Press Release
November 17, 2008

Urges Filipinos to publish and read more Pinoy books

Senator Edgardo J. Angara today received the National Book Award for Travel for his book Baler in this year's 27th National Book Awards presented by the National Book Development Board and the Manila Critics Circle in cooperation with the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts at the Yuchengco Museum.

"Baler takes us into a journey to the capital town of Aurora, a province situated between the Sierra Madre range and a vast coastline opening to the Pacific. Baler and the rest of Aurora are often associated with raw and rugged attractions, lushness and pristine beauty. Those who have visited this side of the Pacific would know that our coastline is one of our best attractions," said Angara who authored the book Baler.

He added, "This book serves as an invitation for you to visit Baler since we have won the category on Travel. They say it's too distant, no. In fact, it is only one hour by plane and soon it would be less than four hours to travel by land."

Held as one of the most outstanding Philippine books for 2007, Baler showcases, in vivid photography, the natural beauty of this part of the country, and the rare flora and fauna it cultivates. It is home to the Millennium Tree -the oldest balete tree in Asia, the sabutan, the indigenous deer and unique marine life. Two plant species have also been named after Baler: a wild duhat (Sygium balerense) and rattan (Calamus balerensis).

The book also presents current development challenges and efforts, at the center of which is sustaining the environment and educating the youth. Baler and the rest of Aurora's bountiful resources and industrious people prove its potential for growth and development.

"I accept this National Book Award, in behalf of the people of Baler and of all the writers and photographers who are part of this endeavor," added Angara.

Since 1982 the Manila Critics Circle, a non-stock, non-profit organization of professional literary critics and newspaper columnists, has given the National Book Awards to the best books written, designed and published in the Philippines. In addition, the Circle also gives Special Awards to outstanding publishers or publishing projects and Citations for outstanding achievement in special categories.

Early in 2008 the Circle sought to institutionalize the National Books Awards and entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Book Development Board (NBDB), the leading government agency that provides directions and the environment for stimulation and improvement of the book publishing industry.

Angara also encouraged other Filipinos to continue to write and publish books believing that the Philippines is home to one of the best talents in world.

"We've got to provide an impetus and incentive to our people to engage in book writing and publishing. We have lot of talents and what we need to do is to provide them support and the environment to showcase their talents," Angara emphasized.

Angara is a principal author of a bill which seeks to create a National Book Development Trust Fund in an attempt at helping both veteran and promising authors in the regions to produce or finish manuscripts for publications in the fields of science and technology, local history, and in subject areas wherein local books are either few or non-existent.

An ardent supporter of culture and the arts, Angara is also vital in the creation of the National Book Development Board and the National Commission of Culture and the Arts.

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