The second speaker was Genaro Gojo Cruz, a renowned children’s story writer. I had no idea what he was doing there but he was such a dynamic speaker that he managed to convince me to try children’s story writing. I think what got my attention was when he said that the money in writing is in children’s stories, with one piece fetching roughly P35,000 plus royalties. He came prepared, too. Whenever he would cite an example for what makes a good children’s book, he would whip one out. I swear he brought at least a hundred (I’m exaggerating, of course). He won two Palancas already, so he’s good in my book.
The last speaker was Marc Gaba, who was supposed to talk about poetry. He ended up reciting one of his poems and going on a rhetoric with no direction – jumping from water being expensive to rewriting the Genesis. He caught everyone by surprise, though I suspected it was a performance (he subtly alluded to it). It was very strange, but I thought it was fascinating, particularly his melodic and mellifluous voice. He was such a mystery – when no one asked any question (everyone was too surprised), he simply stood up and walked away.
The seminar lasted until 3PM, and we ended up walking around Malate and taking photos. It was a nice day out but we simply wandered around the streets because we didn’t know where to go. We went to Solidaridad, F. Sionil Jose’s bookshop, then to Robinson’s Ermita. I was really eager to see F. Sionil Jose (who I had met several years ago at Inkblots, UST’s annual journalism seminar), but he was in Makati at the time for a book signing.
For dinner, we went to Noriter, this Korean coffee shop across DLSU. It has that homey and cozy vibe that more commercial coffee places like Starbucks and Coffee Bean are aiming for. The place is filled with the cutest objet d’art: a collection of toys, robots, statues, and doodled paper cups. Patrons can opt to get a table or a mezzanine where you can sit on the floor. It wasn’t that crowded when we came in, but maybe because it was a Saturday and there weren’t that many students around. We just had sandwiches but I’m definitely coming back for the drinks, which many say are really good.