Went first thing upon opening yesterday.  Runs from Sept. 12-14 only.  It’s at the Convention Center building (SMX) of SM Mall of Asia.

First things first:

1.  Bring enough cash because there is NO ATM inside this building.  You have to walk outside to the supermarket area and withdraw there, so make sure you bring an umbrella.

2.  Visit the loo before entering the fair.  Otherwise, there are conveniently located toilets outside the trade halls and also inside, in the middle back.

3.  Also, if you want to conserve your money for books instead of food, eat beforehand.  Or you can buy from Albergus Catering, which does offer really good value for money food, with tables and waiters!  You line up and pay, self-service.  The waiters clear your table so the turnover is quite efficient.

We chose from the “Guest Menu”  where, for P130 (exclusive of drinks), I recommend either the Roast Beef+Pancit+Rice meal or the Fish in Basil Cream Sauce+Pancit+Rice meal.  Drinks are around PhP 40/can softdrinks or C2 iced tea.

Now, to the books:

1.  If you went to the National Bookstore booksale last month, it continues here, with 20% off on all regular priced items, and bigger discounts for selected items.  Cash and credit transactions.  You can use your Laking National card here too.  Promo items for every PhP 1000 purchase.  I got a Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” promo messenger bag!  Quite useful for putting all your purchases in.

2.  Same discount structure at Powerbooks. Some books you are looking for in National but can’t find in that booth might be available here. You can also avail of an outright purchase Powerbooks Powercard for PhP 100 and claim the discount card after 3 weeks at the Powerbooks branch nearest you.  Cash and credit accepted, as well as BPI Express Payment.

3.  Goodwill has lots of lovely children’s books!  Lovely discounted prices as well!  Cash and credit too!

4.  Anvil Publications has imported and local publications on display, also with wonderful discounts. Local publications are available in bookpaper or newsprint.  Cash and credit accepted.

Please watch out for my friend Jag Garcia‘s book (written with colleagues Melanie Casul and Michael Kho Lim) “Media Kit” volumes 1 and 2.  Great basic textbook for people who want to learn how to make effective audiovisual presentations or have ambitions to become scriptwriters or filmmakers.  Well-written, simple and concise.  In this age of digital information, this is one affordable information resource to always have by your side.

Another recommendation:  This is the time to take advantage of adding to your Ambeth Ocampo popular history collection!  Start with “Rizal Without His Overcoat” and go through each of the national heroes in Ambeth’s list.  If you buy his books you get a bottle of Claude Tayag’s “Claude 9” brand sauce free (random flavor)!

Yet another:  The late Doreen G. Fernandez‘s book of food essays, “Tikim”.

5.  Best Value For Money Filipiniana booth:  Bookmark.

I got a “Field Guide to the Common Mangroves, Sea Grasses and Algae of the Philippines” by Hilconida Calumpong and the Smithsonian’s Ernani Menez for my uncle Joey who is the barangay captain of a tiny Negros coastal town featuring a DENR-recognized mangrove sanctuary.  It has glossy full-color photography, which sold for an unbelievable discount price of PhP 250 (regular price: PhP 400).  Super sulit geeky Pinoy science book for an international audience.

Also available:  “Marine Reserves in the Philippines:  Historical Development, Effects and Influence on Marine Conservation Policy” by former DENR Sec. Angel Alcala for an even more unbelievable sale price of PhP 100!!!

Splendid selection of Filipiniana available.  Fantastic pictures and paper quality.  The coffeetable book “Philippine Ancestral Houses” edited by Gilda Cordero-Fernando is available in paperback for PhP 1000!!!  (That’s actually reasonable, folks, because the hardcover edition is worth at least PhP 3-4000 and is a collector’s item.) I thought it was out of print.

6.  Check out other university press favorites, University of the Philippines Press and Ateneo de Manila University Press.

7.  Other booths are specialty books and feature some seriously scary prices so just think that they are actually targeted at school libraries and not the ordinary consumer.

8.  Not books, but next to the stage there is a booth for Pilot pens and pencils.  I recommend for all those with an office supplies fetish like myself the Pilot ENO 0.7mm mechanical pencil which has erasable colored pencil refills!!!  I got one, plus red, green and blue refills (3 colors, one pack).  Other refill colors are light blue, lavender, pink, apple green… so yes… indulge…

Honestly, one day is not enough.  If someone offers you a free pass valid until Sunday (tomorrow), get them!  Only your wallet limits you.

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