There Goes the Rub

Being at this year’s 34th Manila International Bookfair (MIBF) is such a joy not only to dig your hands to books but also to meet authors of your favorite books. I know National Bookstore, Summit Media and PsiCom have guest authors dropping by to meet and greet fans, Christian publishers and ministries have their own version of it. For us readers it meant a lot to see the writers who made our day by enjoying their books. For the publishers’ side it adds flair to the event and encourages people to read Christian stuff. So this year, I met three Christian authors at Church Strengthening Ministry (CSM) booth.

First one is the author of the“O Assuming Lang?” series, Ptr. Armand Canoy. I grab his book “Pastor Nga Ba o Assuming Lang?” and got it signed. With the looks and how he talks, I could dismiss him as more of a businessman rather than a pastor! Nevertheless, he is a nice and accommodating. Like William Girao last year, I ask him my “million dollar question”. “Are you a Calvinist?” He replied he teach both theological views in Bible school. So I clarify my question: “What’s you stand on Calvinism?” Again, he replied that he don’t favor any views because both can be found in the Bible (well that’s how I recall it). To change the topic, he asked me if I’m a pastor. I said I’m not. He followed it with another question: “Do you have a calling?” “I’m praying for it…” I replied. He told me that in this book you’ll read about how I will know if you have a pastoral calling. After a couple of photos, he gave me a handshake and I’m off to the next booth.

Its 12 noon and I don’t feel hungry.  That time I fetch (or is it vise versa) Dems outside at the counter so we can tag along (which happens to be documented at my Part 2 of MIBF 2013 adventure). She’s eager to meet another author at the CSM booth. So after visiting the OMF booth, talking to Mr. Lawrence Chan and finding an ATM, finally it’s time to meet Ate Marlene Munar Legaspi. She is the author of the bestselling book “Add Mo Ko As Friend” (which this blog reviewed) and her fresh new book “Life In the Middle”. She is very warm and friendly, we immediately had this delightfipul chat. Dems didn’t know that Ate Marlene and I are already friends. Dems met her at the OMF Bloggers Fellowship. So she told us a little bit about the new book about being in the mid-life (which Dems and I don’t relate but enthusiastically endorse it). I ask Ate Marlene to sign my Bible. As she was signing it, she wrote “Enjoy your Life in…” which I made it a joke that she should not put the words “in the Middle” (pertaining to the new book) because I not in my mid life yet. She finished it with “Christ” so I made sigh of relief which made us all laugh. That was one funny moment!

As we are talking with Ate Marlene, I notice a familiar face sitting on the sofa, signing and having pictures with a kid that made me look twice. Wow its Grace Chong! So I told Dems about it and she gave me a nod that it’s Grace Chong indeed. So I approached her, gave my Bible and ask for an autograph. She signed it and asked me if I’m a pastor (twice that day someone asked me that). I told her I’m not and I’m still praying for it.

Thank you again to CSM and OMF for having their authors over the event. I had an awesome time rubbing elbows with people who you take pleasure in reading their works and looking up to them as writers. As readers we will continue to support your books and authors especially Filipinos.

Meeting the CLC Philippines Gang

                One of the most memorable moments at the Manila International Bookfair (MIBF) is stopping at the CLC booth. I’m not good at introducing or presenting myself. I easily shy away. So I did the “silent” approach at the CLC Philippines booth. As I was checking the books out, some from the CLC personnel identified me. They immediately gave me the warmest welcomes and smiles. We had a photo-op at their cool backdrop and I met the CLC staff.

                Before dropping by the CLC (Christian Literature Crusade) Philippines booth, I already did my book shopping over Christian Growth Ministries (CGM) and CSM (Church Strengthening Ministries) booth. I also visit Lighthouse, OMF, Biblica and Philippine Bible Society. I made CLC sort final stop, the cherry on my Sundae, metaphorically. And boy, I got a surprised from the CLC crews’ warm welcome.

                I’ve been reviewing CLC Philippines books for a couple of months now and it’s an honor to finally meet these guys who I get in touch in Facebook or by e-mail. I get to meet Ptr. Chris, Sir Don Tan, Mam Shella, Sir Jack etc.I had a great time with them and I get to know those behind the scene stuff from Mam Shella.

