Veni, Vidi, Vici: United We Read – The 2nd Filipino Reader Conference

Events honoring one of my favorite hobbies — reading — don’t happen often in my country. So you can only imagine how excited I was to participate in this year’s Filipino Reader Conference aptly entitled United We Read. I was there last year along with a couple of friends and I enjoyed it a lot that I wanted to join this year… And true enough, my participation this year was more than I originally imagined.

A snapshot of this year’s programme.
Image courtesy of the Filipino Readercon website.

Unlike last year, I only made it to the Filipino Reader Conference in time for the afternoon segments because I got home late from work the night before (since Fridays on a payday week in Makati City are always a pain in the a**). The crowd was packed; I think it’s twice the number compared to last year. I saw familiar faces and a lot of new ones. I came just in time for the live book discussion of Flips Flipping Pages (FFP) wherein they featured Pacific Rims by Rafe Bartholomew, who participated via video conference. How cool was that!

Rafe Batholomew on video conference during the FFP book discussion.
Image courtesy of Filipino Readercon Facebook page.

As soon as the FFP discussion ended, me and my five other friends went down to The Main Library, which is at the basement of the Filipinas Heritage Library, to prepare for our live book discussion. Yes, you saw it right, “our” book discussion. I’ve shared in my other blog, wherein I have posted my responses to the Filipino Friday meme, that I formed a private book club with my friends late last year. Our book club, The Mysterious Reading Society (TMRS), was one of the four featured book clubs invited to host a live book discussion. Our chosen book: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Yep TMRS folks, there’s no turning back now.
Image courtesy of Lianne Simbul.

When I met up with my TMRS friends around lunch time, I learned that we were moved to The Main Library because only several people registered for our session, which was not enough to fill the Hallway. I told them that it was fine; it was the venue that we jokingly preferred anyway during our preparation meeting post our Austenland discussion, as it reminded us of the Red Room of Pain. Kidding! I was looking forward to a relatively intimate discussion, and I guess even the rest of my book club mates welcomed the idea also. It didn’t help that my voice wasn’t cooperating at all and as the designated facilitator, Β I feared that I’d struggle addressing a huge crowd in such a confined space. You can probably imagine our surprise at the turnout.

A look at the crowd during the discussion. The Main Library was packed. *thud*
Image courtesy of Filipino Readercon Twitter feed.

The crowd from another angle. See the people standing. *thud*
Image courtesy of Lianne Simbul.

So we forged ahead: we introduced our book club and our guest panelist, Kate Evangelista (author of Taste), and discussed our featured book. I wished at that moment I could do a live tweet about the discussion but someone took care of it. The tweets only scratch the surface of the discussion because our book club and those who participated lived by one rule: what happens in the basement, stays in the basement. πŸ˜‰

TMRS Live Discussion has started.

Hoarse voice and all, I facilitated the discussion.

One detail was left out in this tweet. The ribbons were cream-colored lace, you know the kind you see used on lingerie… πŸ˜›

One of the participants tweeting about the whip sound effects we used during the discussion. Irene Adler = Genius! πŸ˜€

And there were a lot of it. This is common even in our regular TMRS discussions regardless whether we liked the book or not.

To further emphasize my fright… My poor voice. LOL. πŸ˜‰

Thoughts about Ana, one of the main characters in Fifty Shades of Grey.

Towards the end of the discussion, our book club sponsored a contest wherein those that were laced up… errr… participated during the discussion proper got a chance to win a signed copy of Taste by Kate Evangelista. The game: write on a piece of paper the number of times the phrase “Oh my!” was said in the book. One of the participants, Justine, answered correctly and got to have her copy of Taste signed by the author herself.

Kate Evangelista, author of Taste, signing a copy of her book for our game winner.
Image courtesy of Lianne Simbul.

We (TMRS) stayed a bit after the discussion to help out a student from Ateneo (gosh, his name escapes me as of this writing) who was covering the Filipino Reader Conference for the school paper. I hope we were able to give him the answers that he needs.

After packing up our things, we head up the Hallway to witness the 1st Filipino Reader’s Choice Awards and arrived in time to see Mina Esguerra’s win for Fairy Tale Fail. Β It was great to see Filipino authors whose works are honored by Filipino readers; I can definitely foresee my wallet breaking within the next few months as I mentally listed down the local books I wanted to buy.

My Readercon Haul! Happiness.
L-R: Going Up? by Yay Padua-Olmedo, It’s A Mens World by Bebang Siy, Taste by Kate Evangelista

After the awarding ceremonies, it was time for socials and raffle prizes. There were so many books to be given away that literally everyone who were inside the Hallyway got to take home a book.

Socials & Raffle!
Most of TMRS won during the raffle proper; Claire chose a book from the remaining raffle prize pile; I traded hers for mine.
Image courtesy of Carlos Palma.

Aside from facilitating a book discussion, my personal highlight for this year’s Filipino Reader Conference is getting my books signed by Mina Esguerra! It was one of those moments where I felt tongue-tied especially since the Little Boss was also with her. I wasn’t looking at her while she was signing my books; I only looked at the messages afterwards and I found myself grinning from ear to ear.

My signed copies of No Strings Attached and That Kind of Guy by Mina V. Esguerra.

Like all good things, the 2nd Filipino Reader Conference came to an end but on a very high note. The organizers and volunteers really outdid themselves this year. Congratulations is much deserved and I’m definitely looking forward to the more Filipino Reader Conferences in the years to come. Mabuhay ang mambabasang Pinoy!

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4 responses to “Veni, Vidi, Vici: United We Read – The 2nd Filipino Reader Conference

  1. Hi, Leia! Thank you so much again for coming and for hosting the FSoG discussion. It was one of the liveliest, funnest discussions during the ReaderCon. Kudos to you and your book club!

    • Hi Honey! On behalf of TMRS, we thank you for inviting us! It was an honor and our pleasure to host the discussion for FSoG. It was a big first for us; we could only hope we didn’t scandalize the readers much. *lol* πŸ˜‰

      Congratulations also to you, the rest of the organizers and volunteers for this year’s Filipino Reader Conference! It definitely got better and I look forward to more. *two thumbs up* πŸ˜€

  2. Hi, Leia! I’m kicking myself for missing your discussion, as I dropped by for just a few minutes. I couldn’t leave the Registration table for so long. I heard from fellow Flippers that they had so much fun during the FSoG discussion. Clap clap!

    • Hi Peter! Thank you for sharing that the Flippers who were in the FSoG discussion had fun. We wished you could’ve stayed longer but duty calls. Good job to you and the Registration team; it was very smooth and organized. πŸ˜€

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