The 34th Manila International Book Fair is back!  We went yesterday, on the first day, and were surprised by the number of people at opening time.    It’s good to know Manila has its share of voracious readers of all ages!

For the past few Book Fairs, my decision has been to buy books by Filipino writers – we must support our own – with the occasional international trade paperback.  Prices were slashed by 20% to 50% for most outlets.  My haul above was quite modest, given my limited budget and the fact that I’m running out of bookshelf real estate.  From Anvil Publishing I got Manila Noir, an anthology edited by Jessica Hagedorn (20% off), and Jose Dalisay, Jr.’s Killing Time In A Warm Place (50% off, since it was the only copy available).  “Killing Time” will go to a friend in the US, after I’ve had Butch Dalisay sign it at one of our fountain pen meets.  I also got Anna Maria L. Harper’s Agueda: A Ballad of Stone and Wind from University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Publishing House.  That one was P400 (I wonder if it’s because UST just turned 400 years old?).  It’s in my local book club reading list.  For my father I got  Matthew Pearl’s The Poe Shadow (20% off, from Fully Booked).

I also went to Cosmos Bazaar’s stall, where they were selling Pilot Pens galore. I got two Pilot 78Gs and a Birdie (fountain pens, for P220 and 180 each).  The sales staff gave me a Pilot GreenRoller rollerball (with refills available at National Bookstore) and a 5-inch Pilot teddy bear on a keychain as promo items!

One thing I noticed about the Book Fair this year is that there seem to be less exhibitors, but these exhibitors had bigger stalls.  The food area was also much smaller.  Albergus catered as usual, but served undercooked pinakbet as a side viand with their lunch, not to mention undercooked rice.   However, their roast beef was excellent.  Maybe  on the other days of the Book Fair their food will improve, and we were just unlucky to have had lunch there on opening day.

It’s worth a visit!  The 34th Manila International Book Fair is from Sept. 11-15, 2013, 10:00am to 8pm, at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia complex, Pasay City.


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