Friday, September 16, 2011

The Manila International Book Fair

Let me put a ring around this blog entry. Books love me, but I don't love books. I get lazy reading printed literature, and the disability shows every time I gasp for words when it's time to pen my own sentences.  

My house might be mistaken for a library, no thanks to a beautiful mother who is a bibliophile in denial. Books covering varied topics about the social sciences swamp every nook and cranny of the master's bedroom. Even the living room is not spared. Shelves serve as dividers between the kitchen and the sala.    

When I was a kid, I remember my dad bringing home two carts of paperback from a book foundation. I don't know his reasons for collecting such volume of reading materials but I know, my parents shared in the bounty. The books went to different shelves. Some, even found their way to my man-sized bookcase many years later.   

September is the time of the year when book publishers and retailers gather for a once in a year event. Known to book lovers and bibliophiles as the Manila International Book Fair, to be there at the convention is like stepping foot in heaven. That is, if you are a person who sees books as food.

This year's Manila Book Fair opened last Wednesday. I was lucky to learn - from some blogs - the schedule since the opening day falls on my rest day. Earlier this week, my mom had asked me to free up my day off. She wanted to go to GSIS headquarters to submit some papers for her retirement.

The 32nd Manila International Book Fair 2011

"Ma, punta tayo sa international book fair sa MOA." My mom's eyes gleamed. "Ngayon ang opening nila." 

"Ay sige sige!" We were inside the car on our way to Roxas Boulevard when I suggested our activity.   

It took us less than an hour to submit her papers at the government office. Since I always make it a point to lead the way when my mom and I go on a date, I decided for us to drop by the church and attend the novena before crossing the street and into the SMX Convention Center.

I know the book fair is a favorite haunt for book bargain shoppers. But what I didn't know is that there's a 20 pesos entrance fee before you can proceed to the exhibit halls.This information might have been denied to us because in the previous years we went there, we showed up on the last day of the book fair.   

I left my mom to rummage spiritual books at Saint Paul's while I pirouetted my way to Adarna to shop for these:

Adarna House

My Christmas List for this year has been updated the day before I set forth for the book fair. Five more children were added to the list.

As my mom hoarded Sociology books at Goodwill Bookstore, (She bought the thick tomes for P100 pesos each)  I did my rounds and paid tributes to the publishing houses of my home universities.

University of the Philippines Press

University of Santo Tomas Publishing House

Anvil has some of the best Filipino writers in their roster. I consider them my favorite publishing house. 

Anvil Publishing House

Unfortunately, the only title I was able to buy was a book about the Blessed Virgin. I'm thinking if it would be my birthday gift to my mom, or part of my Christmas present.

The Anvil Collection

Rex Bookstore was already a household name even when I was still in elementary. Their obscure (decrypt) main branch is located somewhere along the University Belt. For a long time, I thought the book publisher had already disappeared. At the book fair, they proved themselves to be the king.

Rex Publishing

They even have iPads for the guests to use.   

Rex Interactive

Rizaliana books from the National Historical Institute.

National Historical Institute 

They say no single religion holds sway over humanity. Absolute truth touches different lives and enlightens many consciousness. For this reason, the school of Theosophy exist.

Assorted Books from the Theosophical Society of the Philippines

We stayed there long enough to see my mom's cash disappear from her wallet. At which time, the book fair was also about to close. As we exit the exhibit hall, my mom and I learned that both us went there unready; our shopping list unwritten. I tried to compensate by snooping around my loved ones' Facebook accounts when I was at Rex Bookstore, but time was running out.

I might have to return sometime to resume my shopping.

The Manila International Book Fair runs until Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 8 pm. Receiving less publicity than it did the previous years, I'm not sure if the place would be packed as it did the last time.

It would have been fabulous to see Milflores and Visprint to join the exhibit, but their absence leaves a dark hole for those who are into contemporary Philippine literature. Apparently, they prefer to go their separate ways or they can't drop the prices of their books like the other publishers did for this event.

The books and I shall pursue this uneasy peace. Meanwhile, under the banner of progress, I shall continue indulging my mom's eternal love for books and this hidden longing to give the gift of literature at the time of sacred giving. Christmas is around the corner. For this reason, I opened the season - like I always did in my previous lifetimes - by making this trip to the convention.



Mr. Hush Hush said...

Thanks for this info Mugen. Will try to visit this weekend.. sana may mga 'commercialized' books din for sale hehehe yuppie!

oh, btw, happy monthsary sa inyo ni baabaa!! ^_^

Leo said...

I bought most of my self-help books in Saint Paul. I feel so relaxed inside that bookstore, therapeutic indeed. Sayang, I'll miss this book fair. Siguro next year na lang. I still got so many books to read and going there, adding more books to my list, will not help.

Parang ayaw ko maniwala sa first paragraph mo. Seldom do I know good writers na tamad magbasa. Chinacharot mo kami. Hahaha.


Anonymous said...

naiinggit ako. hay...


Nate said...

@leo: hahaha! :P term of the day: chinacharot

@kuya joms: i kinda agree with leo on this.. you na ang charotero.. lol. :P --- Seldom do I know good writers na tamad magbasa.

or pwede rin na gifted ka tlga mag-sulat.. :)

Pepe said...

i'd love to be there but can't. sad.

red the mod said...

Funny how coincidentally, the post I've been writing these past few day is about books. And I didn't even know about this book fair. Hopefully this Saturday maka-daan kami. Sana. If you're coming back, let me know. Baka we can meet up.

Kiks said...

blog posts like this make me miss National Bookstore and such book fairs in Manila.

Mugen said...


Powerbooks saka Fully Booked na ang uso ngayon. Sadly, I haven't checked their stores for a very long time.


I might return this Saturday. Bahala na. :) You should go. It would be perfect date for you and your beau. :)


I hardly read novels. Magazines or information materials puwede pa. "_"

Mugen said...


Honga eh. Ang layo mo kasi.


I wish you were true, pero mas marami pang nabasang novels si JC sa akin this year. Nakadalawa na yata siya, ako 0 pa rin. Lol.

Mr. Hush:


Yeah, you should swing by this weekend. Sa tabi lang naman siya ng MOA.

Mugen said...


Nako sayang. Diba malapit ka lang naman dun? :(

Pero I know, you're bound to go somewhere else rin eh. Hehehe. Enjoy.

Thirdy Lopez said...

OHM is offering free entrance tickets... :)

Will be going there this weekend...

Which reminds me I should print out the free ticket... :)

Mugen said...


See you there, then. I might return this Saturday. :)

the green breaker said...

Some books are still very expensive. Ha, I'd wait for those prices to drop.

jetlander said...

Naghunting ako doon kahapon at nakakita na ako ng christmas gift for my colleagues. Balik ako bukas after duty to buy the books.

Sean said...

kung nakauwi ako nakapag-hoard sana ako ng books. wala kasing choices dito mahal pa kung mahanap mo.

Viktor Saudad said...

i'm gonna go this afternoon :)

Mugen said...


Marami ka ba nabili ngayong araw? Sale rin sa MOA ah.


Haha parang you're hinting wala ka sa Manila ah. Tama ba?


Marahil nagkabangga kayo ni Victor... at ni Mugen. :)

Green Breaker:

Nako kid, wala ka na mahahanap na bagsak presyo pa. Heheh.