Like booths of OMF and CSM, CLC offers also 100 pesos books. They have great titles on the pile and for sure you can find something that will suit you. I love their booth this bookfair unlike last year. They have this backdrop thing were you can take pictures with you and your barkada. A great way to promote CLC Philippines. Kudos for the creativity guys!

Again CLC thank you for the opportunity for reviewing your books and I hope you enjoyed the “panucha” I gave you. I assure you, you’re sweeter that those “panucha” because of your dedication to Christ. I know you’re tired and all but you did a great job out there in MIBF. More book reviews to come! See you guys next year!

Adventures at the MIBF 2013 Part 2

Now with fellow blogger and Christian friend, Dems Angeles of My Kind of Perfect, we are up and ready to check the booths. As for me, this will be my 3rd lurk de France in the bookfair, but I might missed something. As I tag along with Dems, I affirm that I did miss something. She didn’t buy a book but claimed two from OMF as a prize on their online promo. As we wait for the toddler’s book (that’s for her goddaughter) I had a glimpse of the History Channel’s “The Bible” series. You might say that I’m harsh but I don’t like it.

We left OMF to meet one of her friend, a blogger; author and Manila tour guide Lawrence Chan. So he talks about lots of great stuff and I find this guy quite likeable. He led us to the National Book Development Board (NBDB) booth which offers application forms for authors. We’ll if bloggers counts as authors we are in (although Dems and I both contributed articles for magazines). So the kind lady from NBDB gave us forms and we need to get all the requirements so we can be registered. Wow we are officially authors! Also thanks to Sir Lawrence, we had a free graphology from his friend. They call it a science in knowing your personality by your hand writing. Dems and I got some dose of it that it got me half an hour to get over it. Sir Lawrence then took us some booths and we stop by Goodwill to check some freebies. Unfortunately, we got nothing. So it’s time to say goodbye to Sir Lawrence and I hope to meet him again.

After a walkathon to find the ATM outside the venue, we went back to find ourselves getting lost (that happened twice) over the long lines of Psicom and Summit fans, to went to back to CSM booth to meet Ate Marlene (which you can read in the next post). Another strolling here and there, we chat about blogging and books. Till we feel our feet tired of walking and our tummy rumbling we decided to have lunch (another walkathon again). It’s Saturday and as expected every food outlets are jam packed. Thank goodness we find seats outside Kenny Rogers. Once had our rest and lunch, its bye bye for Dems (who will catch up an event at Libis) and me (going back to the venue).

By the way, you might not know, Best of Anime 2013 was simultaneously on going up stairs at the SMX that day. I happen to drop by and got to enjoy my 60 minutes at the event. But since I can’t discuss this here nor write an article about it I might as well direct you to the photos at my Facebook account. Just click here and drool over the images. And oh while you are there, be sure to add me up as friend, OK?

So again guys it’s been a great year for MIBF and I hope to see you and your friends next year! Enjoy reading!

Adventures at the MIBF 2013 Part 1

I came at the Mall of Asia (MOA) early and to find myself lining up at the gates because the mall hasn’t open yet. Having a bad experience coming home late at night last year from MIBF, I learned my lesson well. So I made sure I’ll enjoy this year’s bookfair more by coming early.

I rush to the Church Strengthening Ministry (CSM) booth which is farther booth of all Christian publishers. This is to meet Ptr. Armand Canoy, author of the “Or Assuming Lang…” series. I get to his book “Pastor Nga Ba or Assuming Lang?” which tackles being an effective pastor and pastoral calling (more of this encounter in an upcoming post and the book will be reviewed also). So after that I check CSM Book Madness 2 and their P100 books. . Again they are the loudest and most colorful booth in the event as usual. Well I find the usual stuff drizzle with some new ones. I bought for the 2nd time John Piper’s “When I Don’t Desire God”. No more Calvinist or Reformed titles from CSM for P100.

