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.

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