Even though it is on its 33rd year, I only heard of MIBF a couple of weeks ago because tales from the friend zone actor Ramon Bautista mentioned that his first book would be launched there. I found the event’s website and was immediately excited to be there. Hundreds of exhibitors and publishers plus thousands of books under one roof, now that sounded like a lot of fun.
The fair, held at SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, is open from September 12 to 16, 2012 from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
One of the good things about being out of university and still jobless is not having to wait for the weekend. And weekday shindigs are better especially when most are stuck at work or school and the amount of people where you’re going is at an acceptable level. Plus, vacant taxis are everywhere. I went to MIBF a while ago with Tords and Chabs.
The admission fee was 20 pesos (thanks Chabs!), very affordable since you could stare at hundreds of books you know you’d buy when you earn your third paycheck. Yeah, I was not able to purchase the softbound books I caressed and smelled but seeing them was enough to inspire me. It didn’t matter that I saw others who had dozens of books in their carts because being surrounded by the printed word made me smile.
Of course the stall directly in front of the entrance (and also the biggest) was National Bookstore’s. There was also one for The University of the Philippines Press, Fully Booked and many others I was not able to take a photo of because I am still shy and conscious when it comes to clicking the shutter. Besides, everyone was busy rummaging through bookshelves and 50% off bins, I stood out like a sore thumb with my camera.
I saw cute bookmarks and cards in one stall, the kind where the images move when you tilt them on different sides. Kinda reminded me of the freebies from powdered milk products when I was younger, along with stickers and 2-day-long-toys.
When facing the entrance, on the far left was a stage and there was some sort of awarding ceremony for high school students when we were there. On the far right was the food section. When the three of us went separate ways – a reason why I tagged Chabs and Tords along, we could stand on our own and are not afraid to roam around alone because really, book shopping (or book window shopping) is not a communal experience – I bought whatever looked edible since I haven’t had anything and it’s already 4 pm. The siomai was ok. The blueberry cheesecake didn’t have a single piece of blueberry and was fluffy. The pasta was ok. What did I expect in a book fair (or any kind of fair for that matter, except food fairs)?
Of course it was inevitable to be frustrated when you see something you badly want to buy but couldn’t. You linger in front of that shelf for a couple of minutes and go through all stages of DABDA. Denial. No, that’s not The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes in one volume with a really nice cover (yes it is). Anger. ARGH Why did it have to cost this much? Screw the staff who put it on this particular shelf when he knows I’d pass by and see it! Bargaining. If only I saw this a week ago when I still had money. If only this fair would still be open next month when I’d have money again. Depression. huhuhu. Stares at the book, flips the pages, outlines the pretty designs with fingers. Walk away. Come back and denial again. Repeat process for at least 5 minutes. Acceptance. Walk away, this time without ever looking back.
I was still a bit gloomy after we left the fair (though not apparent since we were already munching on delicious doughnuts). AT J.Co, our conversation turned to material wants. We were talking about cellular phones. Chabs and I both wanted iPhones and after venting out our desires, we turned to Tords who was quiet and asked, “Tords ikaw, wala kang gusto?” (How about you Tords, what do you want?) to which she replied in a nonchalant way “Wala, hindi ko naman kasi gusto pag di ko kailangan eh” (None. I don’t “want” what I don’t “need”.). And suddenly, I was ashamed of myself because I kept on whining about things I wanted which I didn’t even need. Thank you Tords! Your simplicity and nonmaterialisticness (if there is such a word) always enlighten me. No wonder you’re one of the best! :]
After MIBF, we roamed around the neighboring Mall of Asia and lounged at one of the many empty tables facing seaside right after munching on J.Co doughnuts (to pass time before dinner). Another perk of going out on a weekday – restaurants and cafes are slow on business they wouldn’t shoo you away when you occupy their seats (that would never happen on a Saturday). As usual we took pictures of our favorite subject, ourselves.
All in all, I bought 4 books from the fair, all under 120 pesos. From top: Bakit hindi ka crush ng crush mo? by Ramon Bautista (120 pesos plus free notebook), Coriolanus by William Shakespeare (50 pesos), Searching for God knows what by Donald Miller (originially 480, bought it for 100 php) and On cursed ground and other stories by Vicente Garcia Groyon (originally 280, bought for 100php).