As I move to another booth, I saw Randy Alcorn’s first graphic novel “Eternity”. I was at the Christian Growth Ministries (CGM). Well the graphic novel is priced at…get this P150! Wow and its imported. Finally a gold mine! They offered imported books with jaw dropping affordable price on that booth. Saw stuff from Mark Denver, John MacArthur, Richard D. Phillips, Paul Tripp, BB Warfield, Phillip Ryken etc. I grab “A Holy Ambition”by John Piper for P100 and R.C. Sproul’s “The Glory of Christ” for 125 pesos (gasp!). I was happily moving on to other booths. I checked out other Christian publishing houses which I hope will enthusiastically be like CSM in the coming year. Well isn’t that a perfect venue to share Christ?

I was glad that OMF Literature and CLC Philippines had both the P100 sale like CSM. They do have great titles and many gather to flip, dig and snatch books from the pile. I want to buy that book by Eugene Peterson at OMF but I already got 3 imported books. That’s good enough.

Before I share some observations on the MIBF, please do check out more photos by click to this link. This will take you to my Facebook account. Don’t forget me as friend so we could hang out, drink coffee and share about Christ next time.

Some observations at the Bookfair are:

  1. The crowd is less this year compare last year (too bad).
  2. Still the Christian Publishers got most of the buyers (thank God).
  3. You can buy imported books for 100 pesos (wow).
  4. Newbie participants showcases spiritual prosperity and New Age stuff (which is dangerous).
  5. Books from secular, pop culture driven publishing company gets the longest line of fans. I hope the Christian booths get fiercer and their light shines brighter the next time.
  6. Filipinos are still interested in reading!

Some tips the next time you attend this event:

  1. Have a heavy breakfast.
  2. Wear comfy clothes and shoes coz you’ll be walking around.
  3. Bring bottled water.
  4. Save your Benjamins er I mean Ninoys a month before the event.
  5. Have your cold cash handy to avoid going to the ATM.
  6. Tag along your friends.
  7. Prepare to get broke 🙂
  8. Have fun and frolic over the books.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the event even though it’s a tiring one. If you have an adventure on the MIBF please share it on the comment. I’m dying to know your experience. Part 2 of this article will be my adventure alongside with a Christian friend and fellow blogger Dems Angeles. Till next post. God bless guys!

Meeting William Girao

“Late”. That’s the word that keeps running in my mind. It seems that I won’t get a glimpse of Carmen Vargas at the Christ Strengthening Ministry (CSM )booth (the loudest booth at the fair).

It’s Saturday September 15, 2012. That’s the date that we will visit the “33rd Manila International Book Fair” at SMX Mall of Asia. I’ve been anticipating it for months now and finally its here. We will check the Christian booths over that event, buy some books, do camera frolic and rub elbows with authors. But time became the enemy. Also the bad weather threatens us.  But I won’t go home defeated. I will be the victor ha! 🙂

We came almost 3PM at MOA and got lost first before we found SMX Convention Center. We paid 20 pesos for the entrance fee. As we enter we can see swarms of book enthusiast and lots of booths making some part of the book fair crowded and as I have experienced it was hard to check the books you want to buy. Despite the dilemma, we still enjoy the booths of different local and international publishers. Discounted books over here and there, we are tempted to open our wallets and give in to buy books. We have to pinch ourselves not to because we are here to buy Christian books (goodbye Ambeth Ocampo).

We stop over to the foremost leader in Christian publishing here in the Philippines, OMF Lit. As expected it was a blockbuster. Jam-pack is the right word from the people checking the display rack to the cashier lane we can see that people still patronize Christian books especially from OMF.  We had a hard time to move around and checking books that we want to take home. Still it was fun. We get to buy discounted books like the newly revised book of R.C. Sproul “Knowing Scripture”, the new book from William Girao “Giving Up is Not An Option” (which will soon be reviewed here in this blog) and a devotional book for my friend I tag along. Speaking of William Girao, let’s jump to that story, because this whole post is all about that encounter.

