10 Things to Do in Manila This Buwan ng Wika (2019 Edition)

From reading poetry under the starry sky to learning Baybayin.

(SPOT.ph) In the Philippines, the month of August marks a couple of big events if you’re into being nationalistic—there’s Buwan ng Wika and National History Month. After all, you probably dressed up as either Andres Bonifacio or Maria Clara as a child to join your school’s commemoration of Linggo ng Wika. Outside these costume-driven festivities, there are a number of ways you can celebrate this important occasion.

We round up a handy list of things to do this August in time for Buwan ng Wika:

Exchange beautiful verses under the starry sky


Set up camp at the Masungi Georeserve for a dreamy night of stargazing and poetry reading on August 10. Essential info about the Perseid Meteor Shower, handling optical telescopes, and other wonders of the cosmos will be provided by the Philippine Astronomical Society; while spoken word sessions will be facilitated by CollaboratoryPH. Our planet also passes by the tail end of Comet Swift-Tuttle every August, so if you're lucky, you might even get to take photos of this rare phenomenon.

Tala at Tula is from August 10 to 11, 3:30 p.m. to 10 a.m. at Masungi Georeserve, Garden Cottages, Kilometer 45 Marcos Highway, Baras, Rizal. Fee is at P4,500. For updates, follow Masungi Georeserve on Facebook.

Celebrate an all-women volume of poems

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A group of Filipina poets writing in Filipino comes together to launch Lila: Mga Tula on August 24 at Diamond Hotel. It is co-published by Balangay Productions and Librong LIRA, the publishing arm of Filipino writers' collective called Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo. The event is open to the public. You can get a copy of Lila: Mga Tula at P300.

The launch of Lila: Mga Tula is on August 24, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Ruby Room, Diamond Hotel, Roxas Boulevard corner Dr. J. Quintos Street, Manila. For updates, follow Librong LIRA on Facebook.

Learn about another Philippine language


Buwan ng Wika is not just a celebration of the national language, but also of other Philippine languages and dialects spoken by various ethnolinguistic groups around the country. The National Museum of the Philippines, in partnership with the Sentrong Pagpapalakas ng Negritong Kultura at Kalikasan, is holding a public seminar about the Dumagat Agta language from northern Philippines. It is spoken by Aetas living in the San Ildefonso Peninsula in Casiguran, Aurora; and the possibility of losing their ancestral land to give way to so-called development is also posing a threat to the loss of their culture and language.

This public workshop on the Dumagat Agta language is on August 10, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at Ayala Hall, National Museum of Anthropology, Padre Burgos Avenue, Ermita, Manila. Admission is free. Pre-registration is required through (02) 527-0278 or services.nationalmuseumph@gmail.com. For updates, follow National Museum of the Philippines on Facebook.


Read a children's book in a different way

Kwago Book Bar presents an interesting way to "read" Mirror, a children's book. This wordless piece by Suzy Lee will be interpreted by a dancer, a sound artist, and four visual artists on August 25. Exhibit starts at 5 p.m. while performances begin at 6:30 p.m. Plus if you sign up early, you might just get unlimited ice cream.


Salamin is on August 25, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., at Kwago Book Bar, Warehouse 8-A, La Fuerza Plaza, 2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City. Admission is on a pay-what-you-want basis. For updates, follow Kwago on Facebook.

Write how our forefathers did

Take up a crash course on Baybayin, an ancient writing script used by the Tagalogs in Luzon. Most people use this fluid, curvilinear script to reconnect to our national identity, and when's the best time to do it than during Buwan ng Wika? The workshop will be facilitated by Taipan Lucero, who founded CalligraFilipino.


CalligraFilipino's baybayin talk and calligraphy workshop is on August 17, 2 p.m., at ArtBar, Serendra Piazza, Bonifacio Global City. Fee is at P1,500. Pre-registration is required. For updates, follow CalligraFilipino / Taipan Lucero on Facebook.

Find out what makes history interesting

You don't usually associate history with being fun and interesting, especially if you have to read a thick book for it in school. De La Salle University - Manila's Department of History and Sociedad de Historia hopes to turn the tide by holding a free training for history teachers. The workshop is titled The National Museum of the Philippines: Repository of Philippine Culture and History, and will be facilitated by Dr. Mary Jane Louise A. Bolunia.


The National Museum of the Philippines: Repository of Philippine Culture and History is on August 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Room 409, Don Enrique T. Yuchengco Hall, De La Salle University - Manila, Taft Avenue, Malate, Manila City. Admission is free. Pre-registration is required through sdh@dlsu.edu.ph. For updates, follow Sociedad de Historia on Facebook.

Know why the West Philippine Sea is ours


...but you already knew that! In the second edition of Pamana Talks, Xiao Chua, John Ray B. Ramos, Rey Lita, and Lourd de Veyra discuss how our past is affecting our present. Chua is set to talk about Imelda Marcos' dream of Manila during the Marcos regime, Ramos looks at the state of heritage conservation, Lita presents the current programs of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and de Veyra is revisiting a 2015 documentary on the West Philippine Sea.

Pamana Talks: History and Heritage is on August 10, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Clock In the 30th, 22/F, The 30th Corporate Center, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City. Fee is at P750. For updates, follow Clock In by Ayala Land Offices on Facebook.

Acquaint your ears with Filipino poetry


Filipino poetry isn't just about Balagtas' impressive rhyming skills as in Florante at Laura. Spoken word artists of the modern time also use the beauty of our language to weave words together, and you can see how relatable it can be in this night of comedy and poetry. Plus, entrance is free!

Spoken Word Poetry and Stand-Up Comedy Night is on August 13, 7 p.m. at Spektral Beer Lounge, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City. For updates, follow Midnight Collective on Facebook.

Get up close and personal with Juan Luna


Historian Ambeth Ocampo is set to introduce Juan Luna y Novicio, who is known as the Filipino master of the arts. His most popular painting is the "Spoliarium," which won the gold medal at the 1884 Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in Madrid.

Juan Luna: The Hero as Painter with Ambeth Ocampo is on August 31, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at Justitia Hall, Ateneo Law School, Rockwell Drive, Makati City. Fee is at P200. Pre-registration is required. For updates, follow Lopez Museum and Library on Facebook.

Brush up on your Philippine lit know-how


The powers-that-be may have ruled out that learning about Philippine literature and language in college is some kind of redundant, but you know in your heart that there's no such thing. So it's time to show them how far your knowledge of Rizal's novels can go—by winning quiz night, obviously. PopQuiz is holding a literature-themed session on August 15 in Bonifacio Global City. Aside from a special round on Pinoy classics, it will also feature seven best-selling authors including Anne Rice, Roald Dahl, and Neil Gaiman.

PopQuiz: Lit AF is on August 15, from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., at Borough, U/G Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City. Fee is at P200/member. Every team should have a minimum of two and a maximum of six players. For updates, follow PopQuiz on Facebook.

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