National Artist Virgilio Almario launches new book 2
"Lemlunay: Pagunita sa Gunita" features 30 of Virgilio Almario's poems in Filipino. Photo by Roel Hoang Manipon/Handout

National Artist Virgilio Almario has launched his latest book of poetry

He uses his pseudonym, Rio Alma, in his new book titled 'Lemlúnay: Pagunita sa Gunita.'
ANCX | Dec 23 2023

In case you missed it, National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario recently launched his new book. 

Almario uses his pseudonym, Rio Alma, in "Lemlunay: Pagunita sa Gunita" published by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) where he was a former chairman. It features 30 of his poems written in Filipino in the last six years, accompanied by English translations by poet Marne Kilates. 

 Almario and Kilates flanked by National Artists Alice Reyes and Ricky Lee (Photo by Mervin Concepcion Vergara/Handout
Almario and Kilates flanked by National Artists Alice Reyes and Ricky Lee (Photo by Mervin Concepcion Vergara/Handout

Released last December 2, it is one of Almario's most visual books, with photographs by journalist and publication designer Roel Hoang Manipon. Design was also by Manipon, along with Mervin Concepcion Vergara. 

The book is named after a term that denotes the concept of paradise in the mythology of the T'boli people of southern Philippines, and signifies the dream of a better country through a deeper reflection on our history and culture. 

In his speech during the launch, Almario said "Lemlunay: Pagunita sa Gunita," along with his other recent books, are a result of his search for new ways of writing poetry and seeing the country's history as divested of colonial influences. 

"Ang 'Lemlunay' ay isang paggunita sa ating kasaysayan. Ang naiba rito sa librong ito ay ginawa ko ang pagmumuni tungkol sa kasaysayan ng Filipinas sa pamamagitan ng mga cultural objects magmula sa primitive art objects, mga relics, at mga natuklasan recently na mga fossils at iba pa, gayun din ang mga likha ng ating mga dakilang pinto, manunulat na kailangan nating balikan, pag-aralang mabuti at ituwid ang ating paningin tungkol dito," he said. 

('Lemlunay' is a remembrance of our history. The difference of this book is that I reflected on the history of the Philippines through cultural objects, from primitive art objects, relics, and recently discovered fossils and others, as well as works by our great painters and writers, which we must return to, study diligently, and correct our perception about them.)