I’m not expecting to see this prolific Christian author in the fair. I was expecting Carmen Vargas of DZAS at the CSM booth (well it’s too late and I’m not interested to see Pilar Pilapil’s appearance there). As I was browsing some books someone announced that Pastor Girao will be there at the OMF booth and will be signing his books. So I grab his latest book and my diglot Bible for a chance to get it signed. I saw him and he is what you may call a typical pastor. At first glance you won’t he is a widely read author. But the built, the clothes and the looks. Mukhang isa sa mga senior pastor sa iglesia ninyo. He resembles one of our pastors here in Batangas City. He welcomed me with a warm smile, a hand shake and start signing the book and my Bible. I’m star stuck at that moment, so I reinforce myself and courageously try to start a conversation. I open the topic of Calvinism. I told him I thought he is a Calvinist and it is one hot topic back at home. He looked at me and we launched into a 3 minute or so conversation about his stand on Calvinism. He said Calvinism is an open-end debate. There are questions that will be left unanswered. He could say that he is a “limited Calvinist” (or I think he’s standing on the moderate Calvinism approach). If we see Bible verses pertaining to election we should preach it and if we verse that points man’s part in salvation we should also preach it. ‘It’s in the Bible isn’t it?” he said” So there is no conflict in that.” I think our chat is getting too long but as I check at my back I’m the only one in the line (thank goodness). It was a great and memorable talk. I’m honor to meet this Bible expositor and learn spiritual lessons from his books. I hope in the coming year OMF Lit will do this again. Thank you OMF!

As for me because of the book fair experience, it added my appreciation to books and its impact to our lives a Christians. Next year I will be planning for this event with more friends to tag along and a bigger budget. And I hope next year I will see you there. Till next year, keep reading books guys!

My Book Fair 2012 at SMX Experience

    The bad weather didn’t seems to stop the excitement and enthusiasm as we took a trip over SMX Mall of  Asia Convention Center for the “33rd Manila International Book Fair 2012”. This 5 day book fair (Sept 12-16) showcase local and international book publishers and of course their products. You can buy them in discounted prices and lots of goodies that comes along with it. We came (and counquer) last Saturday Sept 15 on its 4th day of the event. We have to pay an entrance fee of 20 pesos and once inside, man books, books and more books!

       Its my first time to go to that annual event and also my first time in MOA. The place was packed and crawling with bookworms like me that sometimes its hard to find a book your looking for. Our first stop was the Anvil Publishing booth reeking with Filipino literatures. Found new “Looking Back” books by Ambeth Ocampo but I hold on to my dear cash to buy Christian books (well his book can wait). After browsing it we immediately went to the OMF booth.Their booth as expected is swelling with great Christian books (saw Holliness of God by R.C. Sproul) but before I go dive in I have another mission on that book fair. I ask someone from OMF if they can help our small ministry for books to be donated in schools. He referred me to the Marketing Supervisor of OMF Literature, Gladys Calalang. We had an interesting chat, gave me her business card and told me to e-mail me a concrete proposal of our request. So please guys  pray for the project to push through and many will get to know Christ.Before I leave the OMF booth I grab “Knowing Scripture” by R.C. Sproul , a devotional book for my friends and a suprise. Well I got to meet Christian author William Girao. But before I go on I might as well save the encounter in another post. So wait for it guys it’s awesome!

We also check some Bible Societies in the Philippines who has booths there also. We went by CLC then Lighthouse (did we?).
Then to top it all off, we went to the loudest booth in the fair. Will all much hype not only for their booth but for  the whole book fair they should get an award. Church Strengthening Ministry’s with their “CSM Book Madness” Christians are in for a treat. For 100 Pesos you can buy anything as in anything you eyes can see in the booth. What a jaw dropping deal. So I brought “The Pleasures of God”
MP3 audiobook and “When I Don’t Desire God” book by John Piper. I couldn’t believe it cost that cheap I even ask them if its 100 pesos! As if I had enough, the Navpress Philippines booth is offering 99 pesos of Jerry Bridges title. I took “The Fruitful Life” and currently reading it.

I really had fun over that event and next year I will plan for it (bigger budget and more friends to tag long). By the way, did you come to that event too? Please post your story on the comment section. God bless you till next blog post!