MIBF 2015 Damage Report: Wherein my Wallet Grieves

Confession: I have never been to the Manila International Book Fair. I never saw the need to troop there when I could be spending my money at the various bookstore sales that usually happen in September. Heck, I’ve been Cut-Price-Booksale-ing since I’ve learned to spend. But because I have a book out of personal reasons, I dragged my family so we could recruit new additions to our bookshelves as a team. Family bonding and all that shizz, right?

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Personal reason – translation: Ogling books with her name on it

Turns out that my idea wasn’t so bright. Because a family that book hunts together…SPENDS MONEY FASTER! Our collective wallet is now afflicted with thinandemptyitis, but our hearts are happy. We scored a lot of good deals, a shitload of good books, and good vibes from a productive day.

Thank you, Blooey, for your report

The day’s biggest find was a copy of The Soul Book by Gilda Cordero-Fernando, Francisco R. Demetrio, and Fernando Nakpil Zialcita at the Bookmark booth. This volume on Filipino beliefs and culture has long been out of print. Copies occasionally surface, and I was lucky enough that this was one of those days. This one almost slipped my fingers, but I ended up bringing it home, so it must be meant to be. Now if only a copy of The Body Book would surface, too.

This MIBF’s hotcakes were the adult coloring books that cluttered a large number of booths. I find them a teeny bit pricey, especially since there’s a high likelihood that the little dinosaur will insist on coloring along. Thankfully, the high demand also meant that a lot of local publishers have thrown their hats in the arena, so I was able to get our first non-Disney/Hello Kitty/Kiddie coloring books. I got these two from Bookware, selling for only 105 each, discounted from the SRP of 149.

The Bookware booth was also where I got a large selection of books by Tagalog romance novelist Edith Joaquin. After complaining about the difficulty of finding her older work in bookstores, she raided the Bookware stocks for me. She gifted me with some of them, but I ended up buying the rest as well. I don’t want any of them left behind, bad for a book’s self-esteem.

I also scored a powerbank from local ebook retailer Buqo. I won it from one of their blog contests a couple of weeks ago. Aside from the powerbank, I also signed up to get copies of their #JustWritePH ebook bundles after I donated old books for their A Book for an Ebook project.

Joining contests really pays off, as I also won a children’s book from OMF Literature. After participating in one of their Facebook contests, I won a copy of Grace D. Chiong’s Coming Home, one of their newly released titles.

I had been eyeing May Coyuito’s The Year We Became Invincible for quite some time now, so when it was discounted by 20%, off it went to our cart.

Adarna was one booth I had difficulty leaving. I was there for Janus Silang v2, but we ended up grabbing a couple of their new board books for Miffy. It was tough whittling our choices down, because their YA book selection looked awesome.

As with at any bookish event Visprint participates in, we can’t leave without buying something! We got Eliza Victoria’s Project 17, Paolo Chikiamco’s Mythspace, and Chris Mariano’s Cover (Story) Girl. I also wanted to get Agay Llanera’s Vintage Love and Stella Torres’ Save the Cake, but I guess that will have to wait until it reaches the bookstores (and fresh funds line my wallet).



Passing by the Tahanan booth, I was surprised to see a familiar face. Turns out that editor-in-chief Ms. Reni Roxas was in town. She gave me my first job; I was an editorial assistant at Tahanan Books fresh out of college. After catching up, she gifted my daughter with a signed copy of her own book, Ay Naku!

And for reasons, I grabbed copies of Camilla Sisco’s Submission Moves, Bianca Mori’s Tame the Kitten, Dawn Lanuza’s The Boyfriend Backtrack, Kate Evangelista’s Savor, and Agay Llanera’s Once Upon a Player, because I didn’t want my copies of The Kitchen When It Sizzles to sit by its lonesome on my shelf without its Spark Books buddies. I mean, look at them all together! My pretties!

Aside from books, there were also quite a few booths selling educational toys. This xylophone was an impulse buy, but it sounded so lovely, quite unlike all the other toy xylophones we’ve seen. That, plus our little dinosaur fell head over heels in love with her “Xyophone! Xyophone!” so it had to come home with us.

Quite a list, huh? Reviewing it now, I didn’t realize that it was an all Filipino haul! Mabuhay ang manunulat na Pinoy!

I should start screaming (with my best Happosai impression) “What a haul! What a haul!” but the truth is, I still want to go back! There are some books I missed out on and there are books I resisted purchasing. But since there’s no chance for us to return, I guess we’ll have to content ourselves with our lovely new books and start saving up for the 37th MIBF.

I want to hear what you think. I also want potato chips.