Tag Archives: events

Veni, Vidi, Vici: The 33rd Manila International Book Fair

Hello there! Thanks for sticking around. I hope I didn’t keep you waiting that much. I did say in my last post that I do plan to blog about certain stuff so prepare for an onslaught in the next few days. And I do mean an onslaught… Hehe. Allow me to start off with my special feature, albeit delayed, on this year’s Manila International Book Fair (also known as Christmas in September for bookworms like moi).

For those who are not aware of this annual event, the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) is the Philippine equivalent of Book Expo America or Frankfurter Buchmesse (which I dream of going someday), a trade fair that gathers publishers, authors, re-sellers and book lovers under one roof. It is also considered one of the longest-running book fairs in Asia and in the last few years, the MIBF has constantly offered a few surprises here and there. This year was no exception.

I went to this year’s MIBF on a very rainy and traffic-ridden Saturday afternoon. Meann was with me and we got in free, courtesy of a pass for two from Fully Booked after I purchased a hardcover edition of Rapture by Lauren Kate. And I must say, for a free pass, it looks pretty cool enough to pass as a bookmark (wait, that’s a great idea!).

Fully Booked’s MIBF Invites. Looks awesome, doesn’t it? And one pass admits two!
Image courtesy of Fully Booked’s Facebook Page

Since we came in on the 4th day of the MIBF, I wasn’t expecting to buy any books but I still went in to see how different the exhibit was. Honestly, not much has changed – I still saw the same exhibitors on the floor – but I was entirely happy to see a former exhibitor make a grand comeback. And I guess I wasn’t the only one eager to see them on the floor if I were to gauge the almost empty and somewhat disorganized shelves in their area.

I don’t have a picture but this wasn’t what I saw during my visit. No sir.
Image courtesy of Fully Booked’s Facebook Page

Meann and I moved further along the exhibit floor and stumbled along Adarna House’s booth. Since we both have nephews aged between 5-7 years old, we decided to grab some story/picture books to teach them the art of reading. I got myself a dual-language one entitled Araw sa Palengke, Written by May Tobias-Papa and Illustrated by Isabel Roxas for Php 50.00! What a steal considering that my nephew now reads it regularly and does it well. I’m definitely going for similar books, more of it, in the years to come to further nurture my nephew’s zeal for reading.  Someone has to inherit my book collection, right? 😛

Cover art for Araw sa Palengke, Winner – 2010 National Children’s Book Award
Image courtesy of Adarna House Official Website

As we moved through the many exhibitors, we bumped into several book blogger friends and traded stories of our purchases and author encounters. One of those we met was Honey, who showed some of her purchases including what would be my personal highlight for this year’s MIBF: Filipino-translated bestselling US books, namely Twilight and the first two volumes of The Vampire Diaries (Volume 3 and Volume 4 are already available as of this writing)! These were sold at the Precious Pages Corporation booth. Seeing them felt too cool for words that we were compelled to hunt and buy them.

Cover arts for the Filipino-translated books we saw at the PPC booth
Images courtesy of Precious Pages Online Shop

Meann and I were joined by another friend, Ronald, and we made a beeline for the farthest end of the trade fair floor to get copies of said books. Each book, in mass paperback sizes, was sold between Php 100-150.00 which is not bad considering the price of their original, English-written counterparts. And the best thing was, these were marked down further if you got a copy of their new comic series, Animen. I haven’t started on reading them though but I plan to sometime soon. While shopping around the Precious Pages Corporation booth, we eventually discovered that those weren’t the only series getting a Filipino-translation. Guess which series also made their cut? The Hunger Games (Book 1 is already available for Php 149.00) and Fifty Shades of Grey! I wonder how the translators/writers will approach those two series.

My 2012 MIBF Hauls

Having exhausted enough money on books and our energies visiting one booth after another, we felt very hungry. Unfortunately, the rain and the mall-wide sale weren’t helping our mood. Thus, despite getting an awesome loot bag from Blooey (thanks a lot!) and an invite to chat with other book bloggers (really sorry Tarie!), the three of us decided to leave the Mall of Asia grounds and eat someplace where there were fewer people, even if it meant going as far as Makati City.

Although it may seem that I didn’t enjoy much and didn’t purchase a lot of books compared to my previous visits, I don’t think I will ever stop going to the Manila International Book Fair. If I were to choose to keep one new tradition/habit each year, visiting the Manila International Book Fair will definitely be a permanent fixture in my calendar.

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The Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) is organized by Primetrade Asia Inc., in partnership with Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP), Asian Catholic Communicators, Inc. (ACCI), Overseas Publishers’ Representatives Association of the Philippines (OPRAP) and Philippine Booksellers Association, Inc. (PBAI).

To know more about the MIBF, you may visit their official website or their Facebook page.

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,  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. 😉

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… 😛

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

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. 😉

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.  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!