Manila International Book Fair 2011: New Year, New Experiences

Tata Francisco (Ex-Libris Philippines) pretty much summarized what the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) is for me: "It's like Christmas in December."  Well, at least in the last two years.  While I admit to being a leisure/casual reader cum book hoarder, participating in book fairs/conventions was never my cup of tea.  For one reason: I hate large crowds as I constantly feel the need to apologize/excuse myself every time I pass through.  Perhaps, it's largely out of fear that I get Mad-Eye Moody-like stares for accidentally hitting someone or I'm the one getting hit.  Not even the lure of discounts and books fresh out of the box would persuade me.  However, as time would have it, my curiosity about the MIBF got the best of me and I've been going since 2009.  Not that long ago but I guess we all start somewhere.  :)

My first MIBF experience in 2009 was largely due to fandom-related activities as it pertains to The Hunger Games & The Twilight Saga.  First, I was one of the participants in the Live Action Role Play (LARP), which was done as part of the launch activities for Catching Fire, Book 2 in the said trilogy. Afterwards, I was a panelist for the book-to-movie adaptation discussion of New Moon by Twilight Coven Philippines.  Given the hectic schedule that day, I didn't have any time to browse/buy books but I did get an ARC of Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink from Meann.

A year later, I went to the MIBF for business reasons.  I was excited at the prospect.  I attended an English language conference with Claire, an ex-officemate/friend/fellow bibliophile.  While we visited the book fair after our conference, unfortunately, there wasn't any book that caught my attention... or perhaps, I was tired.  In a way, it somewhat reinforced my first impression of the book fair: that it seemed to cater more to educators/non-fiction readers given the huge spread of booths selling books for their market.  I don't find anything wrong with that, truth be told, as it helps educators get updated on materials they can bring to their schools.  I guess I was expecting a variety of books which would attract different markets/crowds to be in the fair.

Those experiences made me think twice about visiting this year.  However, through stories of friends and social media networks, I learned about some key activities that even compelled me to file a leave in the middle of my work week.  While I only visited for only two days out of five, I can definitely say that I came, I saw, I pimped... and bought... I lined up and listened... more than any of the years I went to the fair.  I noted that there were a lot more authors invited to sign their books; there was even a web chat and signed books raffled off.  The books available were more diverse and accessible, price-wise; even titles that weren't supposed to appear were sold already. Suffice to say, I had fun this year.  My photo slideshow below covers some of my personal highlights, which include:
  • Attending the 1st Filipino Reader Conference;
  • Buying more books, of course, to add to my growing pile;
  • Meeting and having my books signed by two authors, namely Samantha Sotto and Alexander Yates, and listen to their experiences in a panel discussion sponsored by National Bookstore & Random House entitled "Life of a Novelist"; and
  • Sharing those experiences with good friends and fellow bibliophiles.

    Note: All images uploaded in this slideshow were taken by me.  Should you download
    them and use in your site, please credit accordingly.  Thanks!

    On that note, I'll end this blog with a big kudos to the organizers of the MIBF!  It's getting better each year. Keep it up! I'm looking forward to more books, more authors and more activities in the years to come. :D

    ETA: Some photo captions in the slideshow were already edited in the full album prior to publishing this blog post. It seems like Photobucket is having some problems synchronizing my updates.  I will try to fix this the soonest. My apologies.


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