WATCH spoken word poetry performances, interact with renowned Filipino writers, witness the first slam poetry championship, and learn about folklore from the Dumagats — all these activities can be experienced with a donation of a book.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) will hold the 3rd Performatura festival on April 5 to 7.

The first Performatura festival was held in November 2015. In 2017, the festival was moved to April in line with the celebration of national literature month and the birth anniversary of Filipino poet Francisco Balagtas (April 2, 1788).

According to CCP artist director Chris Millado the biennial festival was launched to “broaden readers and audiences for literature.”

“The idea is [that] it does not stop at publication but it looks at pieces engaging with other art forms, especially the performing arts,” he told BusinessWorld prior a press conference in the CCP on March 27, describing it as an “intertextual festival.”

In a previous forum with the media, festival director Vim Nadera, Jr. said that this year’s theme, “Ang Mamatay nang Dahil Sa ’yo,” was chosen after last year’s tempest over Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III’s idea to change the National Anthem’s last line from “ang mamatay ng dahil sa ‘yo” (to die for you) into “ang ipaglaban ang kalayaan mo” (to fight for your freedom). Mr. Millado said that the literary pieces during the festival will focus on sacrifice and nationalism.

The festival highlights the first slam poetry competition which will be held at the south parking area, a performance about folklore by the Dumagat indigenous group, a “spoken wordshop” with Malaysian spoken word performer Azam Rais, and a radio drama by students from the Eastern Samar National Comprehensive High School.

The second day will be dedicated to National Artist for Visual Arts Francisco V. Coching, with a talk by Lulu Coching and Mara-Bini Coching Williamson to supplement the ongoing birth centennial exhibit at the second floor hallway gallery of the CCP. The third day honors National Artist for Literature Edith Tiempo with the opening of an interactive centennial exhibit at the Little Theater Lobby.

On a lighter note, a poetry robot will be stationed at the Main Theater Lobby on April 6 and 7. The robot will take a photo of the guest and print poetry for them afterwards. On April 6, a henna tattoo artist will be on hand to paint F.V. Coching’s cartoon characters on the guests; and on April 7, calligraphy artist will be personalizing bookmarks with lines from Edith Tiempo’s poems.

Mr. Millado noted that the festival has popularized spoken word poetry as a performance since the holding of the first festival. “What it did was see how literature can jump from the page and perform,” he told BusinessWorld. “Spoken word was one of the areas that were explored… It has its own language, cadence, and audience.

“It looked at how poetry inspired visual arts and installations. It also looked at engagements between contemporary spoken word and traditional poetry,” Mr. Millado added. “It helped literature perform” as well as “develop an audience that was interested in developing content and participating in the creation of it.”

Both Mr. Millado and senior culture and arts officer of CCP’s Intertextual Division Beverly Siy said that they are still developing the audience for the festival. The variety of activities are meant to cater to audiences of all age groups.

Ms. Siy told BusinessWorld that the Intertextual Division is currently inviting students from schools in Pasay and Manila as part of the effort “to grow the audience.”

The books that are donated as an “entrance fee” will go on the shelves of CCP’s satellite libraries in Tondo, Leveriza, and the mobile library at the CCP ASEAN Park.

For details on the festival, check the CCP Intertextual Division Facebook page or contact Markus Aserit at, call 551-5959 or 0919-3175708. For the complete festival schedule, visit — Michelle Anne P. Soliman