Bong Serrano, author of Batangas: My Sky and Earth, at Collingwood Neighbourhood House - Annex for the Filipino Canadian Book Festival

Embracing Stories and Heritage at the Inaugural Filipino Canadian Book Festival

The first-ever Filipino Canadian Book Festival is set to illuminate Vancouver’s literary scene from July 12 to July 14, 2024. This landmark event promises to be a vibrant celebration of literature and art, with the theme “empower, inspire, and connect Filipino-Canadian communities.” The festival will be held at the Collingwood Neighborhood House and the Massy Arts Society, two welcoming venues in the heart of Vancouver, BC.

Making its debut at the festival, my memoir Batangas: My Sky and Earth will be available at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House (Annex) marketplace on Friday and Saturday, July 12–13, 2024. This special occasion marks the book’s fourth public appearance with the author since the book launch in January, joining the ranks of other esteemed vendors. This is a wonderful opportunity to purchase your copy, get it signed by the author, or simply come by to say hi! You can find the marketplace at 3690 Vanness Ave, Vancouver, BC V5R 5B6.

Click the photos to reveal their captions.

Among the many highlights of the festival is the Map of Wholeness workshop, where I am honoured to be one of the participating authors. This enriching session is designed to foster deep discussions between the Canadian diaspora and the Philippines, delving into the multifaceted concept of home as experienced across different parts of the world. The workshop is a unique blend of literary exploration and cultural dialogue, promising to offer profound insights through the voices of its featured guests.

During this workshop, I will bravely present a 5-minute reading from the first draft of my upcoming historical romance fiction, “Copra: Beautiful Oils.” This novel weaves together love and history, set against the backdrop of the copra industry, offering readers a rich tapestry of Filipino heritage and the timelessness of romance.

I am thrilled to be sharing this stage with three other distinguished authors:

  • Nathalie De Los Santos (@pilipinxpages): A passionate advocate for Filipino literature, Nathalie’s works highlight the intricate layers of Filipino identity and community.
  • Renato Gandia (@flipjourno): A seasoned journalist, Renato brings a compelling narrative style that captures the essence of Filipino life both in Canada and the Philippines.
  • Jennifer Rabanillo (@style_worthy): Known for her insightful reflections on Filipino culture, Jennifer’s writings offer a modern take on traditional values.
  • Bong Serrano (@bongserrano): Bong’s stories resonate with authenticity, drawing from his experiences to paint vivid pictures of Filipino resilience and spirit.

The Map of Wholeness workshop is scheduled for Sunday, July 14, 2024, from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Massy Arts Society, located at 23 E Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1S9. The Massy Arts Society is a community hub dedicated to supporting the practices of Indigenous and over-excluded artists, making it a perfect venue for a workshop that celebrates diverse voices and cultural narratives. This event is free and open to the public, inviting everyone to join us in this literary celebration.

For a deeper dive into the festival’s spirit, check out this insightful interview with me by the organizers. I share my thoughts on the most challenging part of writing my memoir, particularly revisiting difficult memories, and reflect on how the multigenerational family dynamics in Batangas shaped my upbringing and perspectives. Additionally, I discuss my must-read book from the Canadian literary canon and explain its significance.

The Filipino Canadian Book Festival is more than just an event; it’s a convergence of voices and stories that reflect the rich tapestry of the Filipino-Canadian experience. I look forward to connecting with fellow authors, readers, and the community, as we share our stories and celebrate our heritage together.

Mark your calendars and come be part of this historical event. See you there!


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