need to promote reading and literacy, our goal of building a culture of learning is within reach.
To the organizers and attendees of the con, more power! You have just made thousands of lives better through the gift of books.