34th Manila International Book Fair

This week has been a tremendous blur for my emotions. While maintaining my precarious balance with my writing gigs, I’m experiencing something I haven’t in a long while, and the experience is quite exhilarating. It’s given a pep to my step and has generally made me happier. I can’t talk about it yet, but let’s just say this is going to provide a nice break to my usual routine.

It’s this eagerness that has led me to the 34th Manila International Book Fair yesterday even though I was developing a fever. The night before, I was out for drinks with some officemates and I think I overwhelmed my body with the amount of cigarettes I smoked (I’m a social smoker). I could have stayed at home and gone to MIBF today, but I did this small test of serendipity and I had to be there on Saturday to prove it. It ultimately failed but hey, I’ve always been a positive person! It was also a good idea for me to visit MIBF on Saturday because the UAAP cheerdance competition was held today so I suspected that the normally packed SM Mall of Asia would be bursting at the seams.

 

Went a little crazy at the 34th Manila International Book Fair

 

Despite my failed attempt to manufacture serendipity, I did have a grand time at the MIBF. I bought 10 books and I spent only one thousand. Last year, I spent the same amount for seven books (Jessica Zafra’s Twisted series and Alex Gilvarry’s From The Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant, which he signed). I met two of my officemates and they had a grand time as well, one of them buying a handful of books and the other having her copy of Si Amapola Sa 65 na Kabanata signed by Ricky Lee.

Here are the books I scored for this year’s MIBF. I’m happy because nine out of the ten books are by Filipino authors. I also got a copy of Bret Easton Ellis’s Imperial Bedrooms for P99, the sequel to his first novel Less Than Zero, which I enjoyed tremendously.

  • Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis
  • Waking The Dead and other horror stories by Yvette Tan
  • The 500 People You Meet in Hell by Jessica Zafra
  • Manila Noir, edited by Jessica Hagedorn (with stories by Lourd de Veyra, FH Batacan, Angelo R. Lacuesta, Jose Dalisay, R. Zamora Linmark, Lysley Tenorio, Rosario Cruz-Lucero, Budjette Tan & Kajo Baldisimo, and others)
  • Ang Panibagong Kulam by Tony Perez
  • From Coffee to Cocktails by Celine Lopez
  • Paper Cuts by Pam Pastor
  • Etiquette for Mistresses by Jullie Yap Daza
  • Flames and other stories by Angelo R. Lacuesta
  • The Aswang Inquiry by Frank Lynch, SJ (with illustrations by Gila Cordero-Fernando)
I felt like collapsing in the late afternoon, but I promised my friends from college I’d meet them for dinner. I could have easily cancelled, but I haven’t seem them in ages. My busy schedule doesn’t permit me to to go out with a lot of people, and I can just imagine many of my friends pissed off at me for blowing them off. We were supposed to go out last July but I ran late with an interview for the zine that I didn’t make it.
It’s always fun to see them because we’ve known each other since college, back when we were all starting out. Granted, two of them were already supporting themselves, but it’s inspiring to see how far we’ve come since school, when we’d drink every night after class and attempt to manage our money since we weren’t earning yet.
I consider them as family because they have seen me at my absolute worst – from the time I threw my legendary bitch fit at Ascend to the aftermath of my failed romances –  and have been there at my best. I think it’s important to have people like them in our lives, because these are the ones who have loved you when you had nothing, and who would continue to love you when you lose everything.
My fever’s still in its developmental stage, but I hope it clears soon.

Friendster

I never thought Friendster would affect me like this. I almost forgot about the site ever since I started Facebook. When I heard that it would shut down, I never bothered to worry about it or even have an opinion. I just thought, oh well. That’s life.

On a whim, I decided to open my Friendster account for one last time. It was a whirl of emotions. I felt loved because all my testimonials had good words. More than half of them said they missed me, they loved me, were asking where I was, etc.

It also brought back a lot of painful memories. I saw my exes, guys I went out with who I gave my heart to, and two exes who passed away, one of them including my first love. My first love was a great guy – he left me but he taught me to love. Honestly, I was very wild back then but he told me to focus on my life and pick up my act. The reason why I’m so successful is because he inspired me to be the best I can be.

I feel so nostalgic. My Friendster account is full of people who loved me, hated me, screwed me over, and knew me inside and out. But I understand that all things must come to an end, including Friendster. What I don’t understand is how I don’t recognize some of the people who tell me that they miss and that we should hang out again.

My epic fail

I woke up feeling great yesterday. The sun was shining but it was cool, so I spent an extra few minutes snuggling under my fur blanket, wiggling my toes and closing my eyes really really tight. I was excited because L was coming over so we could cook pasta and watch DVDs. I yawned and looked for my phone to check my messages and got the shock of my life.

My friend committed suicide.
Technically it was an attempt, and she’s now confined in the hospital to sober up. All the same, she tried to kill herself which is the scary part because most suicidals are afraid to actually do it. Worried, I got up, showered, grabbed a quick lunch and went to the hospital to check up on her.
It turned she downed four handfuls of aspirin, local painkillers, and valiums last night. I’m still fuzzy on the details but I knew it had something to do with school, finances, and personal relationships.
My heart broke when I saw her. She was so frail, she couldn’t move, and her voice sounded really tired. We didn’t get to talk so I just sat by her side and watched. Her dad and brother were there. Her mom knew what happened but she’s working in the States. I wanted to cry for her because I could only imagine what she was going through, knowing her daughter tried to kill herself.
Watching my friend, I felt responsible for her attempt on her life. Looking back, all the signs were there. She was telling me about how bad this year was for her and how she felt alone. I was aware that I was one of the few people she trusted at the time but I had so many stuff on my plate that I couldn’t find the time to help her. What a friend.
I consider this mess a learning experience. I learned to be more aware of my surroundings and the people around me. I learned to watch out for little signs that could lead to something big. And I call myself a Psychology student. I’m disappointed in myself.
My friend is doing fine now. She has IVs and stuff in her that’ll help her flush out the drugs she took and she’s getting lots of rest. When her dad asked me if I play basketball, she gave a little laugh. Somehow, that made me feel better.

Like a virgin touched for the very first time

Finally! The first semester is over! No more term papers, professors from hell, assignments and lessons that I will never ever get. Now, I can finally unwind from the stress that is school. There are however, times when I still can’t believe it’s over. It feels so surreal thinking that I don’t have to worry about my academics for the next three weeks. I guess the only thing I need to think about now are my grades. Oddly, this is the first time I’ve felt this kind of relaxation and detachment from school. I actually feel like a virgin. Touched for the very first time.

Speaking of virgin experiences, lately I’m being plagued by a strong sense of being alone. I feel that the people I know and love are slowly drifting away and moving on to other things. With that, I have made the realization that at the end of the day, you only have yourself. Friends are great support systems, but in the vast reality of the universe, we are all alone. I learned that you can’t count on people all the time because they have their own lives to lead. They have their own friends, boyfriends, families and problems.

Last night, I was out with my friends at Molokai to celebrate the end of the semester. I still believe that we are alone but like I said, friends are great support systems. We may have our own lives to lead, but parts of our lives are intertwined to make a meaningful whole. I may be alone but that doesn’t mean I’m lonely.

It’s finally sem. break! No more term papers, professors from hell, assignments and lessons that I will never ever get! I have three weeks to relax and I intend to maximize every minute of it. On a grander perspective, I realized that we are all alone, but I also realized that there is no point harboring these kinds of feelings. We are alone, but my friends and I, we’re alone together.