It was a rainy Friday of August 5th and I set out to attend the Philippine Book Fair at Lipa. The Outlet is a perfect venue for this event and added to it is the already cool climate of Lipa City. It’s a 40 kilometers journey from my place to that location. On top of that is the usual traffic, so it took me almost two hours of travel. I came late at the venue and the guest, National Artist for Literature, Virgilio Almario is wrapping up his opening remarks.
Since I’m on a budget and the weather is not cooperating, I have two quick missions. One, get my books by Rio Alma or Virgilio Almario signed and two, buy something for my daughter. After that I have to go home (or should I say eat lunch at Robinson’s Lipa then head home).
I was able to listen to some parts of Almario’s speech but it’s more of a book launch for his newly published dictionary. I took some pictures as he was impressively engaging the audience. He wrapped up his talk then the emcee proceeded to the Q and A portion. At that moment, I went busy taking pictures of various booths. After that session, we have the signing and photo op. I made a quick purchase at a nearby Adarna House booth, a children’s book titled Ibon Adarna. The book is not originally written by Almario but he did the retelling of the classic tale for the publishing house. Then I proceeded to fall in line to get my books autographed.
The line wasn’t long, so I got my turn very quick. So I greeted him and handed over two of his poetry books under his pen name, Rio Alma and the Ibong Adarna book. I got it from the sale bin of the National Bookstore, so the books are not in good condition which he noticed. I snap some photos with him then proceed to check the different booths.
I’m glad to see the different publishers present that morning. Having them there feels like going to MIBF without the large crowd. There are lots of new releases and discounted books over their display rack. I have a tight budget and I already bought some books over Lazada a few months ago.
I went over the booth of the National Book Development Board (NBDB) and participated in their survey. After we go through the survey, they will give me a cool tote bag. As I was answering, one of the staff started a conversation about reading with me. I told her that folks here are getting uninterested with reading and for us readers Booksale is our lifeline for affordable books. Unfortunately, the Booksale branches in Batangas City and Bauan folded so for book lovers like me, it was a sad thing. She then told me about future projects of NBDB on creating a “Book Nook” sort of a library the curates a variety of local books for the public. They already have this project in different places in the country and they are waiting for some volunteers to set up here in Batangas. That is something to look forward to (and perhaps a future collaboration?).
I was supposed to meet someone in the event. He is from Batangas and he’s the one who answered my inquiries about the book fair. Unfortunately, I have to go and do some daddy duties once I get home.
I hope this book fair will be the start of something big for readers and for the promotion of literacy especially here in Batangas. I’m looking forward for more events and tons of books for me to take home.
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