September 29, 2011

The 32nd MIBF: The Written World and Beyond*

*This post was originally written for The Athena, Cheenee's previous blog.

Trucks of bookstores and publishing houses were parked on the side of World Trade Center one Sunday night in September 2006. I did not know what the event was but it was a good sight. Pardon the ignorance but it was 2006 and I was a new girl in the Metro so I knew little about events like this, save those that my sister dragged me to. The next day, the great "F" friends were abuzz with great books they bought at a good price. It was all about the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF).

The next four years, I found myself excited just looking at ads and blogs announcing the coming of the great fair. The next four years, my delinquent memory never led me to any book fair. I wrote the dates on a paper in 2008 and the paper surfaced exactly a month after the fair ended. It changed venue, still no book fair. I planned to go with a friend in 2010 and the friend caught my amnesia.

Friday night, I received a text message from Dane inviting me to the MIBF in SMX! I was in no position to reject the invite! As usual, I did over-think and thought about how much my budget would be, how many books I'd buy, and what to expect. I really had no idea.

After paying the P20 registration/entrance fee, we walked systematically (Divi and Greenhills style), starting at the stalls on the right side. It was disappointing at first seeing the medical and business textbooks. But after scouring the stalls, I already got confused which books to choose because there were many good reads. There were lots of books fit for my eight year-old cousin, Raiza, who's now hooked to buying and borrowing books from their school library. She particularly likes Geronimo Stilton but I decided to leave the buying part to her mom. [HAHA] But I still bought her cheaper and thinner story books and a world history book for kids. I admit, I bought it for myself too. I also wanted to buy the "Book of Why" for both of us but P350 is expensive.

To avoid regrets, I decided to check each stall first before deciding to buy. We saw a lot of good deals, kid-friendly booths, authors (and national artists for literature), a friend, and DAREMON AND NOBITA!

P99 was not the cheapest price. Some thin story books for kids were just P10! Books on sale give me as much happiness as clothes and shoes on sale.                                                                                            
This kid wanted to try all the educational toys! It's not surprising. I wanted to play with these, too!            
UST Publishing. Thomasians Ma'am Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo and Lourd De Veyra were there.                       
My friends, Alpo and Dane                                                                                                                                                                      


After thinking and rethinking, going from one shelf to another, I decided to have these eight books, seven of which were written by Filipino authors.

1) NOT Another Self-Help Book by Dr. David Fong

I am not a fan of self-help books because my often pensive self have already thought of the stuff these books give. But since this is NOT Another Self-Help Book and since I've been having a roller coaster of emotions lately, I thought this book could help, or at least entertain.

2-5) Looking Back series by Ambeth Ocampo

I read Ambeth Ocampo's column "Looking Back" in PDI if I feel like it (but not regularly). Fact: The only columnist I used to read religiously was Conrado De Quiros's "There's the Rub" until he sort of became a total kiss ass. Anyway, one reason why I bought Ocampo's Looking Back series is the popularity of "Death by Garrote" and (FAN GIRL ALERT) Ocampo was at Anvil Publishing's booth, ready to sign his books.

6) The Manila We Knew

The title suggests about Manila's past and it caught my curiosity. I am a huge fan of Manila. Stories about the city during the past 50++ years are but delightful. Maybe this book could bring stories unheard of, beauty undiscovered.

7) Para Kay B by Ricky Lee

Of all the books I bought, this is the only one that I have been meaning to buy for years already. The price, though, always sends me to second thoughts so I end up not buying it. There were actually other books by Filipino authors that I wanted but my curiosity led me to the books above.

8 ) An Anthology of Winning Works - Short Stories (Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature)

Short stories are like therapy to me. It doesn't take much time to finish. This anthology will give me a something to read for a year (perhaps) and I no longer have to visit Palanca Awards' website to read winning entries.

I have three reasons why I bought books by Filipino authors. First, I can easily relate with the characters. Second, whether it is fiction or non-fic, they say something about different places in the country. Third, I have never seen (or seldom sees) books by Filipino authors in Book Sale and "bookays."

My first MIBF was an experience worth repeating year after year! Next year, I hope I would have more budget so I can buy more books.  Fairs like this are worth spending bucks! If you're a regular bookstore buyer, you can actually ditch the habit and have everything you want (or need) to read for the next months for less. Don't get me wrong. It is not about the number of books we buy, but how these books will serve us in real life.

read, read, read!

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